Revamp secondhand furniture

Finding secondhand furniture that requires some TLC can be one of the most rewarding projects you can do. Not only do you pick up affordable bargains, but you also get new pieces for a home at the fraction of what it would cost to buy new.




Pine is one of the most common types of wood you will come across when buying furniture and I am sure there are many of you out there who have at least one item of pine furniture in your homes. The only problem with pine is that most people tend to pile on layers of varnish, and when it gets chipped and scratched it just starts to look awful.

We took a very ordinary chest of drawers and gave it a revamp.

The chest of drawers has taken more than its fair share of knocks and bumps. The surface is badly scratched, some of the pieces have comes loose and one drawer is missing. But with patience and TLC it didn't take much to revamp into a useful piece of furniture once more.



Remove all the handles or hardware before you start. In most instances you will want to replace these with more modern fittings anyway.




Whether you are removing layers of varnish or paint, getting rid of stain, or repairing the finish of a piece, using various grits of sandpaper will do the job.

  • Removing layers of paint or varnish requires a rough grit, and for this you will use 60- or 80-grit sandpaper.
  • Where these is quite a bit of damage you will need to sand with 120-grit sandpaper to remove as much of the damage as possible.
  • If a piece is still in excellent condition and you only needs a coat or two of paint, a light sanding with 180-grit sandpaper is all that is required.

Make life easier by using an orbital sander or random orbital sander to do all the hard word. If you plan on restoring furniture as a hobby, or like making your own furniture, investing in a quality sander is money well spent.



Wood glue

Where pieces have come loose and you are unable to tighten them back in place, wood glue comes in handy. Ponal wood glue has a convenient nozzle that allows you to squeeze glue into tight places.

Wherever possible, clamp the glued sections together overnight to ensure a secure bond.




Wood filler

Before using wood filler to fill in cracks or dents, wipe down with a rag and some mineral turpentine. This cleans away any dust and also prevents the wood from sucking moisture out of the wood filler and causing it to dry too quickly, which results in cracking.

  • Fill dents and scratches with only enough wood filler to cover up. It isn't necessary to apply big heaps of wood filler - just enough to fill the hole and sit slightly on top of the surface. If you apply too much wood filler in one go chances are it will crack as it dries.
  • Let wood filler dry before sanding smooth with 180- or 240-grit sandpaper.
  • Larger dents can be repaired with Alcolin QuikWood. This is an epoxy-based filler that sets rock hard and must be sanded smooth with 120-grit and then 240-grit sandpaper.





After sanding it isn't always easy to see any uneven spots, so apply one coat of paint, let this dry, and you will easily see any areas that require more attention. You can still sand the finish and add more wood filler before painting to finish.



We used Rust-Oleum Gloss Protective Enamel spray in white for this project, because the chest of drawers is going back into use and this paint is extremely durable and will protect against scratches and bumps. If you won't want to use spray paint, you can apply Plascon water-based Velvaglo using a paintbrush and foam roller combination, or use a Bosch PFS spray system to apply Plascon Double Velvet.




Stock up on the supplies you need at your local Builders or hardware store and have fun turning furniture destined for the scrap heap, or bargain finds, into wonderful new pieces of furniture for the home.




Janice Anderssen


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