Refinishing Used Furniture Tips

These refinishing used furniture tips will help you restore furniture in order to sell it on the market.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
January/February 1978
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These refinishing used furniture tips can help make you a healthy profit.
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Learn about these refinishing used furniture tips and how refinishing used furniture will help improve the sale price of your item.

Refinishing Used Furniture Tips

Oftentimes in your search for good used furniture you'll encounter a strikingly beautiful chest, rocking chair, or other item that could be even more strikingly beautiful if the object weren't painted algae green or mud brown. When this happens, don't pass the piece up . . . instead, buy it and refinish it. Afterwards, you'll have an item that's much more valuable — and much more marketable — than it would otherwise have been.

It's not difficult to refinish furniture. Here's what you'll need in the way of supplies:

[1] A couple of paint brushes.

[2] Light-bodied furniture stripper.

[3] No. 2 steel wool and cotton rags.

[4] Small tools (toothpicks, nail files, etc.) for working the paint out of deep crevices in the wood.

[5] Furniture stain (optional).

[6] Varnish, wax, boiled linseed oil, or tung oil (as desired).

[7] A well-ventilated working area.

Follow the manufacturer's directions when you work with the stripper. Try to avoid breathing the fumes, and whatever you do, don't smoke or light a match . . . most light-bodied finish removers are exceedingly flammable.

After you've removed the old finish from the chest, chair, or whatever, it's time to put on a new preservative. I prefer boiled linseed oil, since it [1] can be applied easily with a soft cloth, [2] keeps wood from drying out, and [3] brings out the true beauty of the grain. (Also, linseed oil has a non-toxic and — in my opinion — pleasing odor.) The oil's only drawback is that it takes a long time to dry . . . two or three days, depending on temperature and humidity. Apply two to three coats for a nice, uniform finish, and allow the object to dry completely between coats.

After you've stripped and refinished a couple of pieces of furniture, you'll have gotten the hang of the operation . . . and you'll be well on your way to earning higher profits in the used furniture biz.

Read more about the used furniture business: I Make Big Profits Buying and Selling Used Furniture.

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