Years ago we used to “Strip First, Ask Questions Later.” Fortunately, today we take the wiser approach of “Less is More.” Instead of stripping an old finish, we try to make each project look better and last longer — like this chair I rescued. Along the way we’ll be saving ourselves time and money. Like the sound of that? Then just keep on reading!
With older furniture, joints can loosen, and when one joint comes loose, another has to handle twice the load — and may not be able to withstand the stress. To repair a loose joint, pull the joint as far apart as you can, then apply a quality woodworker’s glue to all exposed surfaces, inside and out.
Quick Tip: Keep a box of cotton swabs in your work area and you’ll find dozens of uses for them!
Instead of an expensive bar clamp, you can utilize a bungee cord, a twisted rope, or even a stack of books or weights to hold the joint in place while it dries. Quick Tip: Wipe off any excess glue with a damp cloth before it dries, not after.
Instead of stripping or sanding off the old finish, now we can clean it in a fraction of the time using Minwax® Wood Cabinet Cleaner. Just squirt and wipe!
Every piece of furniture, old and new, has a few nicks to disguise.
Instead of a can of stain, I reach for one of the Minwax® Stain Markers: actual stain in a felt-tipped dispenser!
Leigh Ann handled this one for me, and you can see it start to disappear immediately.
Next you can strengthen the old finish with a coat of Minwax® Wipe-On Poly. As its name implies, no brush is needed. Rub on, let the wood absorb as much as it can, then wipe off any excess poly and let it dry.
This was the “Before” — remember?
Same chair, same setting, same day — what a difference!
Fast, easy, and fun! What better way can you think of to save a worn piece of furniture without having to resort to messy stripping and sanding?
Until next time,
Thanks for stopping by!
Every project goes better with an assistant, right? And I generally have two, as Jasper and Daisy never seem to be very far away when I’m working on one of my projects! Like my chair, they are two of our “rescue” projects. Definitely works in progress! – Bruce
I restore antique furniture and have many questions for you. One that I deal with reguarly is how to tell what the project was clear coated with. I usually wipe it down with mineral spirits, fill any places with Miracle wood, touch it up the appropriate stain, and when it is ready apply Minwax wipe one stain. I do find that on large flate surfaces that brush on Quick dry polyurethane coats better, but as a final coat I use the wipe one polyurethane. I am working right now on a vanity that my grand mother bought in 1928, and my mother kept in front of a window in a storage building for 20 years since my grand mother died.
But outside of the story how do I tell what the original clear coat was? I realize that shellac dissolves the coat below, but will not dissolve polyurethan varnish. And poly will add another coat on top of the existing coat.
Without turning it into a chemistry lesson, it is not as critical as you may think to know what the old finish is, Larry. As long as you wash off any trace of paste wax with mineral spirits then scuff the dried finish lightly, any of the finishes you mentioned will adhere to it. When staining, it is always smart to use both a stain and finish manufactured by the same company, preferably Minwax, of course, to avoid any problems with compatibility. Good luck with your project!