A restoration worthy of the name begins with a good stripping. This allows the wood to be examined and the necessary operations to be carried out: treatments, filling, consolidation … Once the furniture has been restored, we can move on to the finish. Current cabinetry products greatly facilitate work in all its phases. Before renovating the wood, dismantle the fittings, the bronzes, and clean them separately.
Waxed or varnished furniture?
To identify a dirty finish, wipe a corner of the cabinet with a cloth dampened with methylated spirits.
- If the rag takes on the color and becomes sticky, the furniture is waxed.
- If the cloth does not stain or only shows traces of dirt, you are in the presence of varnish.
Tip: You can also do the test with sandpaper. The wax sticks to it, the varnish turns into dust.
To remove the wax
Use a stripper, a kind of “soft” stripper formulated to dissolve old layers of wax when cold.
- Shake the container before use. Unscrew the cap and soak a pad of # 0 or 00 steel wool with the product, depending on the level of soiling.
- Rub in the direction of the fibers, until the wax is completely removed, and let dry. Replace the pad as soon as it becomes dirty.
Good to know: The dewaxed acts quickly. It cleans the wood in depth without denaturing it. Put on gloves and, if necessary, protect the leather, fabric …
To remove varnish
In addition to gloves, wear old clothes (or an apron) and goggles to protect your eyes from any splashes. Good to know: Avoid stripping in direct sunlight. It is recommended to ventilate the room during and after application until the vapors dissipate. If you have large surfaces to strip, an anti-vapor mask will not be too much …
- After shaking it, open the can carefully.
Tip: Once the cap is removed, cover the protective plastic membrane with a thick cloth before drilling, cutting, or removing it.
- If necessary, pour the stripper into a container.
- Apply the product generously with a flat brush and leave to act for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the blistered material with a spatula following the fibers of the wood.
- In-molded or sculpted parts, use a brass-coated steel brush or steel wool.
- Repeat the operation if necessary.
- Then pass the flat surfaces with a squeegee to remove most of the superficial stains.
Good to know: A gel remover (which does not run off) allows you to work more efficiently on vertical surfaces. With a no-rinse formula, guaranteed time savings! As soon as the wood is exposed, you can attack the next phase.
- If crystals remain visible on the surface of the wood, rinse and let dry again.
- Apply the lightener with the brush and leave to act for about 10 minutes.
- Then rinse with a damp sponge and wait for complete drying, at least overnight.
Good to know: Some manufacturers recommend rinsing with a cotton wick soaked in alcohol to varnish. Unlike water, alcohol has a beneficial degreasing power before dyeing, waxing, or varnishing.
- When the furniture is dry, grind the surfaces with fine abrasive and then dust with a lint-free cloth.
- For this operation, steel wool is not recommended.
2. Protect from parasites
Preventive and curative treatment
When these parasites take hold, they gradually weaken the structure of the furniture and ultimately condemn it. Good to know: Not all products are suitable. Choose “special furniture” treatment, colorless and non-greasy.
- As prevention, treat by impregnation in two layers applied with a flat brush. Let the first coat dry well before moving on to the next.
- A curative action is done by injection in depth. For this operation, there are fine aerosols provided with a cannula terminated by an injector tip.
Curative action by injection
Insert the needle of the nozzle into the hole and exert intense pressure on the aerosol. Fill the gallery to saturation.
- No need to fill every hole. It only takes one injection every ten cm² approximately to obtain a significant result.
Tip: Important furniture can be handled by the feet.
Put them to soak in cups filled with treatment, which will diffuse by itself by capillarity. Once the wood is saturated, it takes on a wet appearance: remove the cups and let dry a good day.
3. Recap and repair
For more critical fillings, to fill gaps, use a two-component mastic: polyester resin + hardener.
Strictly observe the dosages indicated on the jar! As the putty dries quickly, prepare small amounts at a time, so you don’t waste it.
Good to know: You can choose a colorless or tinted filler, depending on the desired finish.
- Using a small spatula, fill the hole or slit well.
- Several coats may be necessary for filling (see instructions for use).
- Let dry completely before remasticating.
Tip: The filling wax is used to fill the “wormholes” to repair small accidents in furniture already waxed or waxed. It warms up by hand and is applied once softened with a small hardwood spatula.
This colorless liquid based on polyurethane resins stops crumbling and restores strength to weakened areas.
With the pipette provided, fill the galleries until the refusal of all of the damaged wood.
Finish with an even layer with a brush.
After 4 hours of drying, you can sand, tint … apply the finish of your choice.
Sanding determines the surface appearance of your furniture.
- First, sand the repairs with # 80 sandpaper until the surface is evened.
- Then sand the whole piece of furniture, always in the direction of the grain, using abrasives of increasing fineness n ° 120 to 240 successively.
- Finally, dust carefully with a cloth soaked in methylated spirits.
Good to know: If flat surfaces are sanded with a shim, there are soft abrasive pads for molded or sculpted parts.
Preferably with water
Tinting allows you to hide appearance defects, to bring out the qualities of wood, and, of course, to give it a more personal tone.
- A stain is essential before finishing to unify a piece of furniture whose colors are not homogeneous.
Good to know: Water-based tints are more accessible to dose than alcohol tints, and they can be mixed.
- To find the right dosage, experiment on a hidden part of the furniture or scraps of the same gasoline.
- Start light and gradually work your way down until you find the perfect shade.
- Wait until the shade has dried to judge the result.
Tip: Note the proportions of water and pigment carefully so that you can reproduce the tone of your choice.
- Mix in a glass container, such as a jam jar. You can tint with a sponge, cotton wick, or flat brush.
- Apply the color in the direction of the fibers, element by element: panels, uprights, crossbars …
- Wipe off excess immediately with a clean wick pad or lint-free cloth.
Tip: After complete drying, give a light stroke of sanding to lay down the fibers raised by the water of the dye.
To waterproof wood
Two options: flour or oil.
- The melt fixes the color and closes the pores of the wood.
- Protects against water and stains, it can be used as well before a wax as a varnish.
Good to know: The cellulose melt has the advantage of drying quickly. It is dust-free after 15 to 30 minutes and can be recoated 1 to 2 hours after application.
- Apply the four with a more spalt or wick, obviously in the direction of the grain. At least two coats are needed to fill the pores, the first possibly diluted to promote absorption.
- Grind each layer with # 000 steel wool. The operation produces whitish dust, which is removed with a cloth.
Tip: Properly mouth-porous wood is smooth to the touch. You can verify this by observing it under grazing light.
- Furniture oil fulfills a dual function of waterproofing and finishing. It nourishes the wood by giving it a matte, non-greasy appearance.
- There are oils for all types of wood, others more particularly intended for exotic species.
- Apply with a flat brush in 2 regular coats, interspersed with 4 to 12 hours of drying time, depending on the product and the porosity of the wood.
- Wipe off the excess with a lint-free cotton cloth.
Tip: To find out if your furniture is sufficiently protected, put a few drops of water on it, and observe. If they bead on the surface, the wood is waterproofed. Otherwise, apply a new coat of oil. Oil requires regular maintenance. From time to time, redo a pass with the rag.
Liquid wax is spread with a brush in the direction of the grain.
Paste wax is applied, with a cloth or a wick, in small energetic circles.
- Proceed in 2 or 3 very filling passes.
- Each time wipe off the excess with a cloth and let dry.
- Finish by rubbing with a buffing brush, in boar bristles.
In the beginning, it is better to choose a “cabinetry” varnish applicable with a more spalt or, again, a marine varnish.
- With a Spalter, the varnish is applied in 2 thin and regular coats.
- Work in the direction of the grain, starting at the top of the furniture and ending at the bottom.
After complete drying of the first coat, peel the varnish with a light hand using steel wool n ° 000, then dust carefully.
- Pass the second coat like the first, smoothing to finish with the end of the bristles.
- The machine varnish is spread with a wicking pad enclosed in cotton canvas. From time to time, a drop of petroleum jelly is placed on the canvas to facilitate the sliding.
Good to know: Matine varnish is commonly used to protect a waxed finish. The gesture requires a minimum of practice to shine close to the varnish with a traditional pad, which requires almost professional know-how.