Remodeling furniture info

 

In practically every attic or basement you can find pieces of furniture in good condition but which are never used because of their design. This heavy, over-elaborate furniture that was made half a century or so ago does not fit in with modern home decorating. Much of it, however, is well constructed, and made of good materials. It is often possible to remodel furniture of this sort, strip off much of the machine carving, and give it a light finish, with the result that it may be used in good taste. Often, the basic design is good; altering the shape of legs or decoration will do much.

When dismantling a piece of old furniture first remove as much of the old finish as you can. By doing this you make it easier to find screws or nails that hold the joints together. With most of the old finish out of the way you can go to work on the portions of the piece you want to eliminate. Joints which are held together with glue can be opened by steaming or soaking the glue with water. Screws and nails holding two pieces of wood together are sometimes hard to find because the heads have been sunk below the surface of the wood, and the holes then filled with putty or even wood plugs. Where a nail is set below the surface the two pieces of wood should be pried apart gently so that the wood will not be split.

One type of fastening that is very hard to find is the blind dowel. Here a hole is drilled part way through each of the two pieces of wood that are to be joined. A length of dowel is glued and set in one of the holes; glue is applied to the portion of the dowel above the surface and the second piece of wood is set down so that the dowel goes into the hole drilled for it. The dowel, naturally, cannot be seen and the two pieces of wood cannot be taken apart unless the glue is softened with steam or water.

Any of the machine carving which cannot be removed in sections can be dealt with by planing or with a chisel.

When you have removed all the woodwork necessary, check the rest of the joints to see if any need re-gluing. Attend to these and then give the entire piece a good sanding to remove the remainder of the finish and to smooth out areas that might have been damaged during dismantling.

 

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