Preserving Old Wood

Refinishing furniture and architectural wood helps to reduce our demands on the environment by preserving furniture, doors and molding created long ago, and prevents cutting down and wasting trees growing today. It also helps us to improve our homes with updated fine quality pieces that might otherwise be overlooked, and clog our waste dumps and landfills. Fine, old trees were cut down in decades or centuries past, and utilized in the production of furniture that is eventually in need of maintenance, not discarding. Old furniture finishes, especially twentieth century finishes including lacquer, turn dark, translucent, and finally semi-opaque, hiding the beauty of the wood beneath. An old finish is then susceptible to whitish heat and humidity marks, becomes brittle and scratches easily.  Keep in mind that the damages are just to the finish, and you will start over when the finish is removed. If the old finish is remove and a new finish is applied the furniture can display the original beauty of the wood.  It will be as beauty as when it was created, but with an antique patina to the wood that is irreplaceable. The quality and species of wood available and used years ago was generally better than what is available today.

 There is little comparison between craftsmanship of yesteryears and today’s shoddy manufacturing. Older furniture that was made more than twenty years ago will out last just about anything made today. Refinishing preserves old furniture and does not waste resources to produce new flake board, melamine, laminate, or MDF and their waste products in the production of new furniture.

 We have a responsibility to tomorrows’ generations,  preserving our heritage and the environment is something all can appreciate. The vintage antique, or designer furniture we admire from the 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s, including Eames, mid century modern, or Danish is often available in local thrift shops, Craig’s list, from yard sales, or flea markets. Often, you need look no further than in your own homes to find candidates for refinishing. Open your imagination to wider refinishing possibilities for such handsomely designed furniture.  

 Let’s face it; even if you can get the Ikea stuff put together, it’s not going to last for another hundred years.

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. interesting article. I especially agree with that last line.

  2. I found this on
    Preserving Old Wood – Instead of Buying Ikea Crap.

    Need a new piece of furniture in your living room? Often a canidiate for the perfect piece maybe already hidden in your house waiting for a refinishing to bring it back to life.

  3. If anyone is really interested about antique furniture and having a nice antique furniture collection then it’s a considerable point to preserve and keep it securely. Here are a number of tips that will help one to maintain their antiques with time. One can also know these from his or her antique dealer.Thanks for sharing these tips.

  4. Identifying an old finish is very important to restoration of furniture. To revive the old finish on wooden furniture the first step you should know is what kind of finish was used on the furniture piece, then decide how to clean it. If alcohol doesn’t affect the finish, rub a little lacquer thinner on an inconspicuous finished spot. If the area turns rough and then smooth again, the finish is lacquer; if the finish crinkles and doesn’t get smooth again, it’s a type of varnish. If neither alcohol nor lacquer thinner affects it, the finish is varnish. Thanks..!!!

  5. Nice information, good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need; thanks for this.

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