When you are refinishing furniture, sometimes the furniture has decorative trim that needs to be removed. This video will demonstrate how to do this successfully.
This particular piece of furniture featured in the video was stripped by another company. The person became ill and was not able to finish the job. You will see the importance in removing the trim and making sure that you do a thorough job stripping and sanding your piece.
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Mark has a new project planned. He is going to cut the door in the picture below, refinish it and make a one of a kind Mirror. It will be in my new store by Xmas!!!!! Love it! Stay tuned for more news on the store. We are starting renovations right away and hope to be open sometime in late October early November.
Before and after pictures. Customer just wanted the top of the table refinished. All finished and ready for him to pick up today. We love doing the reveal for the customer and seeing their faces when their furniture is unveiled.
Picture of a spindle bed that Mark refinished. First pic is work in progress.
This is the bed finished and ready for pick up today. The customer was very happy with the final results.
Mark repaired a chair that was badly broken. Can you see the break on the repaired picture?
The snow has gone, the grass has riz, I wonder where all the birdies is! This is a rhyme my marketing teacher in high school said one day at the end of the winter while looking out the classroom window. I don’t know where he came up with it, but it made me laugh and have never forgotten. Every time someone mentions that spring is in the air; the rhyme immediately comes to mind.
The second thing that comes to mind is all the Auctions and yard sales where you can pick up some pretty good deals. One thing I’m very careful of is painted furniture because of the cost of refinishing. Refinishing can be expensive if you want to bring the piece back to bare wood. Paint hides many imperfections and can be disappointing to many.
There are things you should check before making the purchase such as; how thick is the paint, are there several coats? Check for cracks especially on the seats. Do all the legs match? Are you dealing with oil base or latex paint? This may not seem like a big deal, but it will be if you decide to take the new purchase to a professional refinisher like myself. When I see someone come in with a piece to inquire about the cost of refinishing, I immediately think of my costs to do the job. The cost of the stripper and the sand paper glue, stain, the dismantling of the chair and of course, all the hidden repairs; most of the time it just isn’t feasible to do the work unless the chair itself has some significant value. When I give the price, the customer will usually tell me they only paid five dollars for it at the local yard sale or auction. My next approach is to suggest the customer do it themselves and have no problem educating them on exactly how to do that.
I will take a moment to give some idea of a rough cost to do it yourself. The best over the counter stripper is Circa 1850 at about a cost of fifteen dollars a small can, but trust me one can will not do it so plan to spend thirty dollars or more. You will need a bottle of paint thinner for cleaning purposes. I’m not sure of that cost but would guess around ten dollars. You will also need two roles of sand paper, 150 and 100 grit at a cost of about fifteen dollars and don’t forget the wood glue, so let’s add another ten dollars. That great deal at the yard sale isn’t so much of a good deal anymore and you have yet to put the hours it’s going to take to do the work. However, if you enjoy doing the work and you love the piece of furniture and you have the ability, the cost may not be such a big deal.
There is another cheaper way though that will cut out most of the work and some of the cost if you like painted furniture. If you’re buying an older piece then I can almost guarantee it will be coated in an oil base paint. Oil base paint in the very near future will be a thing of the past, so use a latex one hundred percent acrylic paint. Rule number one is never put latex over oil, it will not last! The paint store will tell you it will but trust me, your wasting your time! You can buy a primer that is referred to as conversion paint. ICI sells a product called Gripper; Para sells a primer called Super stick. Most paint companies sell conversion primers. My suggestion would be to use B.I.N because you can buy it from any hardware store and it works. Sand the furniture just to scratch it up so the primer will adhere. It’s always best to put on two coats. Let the primer dry completely by following the instructions on the can and then apply your latex paint. Your paint store usually will sell a paint that is formulated for furniture use. Before you pay full pop for the paint ask if they have any miss tints available. Miss tints are paints that were mixed the wrong colour and go in a pile with the rest of the miss tints. You may luck in and find a colour you like at about 25% of the cost.
The good thing about buying painted furniture is sometimes you can find a real gem just because what’s hidden under the paint. It could be that under the paint is a very expensive wood that would look great once it is stripped. If you’re looking at a chair for example, look under the seat, which most likely is bare wood and you may be able to determine the type of wood. It could be Oak, Ash, Walnut etc. On cabinets open the doors and look inside because there is bare wood somewhere. I’m never afraid to buy painted furniture depending on the wood.
So next time you’re out on the hunt consider what you have just learned in this article and shop wisely. Thinking that you just got a cheap chair or cabinet may be very disappointing if you take it to a professional refinisher. Don’t be surprised if the refinisher is not too excited to do the work for the simple reason of the cost to the refinisher and of course, most importantly the cost to the customer. If you’re willing to take on the task yourself then it may not be such an issue and the work can be very rewarding. There’s nothing like making something old look new again.
Antique furniture refinishers generally use a commercial stripper, but you can find a good stripper locally!
So I was working on a set of six chairs from a 1930's dining room table when the customer called and requested to view these before a stain was picked. It's common for this to happen and to me, it's just a feather in my cap to let the customer see how clean and sturdy their chairs have become. What I didn't know was that my sixth chair was only half finished and the customer would be here at noon. I tell one of my staff, Ryan, to stop what you're doing and jump in the truck and go to the local hardware store and pick me up a stripper. Ryan looks at me a little cross eyed but doesn't question as he was well aware he was to come in Saturday to finish the stripping. An hour later, no Ryan. I can see the hardware store from the shop so what's taking so long? Ten minutes later I get a call from the store manager and he tells me that Ryan is outside the store asking customers if they know where he could get a good stripper. One of the girls he asked was a local painter that I know well. She stopped at the shop to have a bit of a laugh. Playing around with the new guy eh Marco! The local painter was wearing clothes full of paint and to Ryan it made sense to ask her and she probably looked familiar to him as I had completed some painted furniture for her not long ago and she had frequented the shop. I asked, so what did you tell him? Well I told him that I used to strip often but it just didn't make sense anymore since you guys have opened and that his boss was very familiar with all the local strippers. He was afraid to call you so he then went in the store and I observed and listened to him ask another girl if she knew where he could find a good stripper cheap and this was his first time doing this. This girl yelled for the manager, then I watched the manager call and ask for you.
Now, that I have your attention!! You can buy furniture strippers from your local hardware stores but don't waste your money trying to figure out which one. In my opinion the Circa 1850 is the strongest and most effective over the counter furniture stripper. The formula allows the removal of old finishes like paint, urethane's and lacquer. It comes in two forms, one being a liquid and the other a paste. One will work on horizontal surfaces the other on vertical surfaces. I believe the paste is a heavy body remover, able to remove several coats of paint. You can buy it in a small can just under a litre or a 3.78 litre can. The small can is around $15 dollars and the larger can is $32 to $45 dollars. Do the math and this can be important because a small can is not enough to do a chair. If you end up buying the small can to save money you're actually going to spend more. So unless you're doing a small item you would be wise to buy the larger can. Make no mistake, all strippers are very dangerous to your health and usually full of carcinogens. Have lots of ventilation and if possible do your stripping outside, but still wear a good mask. The fumes will rise from your work directly into the air you are breathing. Wear rubber gloves, and protective eye wear and a long sleeve shirt. Stripper will burn the moment it hits your skin and can only be neutralized by water, so have some water ready and available. If you're doing this inside, set up some fans so you're bringing fresh air in and blowing the old air out. Strippers dry by evaporation if you don't have fresh air you will certainly be breathing in some very toxic chemicals. Don't let this scare you though and to make it easy just work outside but take the same precautions you would if you were in a closed room and be sure to wear a mask. You can try the other strippers but you will waste money as many of them do not work and they can be very expensive. You can also try the non-toxic, non-chemical type environmentally safe strippers but trust me it's a waste of time and money.
My biggest suggestion though is not to go outside your local hardware store and ask the local ladies if they know of a good stripper. Circa 1850 has been around since I was a young kid and has stood the test of time. This would be my no nonsense recommendation and a proven product. If you require any further information just drop me a line and I would be happy to help you out!
So you're hooked on all the new TV programs like auction King and the pawn shows, American Restoration and the Canadian and American pickers. Just to name a few, cause they just keep coming! I know you have thought about the auctions but going is somewhere down on the wish list. Why does it stay in the back of your mind and why aren't you at the auction? I know why and I don't blame you it can be scary if you haven't been before. Not to worry it can be a blast! It can be one of the most entertaining experiences and that's why people get hooked. This article is for the first timers and hopefully what I have to say will open the door to your first auction.
Many of my friends know I like to go to the auctions and always ask if they can go. I question as to why they have never been and the answer is always the same. " I wouldn't have a clue what to do". Then they say, but I love the auctions! I was the same way so this is what I did. I went to my first auction by myself and just watched the goings on. I didn't have a clue, but I had lots of fun anyway! To make it easy for you I will try to explain what happens and what you should know to make yourself more comfortable. It doesn't matter what you do in life, preparation can relieve much of your stress.
Auctions have a time slot before the auction so you can go and take a look at the inventory. My advise is make sure you do this. You cannot return anything you buy at an auction. Look for cracks , broken articles and most items have something written on them somewhere that will give you a little history. Have a pen and paper and write down what you are interested in and make note of it's condition. If you're into collectibles like maybe Coca Cola, check to see if the piece is a replica. What is great today is the simplicity of reaching your phone accessing the internet and researching anything which can be a bonus if you have the time. So you have had a good look around and you're wondering what to do next. Take a good look around the room and figure out where the auctioneer is going to be. You're early so grab a seat. You can stand if you want, that's up to you. If it's your first auction, I suggest sitting as it can be a long night and you will get tired. Sit where the auctioneer can see you. This is important if you want the auctioneer to see your bid if you decide to do so. You will see signs at the auction that will say no seats reserved. If you follow that rule you will end up standing and the only one to follow the rule. Put your coat over the chair and make your way up to the reception area and get your auction number. If you want to bid you have to have a number. It doesn't mean you have to make a bid, but if you do and win the bid, the auctioneers helper will need to write it down, so when you leave the auction they know what item you got and the cost. Make sure you write down what you bought and for how much on the back of the card they gave you which displays your auction number.
If you look around somewhere you will find an area where you can buy a hot dog, burger, fries and maybe some pie! Most auctions, on Friday nights anyway, is usually around supper time if you want to go to the viewing first. Skip supper and go early and eat at the auction would be my advise. Have a seat and eat your burger and relax and become familiar with your surroundings. Watch all the different characters and have yourself a good laugh. The auction is starting in ten minutes! This may sound trivial but trust me you just had a coke and in about and hour it's going to want to leave you just when your item of interest just comes up. If you brought someone with you, which is a good idea, go to the bathroom in turns so you don't leave your seats up for grabs. To my experience it's the only time the seat rule comes into affect. You come back to your seat and someone is sitting on your coat. They will remind you of the rule while they place their coat on the seat beside them to save it for their spouse. It's part of the auction game so make sure you take note to stay in the game. If you saw some smaller items while viewing and you're planning on bidding on them, make sure you do this first! Somewhere in the auction will be a place where you can pick out a few boxes. I suggest you do this or it will remind you of the last time you were at the Dollaramma and thought you didn't need a basket and now you find yourself juggling to the cashier. Again make sure someone stays at your seats.
So the auctioneer has just appeared and people will start making there way to their seats. The auctioneer will probably say a few words about the auction and where the articles came from and try to quiet the rooms and prepare his or her audience for the sale. You will be surprised at how many people are around you and wondering who they could be. Well, there's your local used furniture store owner and a group of antique dealers, and what seems to be a whole farm convention and of course all the regulars. The regulars just simply enjoy the auction atmosphere, the pie, and a Friday night visit with their neighbors and the group the auctioneer usually gets frustrated with because of the noise level. There's always a good nose level and it doesn't matter how much the auctioneer screams, the level stays the same. You have to stay focused. Kind of like doing a math test while sitting in a chicken coop.
Ok, the auction has started and it's your first time and you're nervous to make a bid, what to do? Do nothing just sit watch and enjoy and see how it works. Treat it like a educational seminar. It doesn't take long before you begin to see how it works, how to bid and how to behave.
When you were looking around prior to the auction you saw something you really liked and you can see that it is coming up soon. Here's your chance! Decide how much it is worth to you. That's it nothing else! If you see a coke tin for example and you decide to bid on it. Decide what you will pay, this is important. Hold up your card with the number on it, the one you got earlier from the receptionist. Make sure the auctioneer can see you. When you're first starting out make sure you don't go over that number. It doesn't matter if you win the bid or not because you have just gone through the experience and the next time will be just around the corner, trust me your hooked!
You will often hear people at the auction say wow there is a lot of dealers here! Ignore it! At this stage it's all for fun and who cares really. You have to remember that it is a business for them. They have to make money on everything they buy so paying too much for something is out of the question most of the time. The used furniture store owner is the same, they have to make money from the items also. These people will stand out to you quickly, don't be concerned. Don't let them stop you from bidding, they will only go after the item as long as they can make money from it. Remember you have already decided what you would pay and you're not going over that number anyway. It's your first auction and you have more information now so just go with the flow.
When you have decided you have had enough, simply get up and walk over to the reception area and pay for your items and yes they are taxed. During the auction you will see someone walk up to the auctioneers table and grab a sheet of paper and walk it to the reception area. This sheet contains the articles that have been purchased and the number they belong to. If you just bought something and decided to leave the sheet may have not made it to the cashier yet so keep that in mind. Add up your articles before going to the cashier. You should have written this down on your number card. Mistakes are made so check your numbers.
I hope I have given you enough information to allow you to make the next step and look forward to seeing you at the next auction. In the future I will write an article on how to make money at the auction once you have had a chance to try it out. Hopefully the next thing you will hear is SOLD to No# ....
So you're a little wiser and this is what you should remember.
It's your first time and there is no obligation to buy anything. Only take the money with you that you can afford to spend. This is a very simple way of controlling your spending. Go early and make sure you get a good look at the items and if you don't you could be very disappointed. Grab a bidding card and a pen to make notes on the back of the card. It's nice to know what you have spent before you go up to pay. Get a good seat, if not you will have to stand with the late comers and may find it hard to see or bid. Remember the seating rule then ignore it. Find where they keep the boxes which will usually have a pile of news papers near by. Take some they are great for packing. Just set the box under your seat. Find the bathroom and do your business now or you can wait until your item comes up, that's always fun. Try to make eye contact with the auctioneer before things start. He or she will recognize you as new and you're now noticed. They will now see you when your card is held high. Most of all have fun and the whole experience can be cheaper than date night! Hope to see you there!!
So you have a piece you value and want to make it brand new and functional. It’s time to call the refinisher. What are you going to ask and what should you know? Well first of all you should know that the refinisher will be happy to answer your questions and educate the client. Let’s take a dining room set as this seems to be what I have been doing most recently as well as re-purposing. The first thing that comes to mind when asked about a dining room set is the amount of time it will take, the second thought is the type of wood and the age. Next the refinisher is going to want to hear that it has been past down in the family and will be passed down again. The truth is, for me anyways, if I don’t detect there is some value in the piece, and like I said before value isn’t always monetary, the likely hood of me wanting to do the piece is slim. I’m going to ask you how many chairs there are and the condition of the same. I’m going to want to know how many leafs there are. Is it solid wood or veneer? Have you noticed any detectible repairs? How big is the set? Is there a side board or china cabinet? What is it you want to have done? Is there a custom colour? What is your timeline? Can you deliver or do you want it picked up? The answers to these questions will help determine the price. Having the answers to these questions needs some thought prior to calling the refinisher simply because these questions will always be asked of you.
When I do a dining room set I price according to how I do the work. I never compare myself to the work or price of someone else. The first thing I do is dismantle everything. The chairs all come apart as does the table and all cabinets. Each piece is stripped by hand, sanded and repaired by hand. When it goes back together every inch has been detailed and better than new. Everything is refitted, re-glued and the structure is solid. I say it all the time "this came out better than new" and I live by that standard. The finish coats I use are proven and usually picked for the environment the piece will serve. Protecting the work is important.
So this should give you some idea of the things you should consider before having the work done. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions or getting a quote. It doesn’t mean you have to have the work done today, but it is important to educate yourself as custom work of any sort is an investment.
So you have an heirloom or you just purchased an auction find that cries for refinishing. You see the value and are excited about the thought of having your new piece made brand new and functional. You’re a designer and have found a piece that a customer would love but they are picky and have a vision. Finding a refinisher in your area may be a little difficult so do your home work. Technology is a wonderful thing and today most restoration companies have web sites and love to show their work. You can contact these people through these web sites and usually can get a rough quote on line. I know you own a cell phone and most now have cameras. Take a pic and send it to the refinisher because chances are this person is now doing a similar piece or just finished one and the cost to do them is readily available. If you’re shy and don’t feel comfortable visiting the shop then most of the info you need to make a decision is usually on the site or gained through conversation. Due diligence, do your home work folks before deciding who you will have refinishing your valuables. There is nothing wrong with asking for a reference. Ask for a reference for my work and I know I have the job it’s really that simple. If your refinishing specialist is not eager and confident then move on. If you have a chance to visit the shop then do so. I can bet there will be a piece on the table being restored and this will give you a better picture of the level of work being done and the skill of the refinisher. The price involves time and materials. Materials are usually minimal, it’s the labour that’s involved that drives the price of the job. Most of the work is done by hand rather than machine and there is a cost to this for sure and there is no way to hide it. It’s just very simple if you don’t see the value in the piece, and value isn’t always monetary, then just don’t get it done. If I don’t detect the customer’s eagerness to have the piece done then I’m doing it for the wrong reason, the same as the customer and would just decline. Get more than one price or opinion before making a decision and this is much easier than you think with today’s technology. I love when I am contacted by a customer who has done their homework and have a general idea of the cost and some understanding of the scope of work.
It makes for a great relationship when someone is eager to have work done and the refinisher is just as eager to show off their skill, so click away on your phone cam and email or text me a pic of your piece, it’s just that simple!
All around good guy. Down to earth and great sense of humour. A perfectionist, meticulous, taking pride in the work completed on each piece of furniture.