5 Quick Tips and to Re-Touch Old Wooden Furniture

One fact you need to accept about your shelves, drawers, and tables is that unless you live in a museum, they will take a lot of dings and scratches over the years and eventually lose their former appearance. But the good news is that you can make them disappear – or just make them less visible.

Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to make your furniture look like new again:

1. Refinishing
Stripping away layers of old finish takes a long time since you have to do it by hand (start with rough grit sandpaper and move your way up to using finer grit), but you can use a liquid stripper to complete the stripping process and even it out.

After stripping off the old finish evenly, you can apply a new coat of finish using a natural-bristle brush and a sanding sealer before wiping the excess with a clean cloth.

2. Masking water stains
Rings on your furniture are left by water stains that have evaporated, usually by water glasses and bottles.
To mask them, slather the stains in petroleum jelly overnight – the oil from the jelly should penetrate wooden finish easily and make the stains less visible. You can use a ring remover or denatured alcohol from your local hardware store if this doesn’t work.

3. Shallow chipping
A chipped finish (with the underlying color still in one piece) can be masked with a few drops of nail polish and sanded with 600-grit sandpaper once the polish has dried. Satin finishes can be treated with steel wool and paste wax, while polish compounds for cars can be applied with a rag for gloss finishes.

Small dents and gouges can also be filled in by rubbing wax sticks to fill them in. For an even sheen, scrape off the excess filler wax and apply a coat of paste wax on the area.

4. Treating scratches (both large and small)
Wooden furniture will show signs of extensive use, but smaller areas of small scratches are usually easy to deal with (rub a walnut against the areas to mask them). Larger areas of small scratches will need a coat of pigmented furniture polish applied with a clean rag.

For larger scratches or areas on the edges where the paint itself is chipped, use felt-tip markers with wood tones. Wipe immediately if any get on the intact areas of paint finish.

Your furniture is an investment, but you don’t have to spend too much for them if you can – making quick re-touches to keep their shine and finish is easier and much cheaper, and when done the right way, you can make them last for a longer time.

(Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)

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