Tips to Restore Reclaimed Furniture

Tips to Restore Reclaimed Furniture

Reclaimed furniture is popular for many reasons - it’s eco-friendly, affordable, and long-lasting. Made from material that’s previously been used for another purpose, reclaimed furniture is unique and unusual, adding character to your home or commercial space.

Neglected furniture is prone to build-ups of dirt, dust and grime, along with discolouration and general signs of wear. If you’re interested in taking on an antique furniture restoration project or want to repair wood furniture in general, then continue reading this post.


What is Reclaimed Furniture?

Reclaimed furniture is often made from wood, but can be crafted alongside other materials such as steel and leather. The act of repurposing furniture has a variety of benefits for the environment.

Buying old, reclaimed wooden furniture items is not only great for the planet but also encourages the idea of recycling materials to make them into something new. Whether you’re implementing a piece of reclaimed furniture into your bedroom or kitchen space, it’ll be sure to add distinctness and individuality.


What Supplies do I Need to Restore Reclaimed Furniture?

Restoring reclaimed furniture can easily be done, you’ll need to have a variety of supplies to help you achieve the best results. Although having a handyman to restore your furniture can be beneficial, fixing up wooden furniture has proved to be an easy process for many.

We recommend restoring furniture in a well-ventilated room or outdoor setting. Safety is key when you’re dealing with hazardous products such as strippers and oils. We’ve conducted a list of vital necessities that you should consider purchasing before taking on a restoration project.

  • Paintbrushes
  • Latex gloves
  • Tack cloth
  • Dust masks or face shields
  • Stripping tools
  • Fine glass paper or sanding blocks
  • Wax or polish remover
  • Fine steel wool
  • Dye suitable for wood
  • Wood restorer or finishing lacquer
  • Wax polish


How to Restore Reclaimed Furniture

There are several stages to refinishing wooden furniture. With over 15 years of experience under our belts, our dedicated team at Browsers Emporium have sufficient knowledge and expertise in the steps that need to be taken to restore reclaimed furniture.

Read on to find out the simple steps you should follow to achieve great results.



Being the messiest part of the restoration process, stripping is an essential step to take. We advise using latex gloves and a dust mask, as well as working in an environment with good ventilation if you’re using a stripping product.

When you strip wood furniture, you should use a good-quality paintbrush and leave the stripper to dissolve for 20 to 30 minutes. The length of time you should leave a stripping product depends on the consistency of the coating.



One of the most important things to remember when you’re using stripping products is to neutralise the wood afterwards. Using steel wool that’s been doused with wax remover, follow the natural grain of the wood and apply evenly.

Skipping the step of neutralising the stripper has the potential to sabotage your restoration. Bear in mind that various strippers require different neutralisers, so be sure to check what it says on the label for more information.

Before you take the next step of your project, you should allow a rest time of 24 hours to let your furniture absorb the neutraliser fully.



Once the 24 rest period has passed, use either a sanding block or glasspaper to smooth over any excess fibres that may have risen during the stripping process.

As well as getting rid of residual stripping products, glasspaper and sanding blocks help remove discolourations caused by old paint or varnish stains. Sanding down reclaimed wood is essential if you want a smooth finish, more so because older wood has visible signs of wear.

The final stage of sanding is to wipe the surface of your furniture with a tack cloth to ensure it’s clean before you apply the dye and finishing oil. Wiping your furniture down continuously is extra important if it’s being stored somewhere that’s prone to collect dust.



Dying wood isn’t a step you have to take, but it’s something we advise. Reclaimed wood is likely to have bleach staining caused by sunlight, which can be noticed easily if parts of your furniture are a significantly lighter colour.

Using a large paintbrush, the dye should be applied generously across your piece of furniture, allowing it to be fully penetrated. When dying wood, it is important to have good lighting so that missed patches can be identified clearly.


Finishing Oil

One of the final steps of restoring your reclaimed furniture is to apply a thin coat of finishing oil using either a paintbrush or lint-free cloth. Your furniture should be left for 10 minutes to allow the oil to be soaked up.

The most accurate way to apply oil is by using quick hand motions, making sure not to miss any grooves and original carvings.

Immediately after applying finishing oil to your furniture, wipe away any surplus before it becomes sticky, and gently rub a 0000 gauge steel wool across the wood before applying an additional coat. We recommend repeating the oiling process several times over if you wish to increase durability and sheen.


Wax Polish

Adding a good amount of furniture wax isn’t always needed, but it can be beneficial. Applying wax polish to reclaimed wood extends the life of your furniture and makes it waterproof, making it ideal to use on coffee tables to protect against spills.

Waxing furniture near various heat sources including radiators or fires should be avoided, as it dries out the wood and creates a warping effect.


Reclaimed Furniture at Browsers Emporium

If you’re making home improvements and are in search of an unusual, one-off piece of reclaimed furniture, be sure to check out our website today.

Browsers Emporium is a family-run business and knows how important it is to have durable, eye-catching furniture throughout your space. Whether it’s for your bar, restaurant or home, we have an array of reclaimed furniture options on offer.