Handmade wooden tables are a treasure we all try to take good care of. When you first get yours, you slowly run your hands over the beautiful, smooth finish and vow to never in a million years let it get damaged or scratched. But alas… life happens.
Wooden dining tables are made to eat off. Knives, forks, hot plates, serving dishes, wine glasses, wine– you know what I’m talking about. One customer called in distress because her grand daughter got into her nail polish and spilled it all over the new table top. Oops.
Well, as a rule there’s no need to panic. These things happen and they can be dealt with. The first thing to do is determine what type of finish is on your table. At Vermont Woods Studios we work with many different independent craftspeople throughout Vermont but their finishes all fall into these 3 categories:
Each piece of furniture comes with information about the finish and what to do if it gets damaged. My favorite trick though, and it works with all 3 of these finishes (for minor scratching) is the Tibet Almond Stick. which you can buy for $5 at your local hardware store or Rockler. You just open the little red tin can, peel off the wax paper and rub the oil-soaked felt tip of the stick along the scratch. Voila! It works for any type of wood, provided it’s not stained a dark color that’s very different from the real wood color.
Or if you happen to have a walnut handy, you could try rubbing that along the scratches. Our friends at Apartment Therapy swear by walnut — a similar but more natural approach.
Stay tuned for tips on repairing more serious damage (like nail polish spills) to wooden furniture in future posts. Have tricks of your own? Share them with us on Facebook!
Hurricane Irene is just starting to bear down on us here in southeastern Vermont. Even in these early stages, I can't remember another storm that brought so much rain. At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture, as we brace for the predicted power outage and flooding, I'm still able to watch the news and it's heartbreaking to see all the devastation south of us.
I'm remembering a publication put out by Dr. Wilma Hammett and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service titled, "Flood Damaged Wood Furniture" that I thought might be helpful in the coming weeks.
The good news is that solid wood furniture can usually be restored unless the piece was in water for several days to a week and the damage is severe. The trick is to clean and dry it as soon as possible. The Fact Sheet cautions not to dry furniture in the sun though, as if it's dried too quickly and unevenly it will warp, twist and crack. It may take several weeks or months to dry the furniture and make it ready for repair and refinishing.
A few other tips:
Use a hose to clean off mud and dirt inside and out
Remove drawers, doors and back panels if possible, although if they are stuck, don't force them
Mineral spirits can be used to remove mold and mildew
White spots of a cloudy film on the finish can be treated with turpentine or household ammonia
Try to preserve the original finish of antiques- restoration is preferable to refinishing
With a little research and luck, you may be able to take care of minor salvage and repairs yourself, but extensive damage should be left to an experienced furniture doctor or cabinet maker.
If your furniture is just too far gone and you find that salvage and repair are not an option, give us a call. We'll be offering a 15% furniture discount to flood and hurricane victims over the next month. Check with your insurance company. Often customers are able to fully cover the cost of replacement furniture with insurance claims. For now… hunker down with us and we'll all hope for the best.