Introduction: Repairing Surfaces on Old Furnitures

About: Danish cabinet maker and furniture designer. Now living in Sweden with my wonderful wife and two little girls. I absolutely crave creation. Any process that enquires getting ideas and making them come to lif…

In this instructable I will teach you a simple trick on how to shine up smaller scratches and minor water damages on older furniture.

WARNING! This instructable is ONLY meant for small scratches and minor water damages.

If you have really big scratches or cracks or severe water damages, seek up the help from a proffesional.

Don't do this on authentic antique furniture. Even though this is the right process for shining up antique surfaces, restoring antique furniture the right way takes real pros.

Step 1: Gather Your Material

I had this classic looking bureau at home, it was left behind by the previous owner of my house. It had some minor scratches and some marks in the lacquer from water (marked with red). I was about to give the bureau away to a friend, so I decided to shine it up a little bit.

For this project you will need

Pure alcohol

Cotton pads

Steady hands.

As always, I have my little assistant with me. She is the one who decided to decorate with her little easter chicken.

Step 2: Wax Off, Wax Off.

The process is quite simple, actually. Just don't be sloppy about it, and you will do just fine.

Apply a small amount of alcohol to a cotton pad. Don't soak it completely. It should feel damp to the touch when using it.

Then slowly, carefully, and steadily rub it on the damaged surface in small cirkular movements.

Most old furniture is lacquered with shellac, which dissolves in alcohol, so when you rub it with alcohol, it will smooth out a bit, and smaller scratches can be filled up again.

Continue doing this until all alcohol has evaporized form your cotton pad. This normally gives the best result. If you leave the lacquered surface damp or wet with alcohol, it can lose some of its shine.

Again, I will stress the fact that this process only applies for minor damages. If you have cuts or cracks in your furniture, you can not fill them out. Also, if you rub too much alcohol on the surface, chances are that you will wash some of the lacquer off, which will make a very visible difference in color on your furniture. Not a good look.

Step 3: Behold Your Work of Craftmanship!

On the first picture, i have only polished up one half of the bureau front. You can clearly see the scratches on the other half. I would even argue that some of these scratches in fact are too deep to give this kind of treatment, but if you look on the other picture, you can see that the color contrast in the scratches has been reduced quite a lot.

This is pretty much it!

A simple little trick to give your old furniture a small facelift.

Good luck.

p.s. If you doubt your skills as a furniture restorer but still want to do this, start somewhere on your furniture that isn't too visible. when you have a feel for it, give it a go on the other surfaces.