Those who work with older furniture usually tend to say these two words most often “refinish” and “restoring” and these terms can sometimes be used interchangeably. But the truth is that they are two distinctly different things. Refinishing is a part of the restoration process, but undergoing a full restoration can be a much more involved process.
Refinishing is what many people think of when they get an older piece of furniture that needs refreshing. It essentially means to remove any damaged, failing or ugly finishing. This can be paint, shellac or polyurethane, and then applying something different. Furniture refinishing is able to transform natural wood into something finished, it can take a painted piece to a more natural state and it can make a piece of oak wood look like ebony. Refinishing can include updating any hardware, or making some minor cosmetic furniture repairs like filling in dents, or sanding them out.
Restoring a piece of furniture can mean a whole lot of work. Restored furniture is brought back to its original state through furniture repair, replacements and refinishing. This could mean that you need to get a replacement leg to replace it’s broken one, or needing to hunt down some rare parts like drawer pulls, or gluing on some veneer to replace missing sheets.
On extremely old or pieces that have a lot of wear and tear, it can take months of work to restore. The reward is generally well worth it, since you will end up with a piece of furniture that can be an heirloom and passed down for generations. Sometimes when antiques are restored they can increase their value.
One of the key components of preserving the value of refinished or restored antiques is to stick with all of the same techniques and materials that the original craftsman used. This means using pigment stains and linseed oil or shellac instead of using all in one finished or polyurethane. Or using hide glue instead of epoxy. This also means getting an experienced professional to help hand carve appliques, or it can mean that you spend countless hours creating a specialized finish like a french polish.
One of the general rules when restoring a valuable piece is to do as little as you possibly can to achieve the results that you want. Some items will look a million times better after a good cleaning to remove wax, dust and other detritus that has built up over the years. Old finishes that have begun cracking or discoloured can be saved using many different techniques. When materials need to get replaced, remember to replace it with the same thing. If a missing drawer is made from oak, then make the replacement drawer out of oak as well.
JENSO Upholstering specializes in furniture refinishing and repairs, and we take our craft very seriously, so you will always get quality results. Whether you need sofa upholstery or are searching for reupholstery services near me, we can help, so give us a call today!