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.