Living Furniture Facelift
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Do you have furniture that you love but it has seen better days? If so, there is a solution of giving the piece a facelift without having to buy new furniture. This project can turn a drab and tired piece of furniture into something beautiful and best of all, it is easier than you think and will save you money! To get started, you need to look at the furniture you want to recover. It may have some problems making the project impossible or difficult. Consider the following obstacles before you run out and buy material, stain, or paint:
  • Cracks in the Wood � You want to ensure the wood is in good condition. After all, just imagine going through the process of recovering only to sit on the furniture and have one of the cracks break.

  • Loose Joints � If the furniture has loose joints, use wood glue or even finishing nails to repair the joints before you start the facelift project.

  • Uneven Legs � This fix is simple by adding new legs or cutting/shaving off wood from the leg(s) that is uneven.

  • Warped Surfaces � Some furniture will warm because of moisture damage. Unfortunately, you cannot fix this problem but if you have a table with a warped top, you may have an option of removing the top and creating a new one.
Before you do anything, use the cotton ball test on the furniture. Simply take a cotton ball and apply some fingernail polish that has acetone. On an inconspicuous spot, rub the cotton ball. If it sticks or if the wood finish becomes soft, the finish has a shellac, lacquer, or varnish finish. This means that before you do anything, the surface will need to be stripped. If nothing happens, the surface is painted and you can use a poly/paint remover. To get started on the project, consider the following recommendations for stripping:

Depending on the type of finish you have discovered, the wood will need to be stripped. Choose the appropriate type and then with a brush, apply a coat. When the finish or paint begins to bubble, it is time to remove it. You can get an idea of the time involved for this step by referring to the directions on the type of stripper you choose.

Use a plastic putty knife and carefully scrape off the finish or paint. You want to be careful with this to avoid scratching or gouging the wood. Once the piece of furniture has been stripped, it will need to be washed off using a polyurethane or pain remover wash. This type of wash will help remove all residues, so the furniture is in good shape. Allow this wash to dry completely.

Next, you want to sand the surface using 120-150-grit sandpaper, moving the paper with the grain of the furniture to avoid scratches. Once done, wipe off the dust and then apply an oil-based stain that can be wiped on using a damp rag moistened with mineral spirits.

For the stain, follow the directions on the can. Use a natural bristle brush and again, work with the grain of the wood. Make sure your final stroke goes in the same direction of the grain and then allow the stain to penetrate the wood, again, following the can�s direction. Using a dry and clean rag, remove the excess stain going with the grain. If you want a look that is darker and richer, you can apply a second or third coat after the first coat has dried for about six hours.

Finally, you need to put a clear protective coat on top of the stain. Stir the clear finish in the can but do not shake it, as this will cause bubbles to form. With a clean natural brush, apply a thin coat. Allow to dry, lightly sand the dry finish using 220-grit sandpaper and then wipe off the dust. This produces a strong adhesion between the coats. Next, apply a second coat and then allow it to dry completely.

The result of such a project is that you have an amazing piece of furniture that looks brand new.
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