When you find a piece of wood furniture that needs a little love, it’s really tempting to just take it home as your next DIY project. However, before we are ready to work on an old piece of furniture, we first need to ask few questions to ourselves;
- What are we planning to do with it?
- Restoration or Refinishing ?
- Is this piece actually worth all the hard work going in to this so-called antique?
In most cases, restoration refers to light cleaning and cosmetic repairs. The goal is to maintain an antique or vintage piece’s structural integrity and outer appearance so it retains its value.
Refinishing usually involves stripping the piece of furniture of its current finish. For a wooden piece, a chemical stripper is generally used, after which the item is sanded, stained/paint and refinished. Refinishing is often a more in-depth process than restoration.
I have been working with wood furniture for sometime. And almost every time I plan to purchase a piece to flip, the question which baffles me that, Is it worth painting this piece ? Let see what I consider before I refinish or even purchase a piece to flip.
Is it worth to work on this piece ?
There are some things you need to consider first before you decide to refinish.
- Construction quality of the piece. Your find doesn’t have to have antique value to be a great vintage piece, that will give you years of service. Just make sure that it is actually solid wood and not particle board, to get some more life out of it.
- Other thing you need to check is if the piece need to be re-glued. If it is wobbly and it need to be re-glued, stay away from it, because re-glueing need a special skill and equipment.
- Can you imagine the finished look ? I say if the piece talks to you, go for it, if it does not, sit on it, until you have an idea about it. Don’t just start working on it, you may end up with something you do not like and you will have to redo all your hard work.
Last but not the least, make sure you’re prepared for the level of involvement it will entail to restore the piece to its glory. Here are some signs that your project may require extra steps or advanced techniques:
- It features deeply carved or applied filigree. It’s usually very time-consuming to work on an intricately carved piece.
- Different parts of the piece need different applications. For example, a chair with ornate sides or slats may need a delicate touch on the ornamental parts, but multiple coats of top coat on the arms so they’ll be durable. Here I strongly suggest you to try Poly Urethane or Poly Acrylic which gives better protection to the pieces which are high usage.
- It has slats or spindles set close together. To strip that off and refinish it will cause you longer time, and you may also need many different type of brushes. Or you may end up using a spray gun.