How to Restore Furniture

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Home Improvement

How to Fix Burns on Furniture

Burns on wooden furniture can vary from slight scorch marks to deep char. Cigarette burns are the most common type of burn. As long as the damage is only superficial and does not extensively affect the wood, it is possible to repair it.

Scorch marks left by cigarettes or cigars are usually the easiest to remove. Use a fine steel wool pad moistened with mineral spirits to buff the scorched area until the scorch disappears. Clean and then wax and polish the surface.

For more severe burns, remove the charred wood. Use a craft knife with a flat sharp edge to scrape away the charred wood, feathering out the edges. For deep burns, use a curved blade. Be careful not to scratch the wood with the knife. Lightly sand the edges of the groove or trench to level it with the surrounding surface. Press lightly into the groove with fine-grit sandpaper, removing only the char from the burned area. Be careful not to damage the surrounding finish. If you’re unsure whether all the burn has been removed, wet the sanded area. If water makes the burned area look burned again, you haven’t removed all the char.

For deep burns, the groove left after the char is removed will probably be quite noticeable. Level the groove with fine-grit sandpaper, staying close to the edges of the groove. If the depression isn’t too deep, try swelling the wood as detailed above for dents. If you’re left with a deep gouge, the burn area can be filled with wood plastic or a shellac stick. After smoothing out the burn, refinish the damaged area. Let the new finish dry for one or two days, and then lightly buff the patch with No. 0000 steel wool to blend the edges into the old finish. Finally, wax and polish the entire piece of furniture.

Veneer is a thin layer of wood attached with glue to a solid base and is particularly vulnerable to damage. In the next section, we’ll show you how to make various repairs to this surface.


1. What is furniture refinishing?

Furniture refinishing is the process of restoring old or worn-out furniture to its original beauty. This involves removing old finishes, sanding the wood, and applying new finishes to achieve a fresh look. Furniture refinishing can also involve repairing structural damage, such as broken legs or loose joints.

2. What tools and materials do I need for furniture refinishing?

You will need a variety of tools and materials for furniture refinishing, including sandpaper, paint stripper, wood filler, putty knife, stain, and varnish. You may also need a paintbrush, foam brush, rags, and a respirator mask to protect yourself from fumes.

3. How do I prepare the furniture for refinishing?

To prepare the furniture for refinishing, you will need to remove any old finishes using paint stripper and sandpaper. Once the old finish is removed, fill any cracks or holes with wood filler and sand the entire piece of furniture to ensure a smooth surface. Finally, clean the furniture with a cloth and some mineral spirits to remove any dust and debris.

4. How do I choose the right finish for my furniture?

The right finish for your furniture will depend on the look you want to achieve and the type of wood you are working with. Stains can enhance the natural color of the wood, while varnishes provide a protective coat. Consider the durability and maintenance required for each finish before making your choice.

5. How do I apply the finish to the furniture?

To apply the finish to the furniture, use a brush or foam brush to apply the stain or varnish in the direction of the grain. Be sure to apply the finish evenly and avoid drips or bubbles. Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying a second coat if needed.

6. How long does furniture refinishing take?

The duration of furniture refinishing will depend on the size of the piece and the amount of work required. Generally, the process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Allow enough time for each coat of finish to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

7. Can I refinish furniture myself or should I hire a professional?

You can refinish furniture yourself if you have the necessary tools and skills. However, if you are not experienced with furniture refinishing or have a valuable antique piece, it may be best to hire a professional to ensure the job is done correctly and without causing any damage to the furniture.

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