Lesson One In Furniture Refinishing: Pay Attention!

Who among us hasn’t seen those shows where they take some junky piece of furniture that seems destined for the trash heap and miraculously turn it into something incredible? Many of us WISH we could do that. They make it look so easy on TV!

Let the Treasure Hunt Begin!

Well, we decided to investigate how hard it really is to do something like that. So we began our search for the perfect piece to transform. And when we couldn’t find that perfect piece even remotely in our price range, we decided that any piece would do!

In the end, we found an old desk in a quiet (and dark) little secondhand shop. It looked perfect sitting in there, covered with assorted knick-knacks. The price was right and, quite honestly, someone else was eyeing it, so we snatched it up.

Riding back to our shop with the little desk in the back of the car, we were pleased with our find. And we talked about how we were going to trannsform this tired and dusty desk into a gloriously stained piece of fine furniture. We had big plans.

But, as they say, even the best laid plans…

See, it all started to fall apart when we actually looked at the piece in the light. We knew it was covered with peeling paint. But we hadn’t realized that the drawers would fall into a hundred pieces at the slightest tug and that huge chunks of the legs were missing from rot and water damage.

Lesson One: Pay Attention!

We had been in such a rush to find the perfect piece, we never took the time to inspect it as we should!

If you’re going to try your hand at furniture refinishing, the very first lesson to learn is not about the actual refinishing process at all. The first lesson is about the search!

Pay attention. Take your time. Look a piece over–even if it takes getting on the floor and looking at it from underneath. Check out the legs and the feet. Examine the hardware. Pull out the drawers. Do they slide easily? Are the joints tight? If not, will a little wood glue bring everything back together?

Look at the sides and inspect the veneer. Is it in good shape or are pieces missing?

Look for dings and dents in the wood. And don’t forget to look to see if the piece is truly made of wood at all! We’ve seen a number of people make this mistake, purchasing a laminated piece with the thoughts of stripping it and refinishing it. It’s an embarrassing mistake! Don’t make it.

All in all, take your time, pay attention, and examine the piece from top to bottom. You know your skill set. You know what you can fix and what you should leave for someone else. You don’t want to be surprised. Like we were!

Moving Forward

At any rate, surprised or not, there was only one direction for us to move: forward! After all, we’re stubborn. And we had paid good money for this thing. We weren’t quitting now. We were going to turn it into something cool if it killed us. But how? Check out the next post to find out!










Lesson Two In Furniture Refinishing: Plans Change, Roll With It!
Some Tried and True (and Quick and Easy) Cleaning Hacks!