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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/furniture refinishing


I love refinishing furniture as I find it relaxing. What are the do's and don'ts as far as what to buy and what to avoid

Hi Ramona
Nice to hear from you.
Although I find its getting harder to find cheap good quality old wood pieces to refinish, they are still out there.
But you have to have a sharp eye or you can be fooled.
Always but real wood. Sounds easy but for a novice its easy to be fooled.
So much of the furniture is actually MDF boards with a plastic coating made to look like wood.
First thing to do is remove a drawer or open a door.
If you see real wood on the inside it will be real on the outside.
Avoid painted pieces unless you can determine for sure the piece had a finish (varnish or shellac) on it before someone painted it.
A piece that was originally painted at the factory does not refinish well because the paint has soaked into the wood. These pieces are also not made with nice wood in most cases.
Avoid pieces that have broken veneer. A novice cannot repair veneer. Its costly to have done by a pro.
Some pieces like the maple used in the 60's does not take stain. Although these pieces were well made and last forever, they need a spray lacquer finish done by a pro.
Unless you have the tools and knowledge to make repairs, then avoid broken pieces.
There is a trend today to paint furniture. Nothing wrong with that at all.
All the pieces I said to avoid lend themselves well to being painted.
I would not pass up a well made piece of furniture because it could not be refinished.
I would get it and paint it if I liked it.
Hope this has helped you.
This was a great question Ramona.

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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Eileen Cronk


I can answer most questions about the repairing and refinishing of all your old furniture items (the things we call antiques). I can also give you advice on what wood items to choose and what wood items to avoid at auctions, flea markets etc. I DO NOT give appraisals on antiques as this is not my field of expertise.


I have been repairing, refinishing and of course buying old furniture for the past 30 years. On any given weekend I can be found at auction sales or flea markets searching out a good buy. I have taken several courses in this area over the years, but I find "Hands On" learning to be the best teacher. I can help you avoid the pitfalls and problems of this wonderful rewarding craft.

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