About DIY Furniture Ideas
Furniture that has lost its lustre but is unmarked can have it's shine restored fairly easily. Rub the surface with a course cloth dampened with white spirit. This will loosen the accumulated wax and grime, which can then be removed with a clean rag. Restore the gloss by rubbing with a polish reviver or burnishing compound, obtainable from DIY shops, or even with a metal polish. Apply it with a soft mutton cloth or stockinet: cloth containing synthetic fibers will not produce a good gloss. Finish by rubbing vigorously with a clean soft cloth.
If the finish on a piece of furniture has been badly damaged, it will need to be removed so that a new finish can be applied. Use a solvent remover to take off a finish. Do not use caustic soda, which will darken many woods, or a sander, which will leave circular marks which will show through the finished film. Ideally stripping should be done out of doors, but if this is not possible stand the furniture on a large polithene sheet to protect the floor and make sure the room is well ventilated.
Removing Water Stains
A finish that shows heat and water marks is usually shellac or cellulose. Marks that have not penetrated right through to the wood can often be removed with a cutting compound, obtainable from DIY stores or with metal polish rubbed in with a soft cloth. But if they have gone right through, stripping is necessary and the whole surface must be treated.
A grey or black stain usually indicates that water has penetrated to the wood itself, take off the old finish and remove the stain with a two part wood bleach obtainable from DIY and paint shops, or with a solution of 1 tablespoon of oxalic acid and 1 pint of water. This solution is not as strong as bleach, but the acid is poisonous and must be used with extreme care. Again, treat the whole surface not just the affected part. If bleaching has made the wood lighter than required, darken with a naphtha-type stain before applying the finish.
Scratches And Burn Marks
A scratch mark right through the polish to the wood can be eliminated only by stripping and re-finishing, but it can be made less noticeable by rubbing in wax shoe polish of the nearest shade. Alternatively, reduce a shellac varnish with mentholated spirits to a thin solution and apply this carefully to the scratch with a small soft brush, or a toothpick. Repeat this application until the stain stands proud of the surface, then level it with fine glass paper or wet-or-dry paper. Restore the gloss with metal polish or burnishing compound.
Burn marks are more difficult to repair. Scrape away the finish from the burnt area and from the charred wood underneath. Sand the bare wood with glass paper and if necessary restain it. Then apply several coats of clear finish until the mark is proud of the surrounding surface and finish off as you would for a scratch mark. A deep hole can be filled with colored beeswax.
If furniture has split or cracked, often caused by central heating, stripping is essential. Fill in cracks with paste wood-filler or, if very large, with slivers of wood and adhesive before applying the finish. Dents can be made less obvious by applications of clear finish, but stripping is usually necessary to remove them. After stripping either sand the surrounding area until the dent is no longer apparent or apply a little water to the dented area to swell the wood fibers.
If a finish has become 'crazed' it is usually made of cellulose and cannot be restored, only replaced. Stripping is necessary, as it is with a finish that has faded through exposure to strong sunlight.
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