How to Renovate Old Furniture

Written by chelsea fitzgerald
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How to Renovate Old Furniture
Furniture can become dull-looking if not given the proper care. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Furniture becomes grimy, scratched or stained with frequent use. It may suffer from years of neglect, thus making it necessary to renovate the piece before placing it in your home. You do not have to purchase expensive furniture refinishing kits in order to restore the shine or to repair scratches and stains in the wood. Caring for your furniture correctly ensures that the piece looks attractive in your home for many years.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Dusting tool
  • White spirit (Paint thinner)
  • Soft cloths
  • Furniture polish or paste wax
  • Brazil nut or walnut
  • Nutcracker
  • Mineral oil
  • Measuring spoon
  • Beeswax or carnauba wax
  • Double boiler
  • Plastic or glass bottle

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    Cleaning Furniture

  1. 1

    Dust your wood furniture with a dusting tool.

  2. 2

    Moisten a cloth with the white spirit.

  3. 3

    Rub the cloth over the entire wood surface of the old furniture. The white spirit effectively cleans grime, oil, wax build-up and stains in the wood. There is no need to rinse the white spirit.

    Scratch Repair

  1. 1

    Crack a fresh walnut or Brazil nut with a nutcracker.

  2. 2

    Remove the meat from the nut.

  3. 3

    Rub the Brazil or walnut meat onto the scratch on your wood furniture, rubbing along the grain of the wood. The oils in the nut will darken the scratched area.

  4. 4

    Buff the area with a soft cloth to remove any residue. Repeat the method until the scratch blends in with the rest of the wood.

    Homemade Furniture Polish

  1. 1

    Mix 1 qt. of mineral oil and 2 tbsp beeswax or carnauba wax into a double boiler on your stove and turn the heat on medium.

  2. 2

    Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon once the wax starts to melt. Continue heating until all the wax melts. Stir the mixture again.

  3. 3

    Allow the mixture to cool and then pour it into plastic or glass bottles. Use the homemade polish as you would any commercial furniture polish.

Tips and warnings

  • Polish your furniture with a furniture polish or paste wax to restore the shine once it is clean and free of scratches and stains.
  • White spirit and mineral oil are available at discount, hardware and home supply stores.
  • Purchase the wax at craft and hobby or discount stores.

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