The best antique wood table refinish can bring your antiques back to life. Antique tables are special because they can become the focal point in any home. Unfortunately, they can lose their appeal and chip easily. Restoring and refinishing these tables can be necessary and simple. While expert restoration can cost a lot of money, there are ways to restore and refinish without their input. So, how to refinish antique wooden tables, and what tips can help you during this process?
How to Repair and Refinish Antique Wood Furniture?
There are several steps you need to take to repair and finish wooden tables. Repairing and refinishing can be incredibly easy to do – once you know what you’re doing – and can ensure your antique remains a treasured item.
- Inspect The Table
If you don’t know the extent of the problem you won’t repair it properly. It’s essential to carefully – and thoroughly – inspect the table from top to bottom so that you can note down every little fault that needs to be repaired. You know what needs to be done and how much work it’ll require too. This is the time where you find out if the repairs can salvage the antique or if it’s beyond repair.
- Thoroughly Clean The Table
You may want to use hot water and soap to gently scrub the surface of the wood tables. Sometimes, a heavy-duty but mild cleaner will do the trick and enable you to remove dirt and grime. You might also find out what other, if any, problems the antique has. A paintbrush could be used to get into those hard-to-reach areas and as ever, give the antique ample time to dry before moving onto the next step.
- Apply Petroleum Jelly
You can’t refinish the table without first dealing with those nasty water-marks and coffee cup ring stains. If you have stains scattered on the table’s top, it’s possible to remove them without the need to sand or strip down. Petroleum jelly may help remove some of these stains. You apply a small amount and leave overnight; it works into the grain and the marks begin to fade or make them less noticeable. It’s a great way to deal with minor issues while finishing the antique wood tables.
- Apply Epoxy Putty To Replace And ‘Cosmetically’ Repair Missing Wood
Sometimes, it’s not possible to repair tables that are missing small pieces of chipped or broken wood without going to a lot of expense. Fortunately, you could opt for a quick-fix solution with epoxy putty. It will fill in missing or chipped wood and can be stained so that it matches the rest of the table. If you’re using this, always follow the instructions.
- Consider A Gel Stain
Gel stains are one option to consider when finishing wood furniture, even tables. While it doesn’t completely cover all stains, it helps deal with scratches and will offer a new finish that looks great. What’s more, there’s no need to strip the wood and that’s a bonus.
- Strip the Wood Furniture
Stripping the wood is a pain but if you want to a high-quality (or even a good) finish, it might be necessary to do this. You have two options – sanding down or chemical strippers. Both have their advantages and it depends on what you feel most comfortable with. A belt sander can be easy to use and quicker if you’ve used these tools before. Chemicals are easy to work with too but they usually need to be left overnight before they take effect. Further smoothing down might be required to get an overall smooth finish.
- Apply Sealants And Finishing Coats
After the wood has been stripped, it’s time to apply a thick coat of sealant to protect the wood furniture. This will need sufficient time to dry before any stain can be added so it might require several hours, if not a whole day. Once the sealant is dry, apply the stain and leave it to dry also. You may want to add a second coat depending on how well the stain takes to the grain. Lastly, apply the finish coat. There are many types of finishes to choose from so choose wisely.
It’s a lot easier to repair and finish antique wood furniture and tables with a bit of know-how.
Test the Stains before Applying To the Wood
There are lots of different stains available and you don’t always think about the end result. You assume the stain or finish is perfect; unfortunately, that mightn’t always be the case. It’s essential to test the stain before you apply it to the wood. You could use the stain on an old piece of furniture to see the end results. You don’t want to repair the antique only to find it’s spoiled by the final stain coating.
Get Into the Table Grooves
Wood table repair and refinishing can be fairly easy to do and the result can be fantastic. You don’t, however, want to miss the grooves. Table grooves are small and hard to work on but missing these areas leaves your table unfinished and you’ll probably have to work on it again – so get into those grooves. If you can opt for a small paintbrush; ideally, it should have natural bristles so it can work into the grooves.
Always Stain, Never Repaint Antique Wood Furniture
You repair a wood table and are tempted to paint it to give it a beautiful new look. Unfortunately, it’s not always the best move to make. Yes, painting wood furniture can be easy and the finish can be stunning too but it’s not always the best solution for antiques. It could devalue the antique wood table or you may be unhappy with the finish.
After the repair work is done, you don’t want to spoil it by painting it. Of course, this is a personal choice and you may feel differently about it. More often than not, wood stains work well because they take to the wood better. Again, it’s what you feel is best for your antique tables.
Preserve the Wood Furniture after Refinishing
Table repair and finishing take a lot of work but it doesn’t end there. You have to preserve the wood too. This means you have to properly clean the wood regularly. You should dust wood furniture every day so that any and all grime and dirt are removed. Even light dusting will help preserve and protect the wood. If there are any issues, you can spot them faster and take care of any repair work that needs to be done.
How To Repair Damaged Antique Wooden Furniture?
You have to be extremely careful with antique wood furniture because you don’t want to further damage the piece during your efforts to repair it. If you do damage it further, it could significantly reduce the overall value of the piece. Fortunately, repairing minor damage to antique wood can be far easier. You may want to try the fairly new process of re-amalgamation. This helps to repair deep cracks and scratches embedded into the wood grain. You apply the solvent which buffs the furniture and fills the cracks in. When it dries, the scratches and cracks appear gone and all that’s required is to apply a finish such as a hard paste wax.
Unfortunately, depending on the extent of the damage, the furniture may need extensive repairs. Entire wood panels may need to replace the broken parts of the furniture. You may need to saw and shape the wood to fit in with the piece of furniture you’re repairing. If you can, find wood from the same period to keep the repairs in line with the era of the piece. Sanding the wood may be necessary to smooth any rough edges out. Attaching the wood may be done with specialized glue or nails (from that period also), depending on which part has been damaged.
Cannibalizing wood from the same period can be ideal for ensuring you don’t devalue the piece to zero. Also, the entire piece may need to be cleaned and polished.
How to Repair an Antique Wooden Table?
So, how to repair an antique wooden table? To repair an antique wood table, you may want to follow the same advice as above on re-amalgamation. Re-amalgamation can be useful to repair some wood furniture. This will, of course, depend on the extent of the damage to the table. If it’s fairly minor, it could repair some of the scratches and deep cracks. If the damage is extensive, you may need to replace the table top in full; sometimes, it’s unavoidable.
Again, repairing an antique table has to be done carefully and with precision. For the parts you’re not repairing, cover them fully so they don’t get damaged during the repair process. In most cases, you may need to refinish the table.
Fixing Water-Damaged Wood Table Tops
Restore for furniture is tough, especially when it’s water-damaged. Tables often get damaged by silly spillages from overflowing coffee cups, wine glasses, and even the odd flood at home. Unfortunately, they can all stain wood furniture and water is the worst one of them because it can embed itself deep in the wood grain. Fortunately, restoring wooden tables to their original condition is far easier than you think.
- Determine The Extent Of The Water Damage: This is the most crucial step because you can determine whether or not the table can actually be saved. You can often tell how bad the damage is by the color of the watermarks and these are the first things to inspect. If there’s rotting wood there’s likely to be extensive damage. There will also be times when the damage is too severe and isn’t salvageable. Usually, this occurs when table tops have been exposed to water for a prolonged period.
- Apply A Small Amount Of Petroleum Jelly: While it may sound strange to use petroleum jelly, this helps to remove watermarks. It’s actually the oil compound within the petroleum that enables you to do so. Sometimes, minor water damage and stains can be treated with this. Of course, this isn’t necessarily the right solution for every situation; it’ll depend on the extent of the water damage.
- Use A Mild Abrasive Mix: Before you do this, test your mixture on the underside of the table – just to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage to the table top. Every expert will have an opinion over what’s best to repair water-damaged table tops and you may have an idea too. One option could be to use one-half teaspoon of baking soda and toothpaste and mix with one tablespoon of water. This mix could be applied to the surface of the table. It can be gently wiped over the table’s surface and may be enough to remove the water stains. Just remember to use a soft cloth.
- Removing Rotten Wood: When the water damage has caused the wood to rot, it’s time to remove it. You can scrape away the top layer of the rotten wood and sand the remaining wood down. This will help to locate the healthy wood again and this can be done by hand or with belt sanders. Ensure you’re careful with a belt sander and only use the best belt sanders available. You want to remove all decayed wood and use a filler to treat the wood effectively.
- Refinish The Table: Once the rotten wood has been removed or treated, it’s time to refinish the table top. You can add a stain or finish with wax. While you want to remove the water stains, you also have to repair the damage done by the water so it doesn’t become rotten and destroy the integrity of the table.
Rushing to repair and refinish water-damaged table tops is a mistake and may cost you more in the long-term. Instead, you have to locate the source of the damage and take steps to fix it. Sometimes, patience is needed to undo extensive (and even minor) water damage.
How to Restore and Refinish a Table Top
Antique furniture restoration will vary considerably, depending on the extent of the restoration required. Some table tops will be easier to restore and refinish than others, again, it’s down to their condition. Fortunately, no matter what type of wood furniture you want to restore or refinish, it must be inspected first. Once you’ve carried out an inspection, the table top must be thoroughly cleaned.
A restoration finish product, however, may restore the wood if the problems lie with minor staining, including scratches, water, and heat stains. These products may offer an even finish too. Unfortunately, it mightn’t be as straightforward as this and extensive restoration is required. If that’s the case, you’ll want to cleanse the surface with an oil-based product such as petroleum jelly.
If the wood has started to flake away or rot is setting in, it’s time to strip the top down. You need to strip back the layers of wood and sand down any imperfections. A wax remover could be used to clean the surface. You can stain the wood to match the rest of the table. Once it’s dry, you can refinish with a finishing oil or furniture wax.
Make Your Antiques Standout
Chipped or damaged tables look out-of-place and cause a lot of headaches. Fortunately, restoration and refinishing can be done at home with little effort. With a bit of know-how, you can easily deal with repairs, restoration, and refinishing. There are lots of ways to restore an antique wood table and it’s a lot less costly than you think and the best belt sanders can do perfect work to refinish and restore your wooden table. Put some love and care back into your antique furniture