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The Basics on How To Repair and/or Restore Furniture (and maybe turn a profit)

I don’t know if you’re searching for how to guides because you’re a “flipper” who’s idea of a restoration involves chalk paint and gold leaf on literally everything or if you just really want that vintage look to preserve your tenuous grasp on a personality that relies solely on a style already predetermined and molded by the boomers you claim to hate, but I’d love to steer you away from both of those streams of consciousness and remind you that there’s more than one way to strip a credenza.

If I sound like a hater it’s just because a furniture “rehab” that involves yanking the skirt off a couch and nothing else makes me want to drink kerosene. Far be it for me to slam the gate (-keeping) in your face when all you’re trying to do is learn something new, but I’ve been making a living (and supporting various habits) by doing this for years and I don’t like it when newbies come along and trivialize it. If you really wanna learn how to restore furniture, you need to do some research and what I’m about to share with you is pretty much the gateway drug.

If you’re anything like me, then we’ll be starting at the bottom. I assume you don’t even have furniture yet. Guess it’s time to go thrifting! 


What to look for 

When browsing your local salvation army, yard sale, or (ideally) the bins, it’s wise to keep three things in mind: good bones, good bones, good bones. Stripping is time consuming but often worth it, veneer can be patched (with a little artistry), and upholstery…is…doable…usually. In other words, if you love it and are willing to spend the time fixing it, just get it. I can’t tell you how many wicker etageres and velvet fainting couches haunt my dreams because I didn’t just scoop it up when I had the chance. That’s the beauty of thrifting though; you’ll likely never find the exact same piece twice. Or you will and then wonder why Hollywood Vintage Mall in Portland is asking $300 for a lamp you saw in Vancouver for $40.

Beyond good bones, it’s really just a matter of what your endgame is. If you’re in the re-sell business, then you probably already know that mid century modern is king, which is technically (according to who you ask) a design period from 1945-1969. The 70s has been rearing its neutral colored head for some time. That’s not a bad thing for us low-end pickers, what with the price of MCM skyrocketing like a bottle rocket at the Justice Center. 

Wicker is king, even if it looks like a bird’s nest. You can always replace and reweave it, but it’s not even really necessary if you just wanna make a quick buck (also the experience of repairing wicker is akin to flossing your teeth till you hit bone). I won’t be going into the how-to for wicker repair in this particular article just because it’s so time consuming. I think there are better, more satisfying projects to cut your teeth on and if you’re a beginner, I don’t wanna scare you off (I mean I kinda do what with you being my competition and all).

Anyway, if you’re looking for MCM but aren’t quite sure what that even means, think tapered legs, sleek designs, and functionality. Remember the restrained but colorful set design of the neighborhood homes in Edward Scissorhands? It’s basically that. 

Not to get too armchair-history-professor, but it’s popularity in the US was in conjunction with the post war boom which led to rapid economic prosperity (for some) and the expansion of the wonderful world of suburbs. People wanted quality furniture that wasn’t too expensive, which is why the then-new and sometimes frustrating materials veneer, plywood, and plastic were utilized so frequently. Starburst patterns and anything reminiscent of the space age are also hallmarks of MCM and what a lot buyers go apeshit for, just in case you’re looking to flip. {Illustrate space age decor}

Of course, you don’t have to jump on the mid century train if it’s not your bag. Honestly, just about anything over 40 years old equals beauty and/or value to someone somewhere. And, if you’re like me, it might continually surprise and crush you to remember that 1980 was over 40 years ago.

If you’re shopping just for yourself and wanna make sure you get something you’ll love for years to come, I recommend being honest with just how much DIY you really wanna commit to and know that almost anything worth doing is going to take at least a few days. Any flip/refab/restoration is going to be time consuming if done right and I like to think of different projects as different styles of relationships. For instance, painting an upholstered piece of furniture is a bit like dating someone with massive amounts of student loan debt. It’s fun and beautiful and you wonder why more people don’t do it, until you realize your finances are now somehow in the red just as all your pants are dyed to match your crimson sofa.

One last thing I’ll mention that you should always look out for in thrift stores is what I refer to as notions. Just like with sewing, notions are any accessory that could potentially be of use. Hardware, contact paper, and tools can all be found for dirt cheap. Plus, you can find totally unique pieces that Home Depot just doesn’t supply anymore. 

A veneer by any other name is still not as sweet as hardwood

If you’re looking for wooden furniture (or furniture that looks like wood), your budget will likely make the decision for you. Solid wood costs a lot more because it’s durable and (honestly) better looking. Hardwood will have the same grain all the way through, and furniture with a veneer will be made of plywood on the inside and feel less porous (the grain is filled in at the factory for a glassy look). Laminate furniture is basically Ikea furniture (also known as particle board). You can get lucky while thrifting and find gorgeous hardwood pieces for dirt cheap, but you should always check for evidence of bed bugs, termite damage, and mold. There might be other reasons the price is so low, such as missing hardware, chipped edges, or it might be haunted by its former owner. Speaking of lingering entities, take a good whiff of the interior of any cabinets and drawers. Odors can be eliminated (usually) but sometimes it’s just not worth the hassle.

Unless you’re wanting to take a gamble with a new paint design and don’t wanna sink a lot of money into an experiment, laminate furniture is usually better left alone. If you do find something in decent enough shape, prime the hell out of it and slap an atomic art design on top. You can resell it for 5x what it’s worth. Not that I ever do that. Never.

If you’re in the market for lawn furniture, just know that at any given moment, someone on craigslist is giving away their grandfather’s perfectly good aluminum chairs for free (or close to) and rewebbing is shockingly easy (if not hard on the fingers). I’ll talk about that in detail later on in the how-to section of this article.

Bring a flashlight if you’re looking at upholstered furniture. You don’t wanna bring home any new friends, but keep in mind if you find a curved sofa with just a so-so fabric or a gorgeous mid century modern loveseat with questionable stains down the front of it, it’s always an option to give it the Pretty Woman treatment. The one caveat to mention with regards to upholstery is if it’s a piece without removable seat cushions and/or tufting, it does get quite a bit trickier. In that scenario, I’d recommend hiring a professional. Sometimes DIY just isn’t the move and you need to know when to take a seat.

Bring trash bags, plastic sheeting, and/or be ready to heave it into a shed as soon as you get home if you do suspect bed bugs. I’ve had them multiple times and they’re a pain in the ass once you have an infestation in your home. To prevent such catastrophes, you need a steamer to treat the larger pieces. Dump anything you can in the washing machine on high heat, then follow it up on high in the dryer. Immediately start praying to whoever or whatever you pray to that that does the trick. I’ll pray for you too.

Also, with the risk of getting too pinterest-y, keep an open mind with what can be furniture. In my house, we have a plant stand that is just the bottom half of a mannequin and it never fails to get an honorable mention from visitors. I’ve seen the springs from an old mattress turned into an inventive if not grotesque lighting fixture on TikTok and there was a trend in the 60s of stringing fishing line on panes of acrylic to create intricate swag lamps that now sell for a decent amount. If you can dream it, some idiot will buy it (including me; I have one of those swag lamps). {illustrate whichever item, I can provide a pick of the swag lamp or plant stand}

 
Supplies you’ll need to get started

I’ve already touched on notions, which is more general and can apply to embellishments (or just about anything), but let’s talk about the many essential tools that every DIY furniture fixer-upper should have in their arsenal. Just the essentials though. You can go nuts and start a whole tool hoard if you want.

I’m gonna start with the tools that it’s ok to cheap out on, followed by mid-range babies, and finally the tools that you should just go ahead and pay top dollar for now and save yourself the headache.

Low end:

  • Any basic tool like hammers, chisels, screwdrivers, paint scrapers, etc can all be found for under a buck at most thrift stores and there’s no reason you need to buy new. The old ones last forever and rust can be removed. You can also get lucky and find yourself a crispy, which is the dorky but adorable term for a vintage tool in mint condition.
  • Used cardboard for your knees. You’re gonna end up on ‘em, you better protect ‘em.
  • Plastic sheets, especially if you’re working inside and hope to someday get your security deposit back (that ship has sailed for me, but there’s still hope for you!).
  • A tape measure and level. They all work the same.
  • Paint. Search on Craigslist, NextDoor, and/or Facebook Marketplace and you’ll find free paint. It’s expensive and annoying to dispose of properly so it’s always available. Once you get a few colors it’s really easy to mix your own shades. Hardware stores also sell reject paint and test shades for dirt cheap.
  • Chip brushes. You’ll end up needing them now and then and you wanna protect your nice ones.
  • Tack cloths

Mid-range

  • Paint tape. The cheap stuff doesn’t work at all.
  • Shop Vac (clean work areas = no dust/hair trapped in your varnish)
  • Cordless drill 
  • Paint stipper (I like Klean Strip; the orange stuff is crap and can damage wood since they changed their formula)
  • Primer (it exists for a reason; don’t believe paint and primer label lies)
  • Mineral spirits (for cleaning up literally anything, including your brushes) and Murphy’s Oil Wood Soap
  • Lacquer and/or Varnish depending on your project
  • A Random-Orbit Sander and a range of sandpaper: 60 (serious stripping) -80 (slightly less serious stripping but you don’t wanna jump from super rough too quickly because the higher grains won’t remove gouges that the 60 can leave) -100 (smoothing) -150 (smoothing between coats of paint) -220 (smoothing between coats of varnish). These are basic descriptions of what these sandpapers are used for and your specific project may have different needs; sometimes less, sometimes more. At any rate, don’t cheap out on a sander but don’t feel like you have to spend $100 either. Also, get a random-orbit specifically. Don’t get a vibrating sander because they’re more likely to leave marks on the wood that you will then have to sand out by hand. If you wanna sand by hand due to budget concerns or whatever (galoot much? https://toolcrib.com/blog/2007/08/the-7-essential-woodworking-hand-tools-for-the-galoot-in-training/ ), do yourself a favor and spring for a sandpaper block to wrap the sandpaper around. They sell them fairly cheaply and there’s two benefits: it’s easier on your hand and there’s padding on the block that reduces the likelihood that you’ll press down too hard in certain areas, which causes a “hollowing” effect. You can even make your own with a little block of wood and a piece of cork board glued to the business end. Always sand in the direction of the grain! {illustrate}

High End

  • Paint brushes. Learn from my mistakes. Spend the extra $5 or whatever to not have brush hairs in your finish.
  • Spray adhesive. Do I need to explain this?
  • Wood filler. Don’t cheap out and get the Elmer’s crap. It just slowly but surely disintegrates. 

Most importantly

  • Be nice to the people at hardware stores. Most of the time they are more knowledgeable than you (you’re not Ron Swanson) and if you do stuff like this regularly, it will benefit you greatly to get on their good side. 


The Main Event, also known as How-To Guides:


How to Create a one of a Kind Acrylic Pour Table and Keep a Calm Head while pouring Resin

Say you saw an ad on Craigslist Free for a free pile in Tualatin and you have no life whatsoever so you decide to drive for 30 minutes to pick up somebody else’s trash. When you get there, you spot what we always look for: a coffee table with some damn nice bones. It’s a classic oval top and the spider legs have an interesting metal clawfoot. Free is free so you rush it home to strip off the navy blue and gold leaf paint someone tortured it with (likely recently) and pray to beelzebub that there’s hardwood underneath. One eternity later and it’s plain to see that you could stain and varnish the wood, but it’s gonna be a lot more effort that this cheap pine is worth. What about doing something a little more creative and, dare I say it, a little more YouTube? I would like to invite you to the surprisingly easy world of acrylic pour (painted wood haters can move on; I don’t care). Let’s dive in:

Tools for this project:

  • Paint in whatever palette you prefer. I personally like to take one shade and add varying amounts of white to get 6-7 tints. 
  • 6-7 containers that can easily be poured from relatively mess free. I just use old tupperware so I can save leftover paint.
  • Painter’s Tape to protect anything you don’t want tie dyed
  • FamoWood Glaze Coat Kit plus 3 containers for mixing
  • Stir stick
  • Plastic sheeting
  • A plastic spreader
  • Heat gun
  • Shop vac

An acrylic pour is a great way to turn something basic into something impressive by literally just spilling paint. My preferred method is take one color and make 6 varying shades of it by adding more or less white. I personally think different tones can look amateurish and not too many people want the full tie dye experience. Once you have your shades and you’ve protected anything you don’t want painted with painter’s tape, just start pouring. There’s really no wrong way to do it and if you mess up, no you didn’t! It’s art and all mistakes are happy accidents. 

I like to pour one color into another a few times over and then just tilt the table to get interesting patterns and to hopefully achieve some cells, which occur when the paints you’re using have different densities. It will literally look like cells do under a microscope and it’s pretty cool. As soon as you’re satisfied with what you have, try your best to cover it without touching it and walk away. In my experience, it takes at least a week to dry but it depends on how much paint you use. Play it safe and wait two because the last thing you want is a fingerprint in your design (which you can sand out, but let’s avoid that shall we?).

Next is the terrifying part, also known as the pouring resin part. This is the part where you realize just how much filth you unknowingly breathe each and every day. Do you ever think about how much dust there is in your house? I don’t know about you, but it’s really hard to have a clean room when you share a decaying bungalow with 9 people who all have wildly different opinions on personal and home hygiene. If it’s even remotely reasonable for you to do so, I highly recommend you cordone off a square area and hang up some plastic sheeting. Mop, sweep, and vacuum the shit out of that space because resin tells no lies. If you have fuzzy pets, god help you. This may seem dumb to mention, but I will because I was dumb enough to make this mistake. Check to make sure there isn’t an open vent in your clean room. The last thing you need is your ac to kick on and blow crap around.

As far as what kind of resin to get, there are a lot of different options out there. I’ve personally had good luck with the FamoWood Glaze Coat Kit, mostly because it’s idiot proof, but you should always do your research. Also, always get more than you think you will need and read the directions a few times over before starting. You have to mix the parts exactly as the directions describe and utilize the heat gun to remove bubbles after you pour. The plastic spreader might come in handy, but the FamoWood is self-leveling resin so maybe not. 

Have a helper, both to man the heat gun while you frantically pluck the hairs that are materializing from thin air and to act as moral support while you wonder aloud if you even like this acrylic pour design. 

When all is said and done, you’ll have a one of a kind piece that no one can ever recreate. When I made my acrylic pour table it was with the goal of selling it. Apparently the folks on Marketplace don’t want anything that isn’t MCM so I now proudly own it and it holds up my broken TV quite well.

How to Breathe Life into Salvaged Aluminum Lawn Chairs

Say you’re aimlessly driving around FoPo on a hot summer’s day and you spot some bright, tattered colors next to someone’s trash bins. Why you just spotted free money! All you need is some new webbing (easily obtained from our Amazon overlords), possibly screws or clips if they’re missing from the original chairs, a pair of scissors, measuring tape, a rag, and aluminum polish (personal preference: Mothers brand). 

  1. The first step of any project is to take a before picture for social media. 
  2. Now that that’s done, you need to cut that used up rag off your frames but keep one of each; one horizontal strip and one vertical strip.  We’ll use those for patterns.
  3. Once the frame is good and naked, it’s time to wipe it down with aluminum polish. A little elbow grease goes a long way. If a leg is slightly bent, you can encase it in a cardboard poster tube or pvc pipe and, using leverage, slowly straighten it. Be sure to wipe it totally dry before moving on to the next step.
  4. Now we’ll take our patterns and get to the main event. You can start with whatever you want but I like to do horizontal first because they’re shorter and therefore easier. Take your web and cut a strip about 1” longer than your pattern (this is because worn out web has more stretch and it’s always better to err on the side of having to shorten it).
  5. Before you cut the rest of your strips, you should try out your first piece to see how it fits. If you’re using screws, it’s a little more forgiving. Fold the corners down to form a triangle and attach it to the frame as snugly as you can. The clips are kinda one and done (if it’s a good tight fit, that’s it; you have to cut it to get it out). To use them, shove the middle part of the clip through the webbing about 2 inches in from the end and then fold that excess over the clip. Once you have the perfect size, measure your first piece and cut the remaining strips to size. Repeat with the other direction, remembering to weave. 
  6. Final step is to bask in the glory of dadhood. Congratulations. You are now a dad.

My first time re-webbing chairs involved using the clips and my dumbass could not figure out why they kept popping out of the holes. Just in case you’re as stupid as me, the part of the clip that goes in the chair frame (the part we shoved through the webbing) should be pointed up and inwards when holding your webbing right side up (with the excess folded below). {illustrate}

How to Straighten Warped Wood

A lot of people look at warped wood and think it’s gonna be too much trouble and they’re not wrong. But you’re here so you obviously like trouble (me too!). Also you’re saving perfectly good furniture from the dump and for that you should be commended. There’s a fuck ton of waste in this country and even though there’s a lot of hate for flippers and a valid argument to be made that it is gentrification, there is always more free shit out there…

Anyway…

Say your neighbor gifted you to two abused but nicely constructed wooden lawn chairs. They badly need refinishing and some of the vertical support beams are warped to hell. Before bothering to sand, paint, stain or whatever the hell you wanna do, you should take a bunch of pictures of the chairs as is, including the hardware placement and, if applicable, take notes on how they’re assembled. Next, disassemble. We need to separate out the warped beams so they can be properly fixed. Store the rest of the chairs indoors to prevent further warping. Good practice would be to put like pieces in labeled bags for easy reassembly. I very seldom follow good practice, but maybe you’re not a fuck up like me.

This is a fairly straightforward example because all we’re really trying to do is straighten the wood, not correct a curve. For our purposes, you need another piece of wood or metal that is both sturdy and straight as an arrow to use as a guide (check with your cheap level to be sure!). We also need a spray bottle filled with water (I like to use a weed sprayer), some wet paper towels, plastic wrap, and some strong clamps. We do need to factor in springback, which, just like how it sounds, means the wood springs back a little after the clamps are released. 

Now that we have all our tools rounded up, we’re going to spray down the first beam we’re intending to straighten with some water and then wrap it in the wet paper towels, followed by plastic wrap. Then, just clamp it to the straight guide. Be careful to not overly tighten your clamps or you risk snapping the thin piece of wood in two and then this whole process becomes a total shit show. Just a little too loose is better than too tight. The intention is to keep the beam wet while it slowly straightens. Set a timer on your phone for about 4 hours and when the alarm goes off, tighten the clamps a bit more. Yes this is a tedious process. Repeat the tedious process until you have the wood totally symmetrical, at which point it’s ok to let the wood dry (but leave those clamps in place!). Then leave it for a further 3 DAYS AT LEAST. Longer is really preferable and will help mitigate springback. After those three days, flip it over and clamp it again for another day to insure there is no spring in your back. Remember, patience is a virtue and weed makes time go by faster (and yet slower). 

The right way and the wrong way to repair veneer (depending your painting abilities)

You know a lot of Mid Century Modern Furniture is veneer (or you do now anyway) and the problem with veneer (there’s actually a few problems with veneer) is that it chips. It is possible to fix and only a little painful, so let’s dive into the nitty gritty (or more appropriately, the glassy smooth-y), shall we?

Say you found an outstanding credenza on craigslist that the owner just wants out of his late-mother’s living room. Heck yeah, right? Well, generations of children have been slamming tonka trucks and barbie dolls into it since the day it was brought home from the showroom and boy does it show. Oh no? No. We’re gonna patch some veneer. 

First of all, there are a fews ways to go about it but I’m going to assume that you don’t have a table saw and just describe the two more DIY friendly ways. Which of the two you end up using really depends on how much of a freak you are. If you just wanna patch it and move on with your life, you can buy veneer edge banding from most hardware stores. If you have a burning desire to paint wood grain, there’s always quickwood, which in my opinion does look better if you take your time and just love on it a little. I’ll take you through step by step how to do both.

-Edge Banding

The first step is to try to identify what kind of grain you’re working with and to do that you need to clean it off with some mineral spirits and then do some compare and contrast on a good old reverse image search. This may take some time and you should also take added staining or toning into account as far as the color goes. Just try to find something as similar as you can before purchasing your edge banding. 

Now we need to make a pattern. Using painters tape, outline the edges of where the patches need to be, being sure to give yourself extra allowance. Then carefully remove your tape-pattern and stick it to the edge banding veneer. Cut out the patch using a straightedge and exacto knife. Now we need to prep the hole (I didn’t have to say it that way; I wanted to).

Using your newly created patch as a guide, trace its shape over the hole using an exacto knife. Then, take a hammer and chisel (or a flat head screwdriver if you’re broke like me) and chip off the veneer till you have the perfect hole to fit your patch. You can also use an exacto knife to cut off anything thin and feathered so you have a flat surface for the patch to lay flush. Once you have a good fit, you may find you need to double up (or more) the veneer. Just cut it out now before we start gluing.

Next (I bet you already guessed), slap some wood glue on it and clamp it in place overnight. 

Fill in the cracks with wood filler and stain or tone to match the rest of the piece (I’ll go into more detail on staining and toning after the how-to for quickwood).

-Quickwood

Quickwood is available at most hardware stores and in some ways it’s easier than making a patch with real veneer, but I guess I’ll leave that final reckoning up to you because it’s a little subjective. To actually make the patch, you just cut a chunk off, massage it into a ball until it’s sticky and use a putty knife to fill in the gap. Then, while it’s still pliable (you can always wet it with a dab of water as you work), use a razer blade to create the wood grain grooves. Once it’s dry, give it a good sanding. Now here’s the hurt. You have to paint it with different gel stains to try to recreate the natural variations in the wood. It’s the kind of thing that takes practice and some artistic ability, but once you’re good at it, you can make nearly invisible patches. 

Staining, Toning, and *shudder* Painting MCM Furniture

I’m going to talk specifically about MCM because it’s a) my favorite and b) that’s it; end of reasons.

Your goal with MCM should always be to restore it to its original glory. I shouldn’t have to explain why, but if you need a reason, just know you’re ruining the re-sell value of something potentially worth hundreds of dollars by torturing it with that can of Dixie Belle paint. There is one exception where it is ok to paint to MCM furniture, and that is if the wood is so far gone that no sane person would take on the repair (unless it’s a real professional). If you found that piece, do what you have to do. But by all that is holy do something like this: {illustrate something like this, I can find more images}

If you paint it with chalk paint, I’m gonna crawl out from under your bed while you’re sleeping and spit in your mouth.

Now let’s talk about actual restoration. You’ll see in a lot of how-tos and facebook groups that you’re supposed to use something called Danish Oil. According to one of the premier MCM restorers in the US, Bob Kennedy at the Atomic Ranch Mid Mod Design shop (https://www.atomic-ranch.com/interior-design/mcm-furniture-restoration-tips/ ), you should be using sprayable toner and pre-catalyzed lacquer because that is the original finish. It is also more durable than oil and easier to control than stain.

You can use stain if your heart is set on it, but the thing with stain is that it can absorb into the wood unevenly and leave a blotchy mess. Also, a lot of mid century furniture was mass produced to be affordable so they often used a cheaper, lighter wood for the base and then used toner to match the body of the piece which would be made in darker (and thus more expensive) wood. This is harder to do with stains, but it is achievable. Danish oil will only emphasize the difference in wood, which is a look, but not period appropriate and can hurt the resale value. Also, stains and Danish oil soak into the wood and are very difficult to undo, whereas toner just sits on top of the wood as a finish.

I’m only going to go in depth on restoring using toner for these reasons and honestly it’s pretty straight forward. If you’re reading this article, I’m going to assume you’re fairly new to restorations but not a total beginner. Even so, I would encourage you to practice on a small, lower end piece with straight edges (rounded edges are beautiful but much more difficult to sand), like an end table. I’ll phrase the instructions to follow my assumptions.

First, use Murphy’s oil wood cleaner to start off on a clean foot and see where you’re at. Then use a stripper to remove what’s left of the original finish. To expedite the process, add the stripper and then wrap it up on a large trash bag or plastic sheeting so the stripper stays on the wood and doesn’t dry out too quickly. Check the progress of the stripper every hour or so. You can tell when it’s done. Then take a plastic scraper and scrape her off.

You can use mineral spirits to clean off the wood at this point or just allow it to thoroughly dry for about 24 hours. I like using mineral spirits but you wanna be careful because if you’re going to utilize a water based finish (like most pre-cat lacquers), the mineral spirits will cause it to bubble. If you use them anyway, just make sure to thoroughly wipe them off and then let it dry for at least 24 hours for safety.

Using your random orbit sander, give it a few light passes with minimum 150 grit (ideally higher and be patient). If it’s veneer, you should really hand sand it because you can easily oversand veneer. At the very least, never press down on your sander. Just let the machine do its job and keep it moving. Use your shop vac to remove any saw dust. Don’t wipe it again with mineral spirits or try to dry dust it, which will just throw the particles in the air to land on your piece again, likely at the worst moment. If you need to fix any chips in the veneer, do it now before we tone.

From here, you just need to follow the instructions on the can(s) of Mohawk Toner (obviously find the right color for the type of wood you’re working with using our tried and true method of reverse image search or crowdsource your local MCM restoration FB group) and then finish with Mohawk Pre-Catalyzed Lacquer. I’m pushing Mohawk partly because it’s never failed me and partly because it’s what Bob Kennedy recommends and I never question him. I do know you want to use that particular lacquer because you can buy it in a spray can. It’s as close as you can get to what the original manufacturer would have used without buying expensive spraying equipment. It dries super fast which is nice because you’re gonna wanna sand it with fine grit sandpaper and wipe it with a tack cloth between coats. I don’t think I should have to say this, but unless you have an industrial sized exhaust fan in your workspace, do it outside.

Let’s Wrap This Shit Up

Ok, it’s check in time. How do we feel? Do you need a beer? I sure do.

Anyway, furniture repair, like a lot of things worth doing, is a frustrating process and you can read about it all you want (and should before you tackle a big project with a nice piece of furniture) but to really learn, you gotta do it and figure out what works for you. Emile Zola put it better than my dropout, burnout ass ever could: “There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman.” You gotta practice and you will make some mistakes. Learn from them. That’s what free piles are for!

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