Saving Fire Damaged Furniture




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)



00 / 0000 STEEL WOOL



HEAT GUN (for removing melted plastic of candles)





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.


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.



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    16 Discussions

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

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

    1 reply

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

    1 reply

    1 year 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.

    1 reply

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

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

    1 reply

    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!!!

    1 reply

    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.

    1 reply

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

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

    1 reply

    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, :)