Furniture Repair & Refinishing

Furniture Repair & Refinishing by Bob Rozaieski Fine WoodworkingSometimes, a worn or damaged piece of furniture is simply too special to nonchalantly toss it to the curb. Perhaps you have a treasured antique from days gone by, or an heirloom that has been passed down through the family for generations. Maybe you have a newer piece of quality furniture that has accidentally been damaged in some way. Whatever your situation, if you have a piece of furniture in a state of disrepair that you just can’t bear to replace, then perhaps I can repair, restore or refinish it for you.

Depending upon the age of your particular piece, its historical significance, and your own personal preferences, there are several options to explore. I can perform repairs and give the piece a minor face lift to make it usable but preserve its well aged character; or I can completely strip it down and refinish it like new to give it a completely updated look. Each situation is unique, so it’s best to know the provenance of your particular piece before making any decisions about how to proceed. If you’re unsure about your particular situation, I can help you figure it out and make the best decision for your circumstances.

Restoration

This is typically the best option for an older piece of furniture that has no real historical significance, or for a family heirloom where maintaining the current condition of the piece is not a priority or desire. The process of restoration aims to return a piece to its original state, without making it look like new. Restoration usually starts by disassembling the piece in order to facilitate cleaning and repair work. After disassembly, the piece is thoroughly cleaned, inappropriate, non-original finish is removed, but as much of the original finish as possible is left in tact. Once cleaned, any necessary repairs are made in order to return the item to a functional state, and replace missing or damaged elements. Finally, the piece is reassembled and the original finish is renewed in order to give the item a well cared for appearance that preserves its aged character (i.e. it looks like it did originally, but it doesn’t look new).

When a piece of furniture has significant historical value, it may be best to leave it in its current condition. It may be necessary to perform minor repairs to stop the piece from deteriorating any further, or to restore the usability of a treasured family heirloom. But  in order to preserve the history and value of the piece, the scratches, chips, damaged finish, etc., should all be preserved in their current state. In a truly historically significant piece, removing this “patina” may actually decrease the item’s value. For an item with significant family provenance, but no real historical significance, I’ll work with you to determine the appropriate level of conservation for your piece. If you believe that you might have an historically significant piece of furniture, you should consider having its value assessed by a qualified antiques appraiser before having any work done to it.

 Refinishing

Refinishing involves completely removing or stripping the original finish, making repairs to the piece, and then applying a new finish over freshly exposed bare wood. The process of refinishing removes not only the old finish, but a small layer of wood on the surfaces of the item. This makes a refinished piece look new once the process has been completed. As such, the refinishing process is irreversible so refinishing is best for pieces that have no historical value. Refinishing can also be used to change the look of a piece. For example, if you have an old blanket chest with a finish or style that no longer suits you, the piece can be stripped, repaired and/or modified and completely refinished to give it an updated look.