Vintage Fun

Have you ever looked at a piece with great bones, only to find rippled or missing veneer and decided it’s not salvageable?  This is a common problem that often lands otherwise beautiful furniture in the landfill, but it doesn’t have to! Repairing veneer damage on a solid piece is entirely possible with a little bit of prep work, a few tools, and some elbow grease.

 

These great dressers provide good examples of repairable veneer damage that almost left them both homeless.

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Wood veneer is quite common on vintage furniture; but what is it?  Wood veneer is a thin slice of real wood – often from a rare or otherwise expensive cut of wood with striking grain or coloration.   This is applied over a strong base of a solid, often less attractive species of wood that creates the structure of the furniture.  The wood veneer basically dresses up the structural bones of your furniture.

Below, you can see wood veneer that has been damaged over the years from moisture which has loosened it from it’s base and caused warping or rippling in the delicate wood covering. But all is not lost!  There are some beautiful, salvageable veneers on these dressers and the bones are healthy and solid!

 

 

Sometimes, a slightly lifted veneer layer can be re-adhered to the base with wood glue and a syringe; however this damage was beyond repair, so it needed to be removed: remember, there is a solid wood base under that thin damaged layer, so removing veneer will not harm the structural integrity of the furniture.

Since it is thin, wood veneer can be carefully scored with a razor to remove only the damaged portion (above). Next, a putty knife can be used to gently separate and lift the damaged wood from the base (below).

You definitely want to use gloves and safety glasses for this step to prevent splinters!

The area is then leveled up with wood filler and sanded smooth.

Once it’s smooth, the surface is ready for a finish coat.  I have not found a filler that takes stain well, so I plan on painting the patched areas.

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We decided Fusion’s  Midnight Blue was a good choice for these dressers as it would show off the wood and vintage handles well.   The exposed wood was cleaned with TSP Alternative and Mineral Spirits before being rejuvenated with Hemp Oil.

 

 And there you have it – salvaging gorgeous pieces by simply investing some time to remove and repair damaged veneer!

 Purchase this dresser!

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Dressing up a Plain Jane Dresser

This dresser is a great example of how Fusion stains can be used to rejuvenate a finish without stripping. This is the Prep stage of this dresser; it was washed and lightly scuff-sanded.  The top, however, had some pretty deep scratches.

For initial blending in of the coloration, we used one coat of Golden Pine Stain & Finishing Oil to soften some of the deeper discoloring.

Next: Double Espresso Gel Stain & Top Coat to the Rescue – first coat is still wet in the photo below.

This is basically a pigmented polyurethane, so it can go directly over an existing finish without sanding or stripping.  The pigmentation provides some opacity to obscure flaws and scratches like the ones we started with.  The more coats of this product applied, the more opaque the finish becomes.  I like to try and find the balance that allows for correction of the old finish while still showing through some of the original wood grain.

I prefer to apply this product with a wide foam brush, but it can be applied with a roller or bristle brush.  It’s very important to practice with it and find your preference!

Looking better after the the second coat!  Long, even strokes are key to an even finish.

Did you notice that along the way the body of the dresser got a nice coat of Sacred Sage?

And here it is after the second coat is dry.  Gel Stain & Topcoat has a matte finish once dried – this also helps to de-emphasize flaws in the surface so it’s a more forgiving finish.

If you look close, you can still see a few of the deeper scratches under the finish, but it is such an improvement over the original condition – and all without sanding.

Additionally, since this is an all-in-one stain and topcoat, it does not require an additional step to seal.

So, we spruced up the top, updated the color ….. And now, to do something about those blah knobs!  Woah!  These new knobs are anything but blah!

Kristin’s Kreations handpainted these one-of-a-kind knobs to jazz up our dresser with some personality!  There is So much detail in each one!!

These beautiful knobs are just what this plain dresser needed!  Thanks Kristin!!

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If you are enjoying our instructional blogs, please leave a comment and/or like our blog posts!

Also, please be sure to ‘Like’ us on Facebook, visit our Instagram and Pinterest pages.

All of the refinishing products, many of the furniture pieces and other items you see here can be purchased through our Online Store

Thanks for visiting and supporting us!

Liming Finish on Rough Antique Pine Dresser

I’d been itching to use Fusion’s White Stain & Finishing Oil as a Liming finish, and when I came across this previously stripped antique yellow pine dresser, I knew I had found the perfect piece! The previous owners had it professionally “dipped” to strip off the existing paint with every intention of refinishing it.  That’s a familiar prelude for many of us! After years of sitting and moving from residence to residence, they finally needed it out of the way.  By then, it was quite musty, battered, and generally “rough”.  A liming finish would seal and protect it, but also highlight it’s character rather than try to mask it.

The overall construction was fantastic, but definitely “rustic”.


Fusion’s Stain and Finishing Oil (SFO) is a penetrating oil stain that soaks into the grain, in addition to an oil-based topcoat to seal and protect.  Stain and Sealing in One step!

To use SFO on raw wood, I simply brushed it on, let it penetrate the wood for a few minutes, and then wiped back the excess.  Below you can see the process and half of the drawer wiped back with one coat.  I decided this was still too yellow, so I simply waited a day for it to dry, and then applied a second coat – brush on/wipe off.

Below, you can see the difference one coat makes on the drawer front and the dresser top.

Now for that musty smell…every single interior surface got a generous shellacking! Shellac is the only surefire way to seal smells away from your belongings.  The important part about sealing musty dressers is to brush or spray shellac on the underside, interior, exterior of each drawer (every side but the front) in order to completely trap odors away.  The interior body of the dresser should also be sprayed or brushed because it can also trap smells.

Here is the finished piece after it’s second coat.  It was That Simple!  One step Stain & Finishing Oil and a bit of shellac! It was a great way to update and bring out some of the details while preserving the character of this piece.

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This piece found its new home quite a while ago, but we have more unique refinished pieces available on our Facebook page Furniture Albums and our  Online Store

Fusion’s Stain & Finishing Oil comes in a variety of stains to highlight and show off your wood grain. SFO Colors

Raspberry Buffet

I often hear folks who paint furniture to sell lament painting things white.  “customers want everything painted white,” they say, “white furniture is what sells”, “we’re so sick and tired of painting things white!”.  The redundancy is squelching creativity for some folks.

Oh, if only there was a pop of color…..

So, can you imagine how Excited I was at the request to combine FUSION’s Cranberry and CUREiously Pink to create a custom RASPBERRY color for a shapely but dull buffet?

 

WOWZA!!!

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The approximate mix was about 3 parts Cranberry to 1 part CUREiously Pink.  The pink was actually surprisingly robust!

Prep = Cleaning and Repairs

I’ve had this piece sitting in the shop for several months and never noticed this awful repair attempt until I took it apart to wash it.  Someone attempted to glue this piece of trim back on.  However, it looks like they tried doing it without clamping it as it was glued BELOW it’s target.  Luckily, they also used inappropriate glue for the job, so it was easy to dislodge with a razor blade, clean, and attach properly.

I have talked in previous posts about washing thoroughly with TSP Alternative before painting. TSPupdated2 FUSION’s TSP alternative degreases without requiring rinsing and is biodegradable.  Many other cleaners are toxic (to you and the environment) and need to be rinsed, so this is the product I recommend.  In addition to degreasing, older pieces may also need dewaxing with mineral spirits.  A thick, scratchable layer of paste furniture wax isn’t the only sign that there is still waxy residue; years and layers of Pledge-type “furniture polish” products tend to build up over time and leave a thin, silicone-like layer on furniture that acts as a resist to paint. Think about how often your grandmother or great-grandmother polished her furniture.

This piece was washed until the wash water ran clean.  And then, I put some paint on part of it just to see how resistant the remaining surface was.  As I suspected, there was waxy residue on it.  This “fisheye” look as the paint pulls back from the surface is an indication that your surface needs to be cleaned with mineral spirits.

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Enter Mineral Spirits!

One look at my rag and you can see the additional grime that was trapped within layers of waxy residue.  Odorless mineral spirits dissolves the wax and releases the rest of the grunge.  NOW we’re ready to paint!!

 

Color!

I decided to paint a quick base coat of Cranberry as a transition color since I had only mixed up a single pint of the custom raspberry color to match the customer’s color swatch and didn’t want to run out if the coverage wasn’t solid.  Turns out, the coverage was pretty great!

After drying for a couple of days, it was time for the black glaze.  I love using FUSION’s Clear Glaze since it can be mixed with any color paint to get the exact glaze shade you want.  I just mixed a little bit of Coal Black in and was ready to apply!

Glazing with black tinted glaze deepens the paint color just a little and leaves nice definition in the crevice details. Here are two drawers, one with and one without glaze for comparison.  You simply apply, and then wipe back the glaze until you have the desired effect.  It stays wet for a long time so you can work with it more easily.

 

This is how the whole piece looks, freshly glazed.  We also cleaned and oiled the hardware with hemp oil to maintain and enhance the original aged patina.

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A little more tweaking, a few internal repairs (door latches) and…..

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Warm vs. cool lighting makes quite a difference for this color.

Either way, it POPS!!!

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All of the products to complete a project like this are available at our Online Shop

If you are looking for CUREiously Pink, please contact me as this was my last pint of this discontinued color so I will get you into contact with a FUSION retailer who has it.

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