DIY furniture restoration is incredibly popular these days. More and more people are seeing the value of restoring old tables and chairs vs completely throwing them out.
A leg falling off or an old scuffed and water-stained table is no longer an indication that something has come to the end of its usefulness and must go. Plenty of people take great pride in upcycling things that have become a little bit dated.
An important part of upcycling is repairing the damage that has occurred over the years. Here are a couple of expert tips on how to repair old chairs and desks that have endured regular wear and tear.
1. Repairing a Wobbly Chair
One of the most common frustrations in any home is the dreaded wobbly chair. There are few things more frustrating. You can fix this pretty easily by adding chair glides, or furniture feet to the leg.
If that doesn’t fix the issue and the entire leg is loose and wobbly, you’ll need to do a little bit more. Try to tighten the legs by twisting and screwing them in a little.
With age and being moved around, legs tend to wriggle loose. If tightening the leg doesn’t work, you’ll need to resort to more extreme measures.
This method works best on square-legged chairs. Add a right-angled corner brace to the leg and base of the seat. If you plan on painting the chair, don’t worry, you can usually paint over it.
If you have a round leg that is wobbly, try removing it completely and gluing it back in place with wood glue. This should solve the problem.
There are plenty of products out there that claim to be good for treating scratches, but unless you know what you’re doing, getting the right color match of varnish requires a lot of trial and error and could potentially leave your furniture looking worse than when you started.
Yes, there are tons of colors out there, but therein lies the problem. To avoid issues like this, give your scratched furniture a quick sand with some sandpaper (or not) and treat the scratches with a coat of finishing wax.
Take care to buff it into the damaged areas, smoothing out the surface, and then apply a thin coat to the rest of the table to make it look even.
3. Fixing Broken Desk Drawers
A lot of drawers are made of thin, flimsy pieces of board. Desk drawers are known for weakening with use and coming apart. Drawers can be an easy fix, but this isn’t always the case.
If you find that the base or a side is coming loose, you can hammer a few extra nails in and fix it up in no time. However, if the wood is too thin to nail, and cracks, you’ll need to use some wood glue.
Remove the drawer from the desks. take any nails out from the affected area and sand away wood glue residue if there is any. A lack of glue explains your problem in the first place. Apply glue to the edges where the pieces attach and clamp until dry.
4. The Veneer Problem
Veneers have made it so that anyone can have the appearance of a luxurious wood finish in their home at a fraction of the cost. In fact, a lot of wooden furniture in people’s homes has a veneer finish. Tables, desks, and more often have them.
As time passes and pieces of furniture age, a veneer can come loose from the wood below and start to chip off. When this happens, try to gently clean out any debris under the surface and resecure it with some wood glue.
You can use a syringe to squirt it into smaller spaces and then keep pressure on it until the glue has dried. You can put something heavy on it to keep it weighed down.
For missing veneer chips, use a little bit of wood filler and fill in the spot. Make sure that the filler can be painted or stained so that it doesn’t stand out if you stain or paint the table.
If the veneer is beyond saving, you can remove it. There’s no shame in not being able to save it and replacing it with a different piece.
5. Deep Surface Damage
If you have a desk with deep surface damage caused by liquid or burning, chances are that you can’t buff it out with some sandpaper or some wax.
To do it right, you’ll have to refinish it. You’ll have to strip the current finish, sand the surface and then apply a new finish of your choice. It is quite time-consuming, but very satisfying once it’s finished.
Alternatively, you could just paint it. Make sure that you’re using paint that isn’t reactive with the current finish. We still recommend removing the current finish and then painting it.
6. Fixing an Uneven Desk
Just like a chair, desk and table legs don’t always behave the way we want them to. Sometimes you have a leg on a
desk that is a little bit shorter than the others, or maybe your floor is uneven, causing your desk to rock.
This is pretty easy to fix. While you can’t fix the leveling of your floors without entirely redoing them, you can make temporary adjustments to the feet of your desk.
Just like you would a chair, you can easily apply glides to the bottom of the leg getting rid of the unevenness. You’ll need to be sure to measure correctly though.
If you attach the incorrect size to the base of the foot you’ll just have one leg longer than the rest, which is just as annoying as one that is shorter than the rest.
When it comes to old, worn furniture, you don’t have to toss it out or donate it. You can give things new life and fix them up. We hope that this inspired you to tackle a few fixer-uppers around your home and that you fall in love with a few of those older pieces again.