Introduction to Restoring Furniture

Restoring Furniture

I wrote about my restoration of this mid-nineteenth century
Empire chest-of-drawers in difficulty #219, August 2015.

It has been my intention from the start of this weblog to
embrace postings about furnishings restoration. By restoration I
imply wooden restore (together with regluing), end restore and

For twenty years, from 1976 to 1995 I ran a one-man (me)
furnishings making and restoration store. I opened the store with
the intention of simply making furnishings, however there weren’t
sufficient orders to maintain me busy full time, and I didn’t wish to
do craft reveals or galleries. So I began doing restoration.

The truth is, there was a refinishing store half-a-block away with
damaged furnishings stacked from flooring to ceiling that hadn’t been
mounted. As with most refinishers, the 2 guys working the store
didn’t have good woodworking abilities, however I had them. So getting
began with a number of work was simple.

As soon as I received began, I discovered it superb how many individuals had some
memento furnishings within the attic or cellar that they needed
restored. I by no means lacked for work these twenty years.

However I used to be nonetheless making furnishings after I received orders. After a number of
years I started realizing that I appreciated repairing furnishings quite a bit
greater than making it. I might come to the store within the morning
and decide up on a restore the place I had left off the day earlier than,
telling myself that I might return to creating furnishings after
lunch. Then I wouldn’t.

I really like the problem of repairing. Not counting easy
regluing, I had to determine the way to repair or reproduce somebody
else’s work or design. I couldn’t keep throughout the ability ranges
I had developed. I used to be compelled to stretch and study new
methods nearly every single day. Additionally, the emphasis was nearly
at all times on hand-tool abilities, which I a lot want over machines.

So by the early 1980s I turned my intention completely to
restoration. It was exhausting at first to cease figuring out myself as
a furnishings maker as a result of there was numerous romance round
this time period at the moment, the peak of the craft renaissance,
and as an alternative name myself a restorer/repairer/refinisher. However
slowly I overcame my perceived downgrade, and the whole lot went
effectively from there.

Nonetheless, I didn’t discover stripping furnishings or refinishing
furnishings practically as satisfying because the wooden restore. So I turned
down these jobs until they included restore. That was the place I
derived my enjoyment.

Although I intend to incorporate some postings on stripping and
refinishing, together with new-wood ending, after all, and in addition
some ideas on vintage furnishings, my fundamental restoration
emphasis shall be on restore. Needless to say after you have
eliminated the end from an outdated piece of furnishings, making use of a
new end is hardly any completely different from ending a brand new piece
you might have simply constructed.

For the following few postings I’ll introduce you to the restore
books I’ve discovered most useful, then spend a bit time on
animal disguise glue as a result of it was the glue used initially and
for many repairs on all furnishings earlier than the 1950s, and it’s
what is supposed by “glue” in many of the books I’ll introduce.

By the way in which, I don’t discover a bonus to utilizing disguise glue on new
furnishings, however disguise glue supplies an enormous benefit when working
on antiques and outdated furnishings glued initially with disguise glue
or repaired with disguise glue.

restoring furniture

Right here’s the completed chest.

— Bob Flexner


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