Imagine going over to your favorite flea market or weekend bazaar and finding a diamond in the rough hidden in a furniture stand! The first thought of most would be that this is an opportunity to find something really good at a bargain price, albeit needing some love and effort in restoring it. Whenever you find a piece of wooden furniture like this, it’s so tempting to immediately fork out the cash and drive home to get started on the process of restoration. There are many times though wherein we don’t really examine the furniture well enough to see how much work would be needed in bringing them back to peak condition. Here are a few things which could help you decide whether buying that piece of wood furniture would be worth it or not after all.
The first and most important thing to look for is the age of the furniture piece. The older the wooden furniture is, the higher quality its build would be. Specifically, the magical years are 1950 and 1960, and anything between these or before 1950 would be considered of really good quality. Another reason aside from age is that after this time period, particle boards and laminate surfaces began cutting corners, especially in production costs. This took quite a heavy toll on the quality and longevity of wood furniture, and thus, should be avoided.
Painting Things Over
Another rule to remember is to avoid any furniture which is painted over. There usually is a reason why wood, of all materials, would have a layer of paint covering it, and it usually isn’t for the best. Paint can hide many defects present including burns, discolorations, water stains, and even filled holes. Once you strip away the paint, you might not see the real truth of the furniture you bought, and you can’t really do this unless you buy it already. It would even be better to find something with even old varnish on it, as you can usually see through the varnish layer and wouldn’t have any unexpected surprises once you take it off.
The next thing you need to do is to check the stability and strength of the furniture through what is called the “rickety test”. It’s quite simple – place both of your hands on the piece of furniture and rock it back and forth in several places. If it is a cabinet or a piece with sliding compartments, move the drawers back and forth several times. Through this testing, you can have a general idea of whether the piece is really sturdy and solid, or if you would need to re-glue several parts of it together. You should keep in mind that gluing these back would add several hundred dollars to the overall cost of the furniture.
Restoring furniture isn’t an easy process at all, and you should be ready for a long and arduous road ahead if you want your piece to be back to its former glory. There are certain things you should take note of that could add to the level of difficulty towards refinishing the furniture you’re planning to purchase. If the piece is made from different parts, each one might need different applications. Also note if all the parts of the furniture are made from the same type of wood, as each type could need a different approach to it. Also look for any slats or spindles which are placed very close together, as these are quite laborious to attend to. Lastly, if the piece comes with any deeply carved or applied filigree, it is quite time-consuming to handle these places.
Any piece which looks to be a steal would also need a lot of attention and effort in order to restore it fully. These steps we’ve outlined for you would help you get that initial appraisal if whether something you’re eyeing would be worth it in the long run or not.