Saving Fire Damaged Furniture

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Introduction: Saving Fire Damaged Furniture

A neighbor recently had a house fire. Sadly they lost a lot of their possessions before it was put out by the local fire department. Some of their furniture survived the fire but many of them were severely smoke damaged. Most of these items were antiques that belonged to her grandmother. I seen her putting them out for the trash to pickup. So I walked over and asked could I try to save them for her.

Step 1: The Smoke Damaged Furniture

You will need to inspect the damage before you begin to make sure they can be saved. Luckily these did not have any actual fire damage it was just smoke damage. She has a table, dresser, and buffet that I worked on. As you can see the table was in the worse shape. When I made this Instructable I was still in process of working on it.

Step 2: Items You Will Need

You will need the following items:

FURNITURE REFINISHER (Miwax or Formby's work the best)

FEED-N-WAX

QUART CUP

00 / 0000 STEEL WOOL

CLEAN RAG

NITRILE GLOVES

HEAT GUN (for removing melted plastic of candles)

DRILL GUN W/ WIRE BRUSH (Optional)

ORBITAL SANDER

PASTE WAX

FACE MASKS

WD40 (for rusted metal)

Step 3: Getting Started

FIRST Put on your gloves, face mask and protective eye wear)

Then pour the furniture refinished in a quart cup. I filled it about 1/2 full.

Next, place the steel wool in the cup and let sit for a few minutes.

Step 4: A Lot of Elbow Grease

Remove the steel wool from the cup and begin rubbing the furniture with the grain ( this helps keep the finish nice). You wont have to rub hard, just rub back and forth. You will notice a black residue coming up. Take your rag and wipe this up and keep rubbing the smoke stain out. Sometimes this can take several passes. Rub the entire piece of furniture. Let air dry for 15 minutes. Inspect and repeat if needed.

Step 5: In Progess

Here you can see how after several passes the smoke stains start to come loose from the wood.

Step 6: Wax

After you have cleaned the smoke stains away. Its time to wax the furniture. I put 2 coats on of feed and wax. Just apply in small circles over entire piece.

Step 7: Finished

After apply the feed and wax I let the pieces sit out in the Sun for a while to dry. Mind you that this took about 5 hours to do. Its not hard just take a lot of patience and elbow grease. I didn't many pictures since my hands had chemicals and such on them.

Step 8: BEFORE AND AFTER

As you can see the contrast is very dramatic. She was thrilled to get these pieces back.

Step 9: Still in Progress

I'm still working on her table since it had the most damage. As you can tell with on of the leaf's up that some times you can save trash and turn it back into a treasure.

Epilog Contest 8

Participated in the
Epilog Contest 8

Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

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    17 Discussions

    0
    Brittinmo
    Brittinmo

    7 months ago

    I know this post was a few years back, but I am hoping for some information and suggestions you or anyone reading this might have.... I recently had a house fire in my home, luckily both me and my boyfriend and my 13 year old golden retriever/lab mix all survived, which is the most important thing. However, there is a piece that is actually my great grandfather's that I am wanting to restore because it took a bit of damage fro. The fire and the water/foam they put the fire out with. It's an old antique hallway tree with a huge mirror. The mirror didn't make it, unfortunately, but the wood part did.... I hope anyway...

    You mentioned in your instructable and someone else mentioned in a comment about luckily the pieces you were working on didn't have actual fire damage, just smoke damage... What if it does have fire damage? Can anything be done to save the piece? The two sides that go up the side of the big mirror and then across the top all have fire damage on them...it's all still charred and black and I don't know what to even try to clean it off with or if it can be saved....any help would be greatly appreciated ...I will try to attach pictures, but with if being so black from the smoke I don't know that they will come out well.

    Also, this antique hallway tree had a top piece that went on it but my ceilings weren't quite high enough to ever have it on the top so it was always laying on the bottom "seat" part...I took it out of the house first, and got it cleaned up very nicely so I thought there was good hope for the rest of the piece, but now that it's out of the house and I'm looking at it closer, it would not be the same process as the piece I already cleaned up nicely... I'll include before and after pics of the top part that I've cleaned also (if I can post that many pics on here?). Thank you in advance for any help or tips or suggestions or information that you might be willing to share with me to save this once gorgeous piece of my families history.

    15829530713473185587092949294461.jpg15829536076581025133672797113613.jpg1582953721134808638759021212849.jpg15829539828666922203166577295561.jpg15829540695731360622705397952220.jpg15829541218703113496798312322143.jpg1582954185599479779959319044886.jpg15829543050397048648601049550565.jpg1582954391306614040069747857633.jpgScreenshot_20200226-151639~2.pngScreenshot_20200226-151546~2.pngScreenshot_20200226-151433~2.png20200226_151206~2.jpg20200226_152537~2.jpg20200226_152604~2.jpg

    You have done some amazing work on these! What a nice thing to do for your neighbors!

    0
    wells1784
    wells1784

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks! I appreciate it. Just trying to help out. It wasn't hard but it took a good deal of elbow grease.

    0
    KenneyS
    KenneyS

    3 years ago

    nice work sir. definitely going to have to send business your way

    0
    wells1784
    wells1784

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank You SIR!

    0
    nanaverm
    nanaverm

    3 years ago

    Beautiful transformations! I bet the desk looks even better than before the fire.

    0
    wells1784
    wells1784

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank You!

    0
    Vyger
    Vyger

    3 years ago

    I have a friend who has a cleaning business and he does a lot of fire restoration. As you pointed out if something has not been actually burnt a lot can be done to bring it back. If you find there is still some smoke smell after your restoring you can even have that taken out. An ozone machine can get all the lingering smell out. The ozone attacks the smoke molecules and changes them so they no longer smell. It penetrates into every little part so it will get out what your cleaners can't. A lot of people who do carpet cleaning have the machines.

    0
    wells1784
    wells1784

    Reply 3 years ago

    I will give that a try. I was just using baking soda and white cleaning vinegar.

    0
    kylegilbert
    kylegilbert

    3 years ago

    You get my vote for the awesome neighbor award! Looks great!

    0
    wells1784
    wells1784

    Reply 3 years ago

    I appreciate that!

    Very kind of you! I love that you used your skill set to help others! Definitely voted for you and hope you do well in the contests!!!

    0
    wells1784
    wells1784

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank You

    0
    NZcoffeeprincess
    NZcoffeeprincess

    3 years ago

    wow, a lot of hard work and they've come up looking great. that's a really kind gift to give your friends, well done.

    0
    wells1784
    wells1784

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks. It is alot of labor but seeing it come back to life was very rewarding.

    0
    dave5201
    dave5201

    3 years ago

    I am impressed both by your effort, your results, and your generosity.
    Consider yourself patted on the back...

    0
    wells1784
    wells1784

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank You! I appreciate it. She was tickled to death to get these back. She said Ill be getting pecan pies for the rest of my life, :)