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How To Easily Repair Furniture

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If you have recently purchased an old piece of furniture at a yard sale or thrift shop, you can easily refinish it in the comfort of your home. Furniture repair can be a therapeutic and fulfilling activity, and many people will buy a piece of furniture to see what treasure it holds beneath years of dirt and grime. Here are some tips that you can use to refinish an old piece of wood furniture of your own.

Clean Thoroughly

You can get a sneak peek at what a piece of furniture will look like when completely restored by putting on a coating of mineral spirits. The dark color of the wood after this is applied will be similar to what the result will be after restored, and it is done so that you can notice all the flaws that need to be repaired. Apply the mineral spirits with a clean cloth and stand back to assess what damages you will be working on.

After you have an idea of what you are working with, thoroughly clean the entire piece of furniture using a mild dish detergent mixed in a small bucket of water. Pour in a few tablespoons of detergent and swish around until it bubbles. Use a soft sponge to scrub the furniture with the soap mixture. Use the sponge with plain water to rinse off the soap after completed.

Remove Rings

Sometimes tables will get white rings embedded in the surface of the table top from using a mug or a glass without a coaster. The water beads up and ruins the surface. You can remove unsightly rings by dabbing petroleum jelly on the area and allowing to sit overnight. The next day, wipe up the jelly and see if it has made a difference. The oil in the product will seep through the finish, lightning the water ring. 

Fix Chips

If there is an area of your wood finish that has an apparent chipped area, you can fill it in using epoxy putty. This putty is pliable enough to place into a chipped area and will harden within a few hours to allow for sanding. Rub a small piece of putty in your fingers to soften and place into the chipped area. It will start hardening right away, so you will need to work fast at molding it as close as you can to the shape of the furniture where it is being applied. Sand with medium grit sandpaper followed by fine grit sandpaper to smooth the area before staining.

Remove Paint

If there is paint on the furniture, this can be gently scraped off using a razor blade. Cover the ends of the blade with a piece of painters tape to grasp with your fingertips when trying to scrape. This covers up the pointed ends of the blade, allowing you to scrape without adding any scratches to the surface. Lightly scrape at the paint flecks until they dislodge from the wood surface.


Gel stain will work wonderfully to color your furniture without the need to remove the current finish on the product. Simply pour a small amount of the stain to a clean cloth and rub into the surface of the furniture until you see the desired color you are trying to achieve. Gel stain will allow you to add several coats if you would like a darker-looking piece. If you do not like the results, it can easily be removed with mineral spirits during the application process.

When done staining, add a coating of finish to add shine and protect the piece from damage. Apply finish with a clean cloth and rub it into the surface until the appropriate gloss has been achieved.