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Painting Wood Furniture

(12 Posts)
butitsmyinsurance Sat 25-Apr-20 10:12:04

Now I'm home and have the time I thought I would get started on a new project that I've been wanting to do for months. Before lockdown I was given some lovely wood furniture from a friend who's relative sadly passed away. The pieces are old but nice but very worn and need sanding and then varnished or painted. Has anyone done this before? Is it better beginner friendliest to paint or varnish wood? Any recomendations on the best paint or varnish to use? I keep hearing about chalk paint but I'm not sure if that is the best long term option as I've heard it chips easily? Has anyone used the rustoleum range?

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thenewaveragebear1983 Sat 25-Apr-20 11:27:50

I've used lots and done loads of pieces.

I find the best and most hardwearing are actually emulsion paints designed for 'any surface', b&q used to do ones called 'colours everywhere' but they now do a specific range I think. You don't need to remove varnish, just key the surfaces (and with chalk paints you don't even need to do that) then wax wax wax. I suggest buying the best quality wax you can afford.

It's worth practicing on something less sentimental if you are unsure, because the technique really makes a difference. I only paint very tatty cheap pine stuff. Any retro/gplan stuff has quite a high value in its original condition.

This is my latest one done in lockdown- a little drinks cabinet for my summerhouse!

thenewaveragebear1983 Sat 25-Apr-20 11:30:28

I think I may have slightly misread your post actually- if you like the painted look then of course paint, but actually restoring natural wood is a lovely project too. I'd only paint something that's either very cheap, or is unsalvageable.

The problem might be getting the right materials to restore wood at the moment.

rosegoldwatcher Sat 25-Apr-20 11:34:29

I have used furniture paint from the Rustoleum range. The matt chalk paint needs to be sealed with wax or laquer. Their satin finish paint is self sealing. They are OK!
Far better though is Frenchic. If you have Facebook, you could access the Frenchic Fan Forum to see countless photos of members' projects.

wowfudge Sat 25-Apr-20 11:35:07

Good primer like the Zinsser shellac one and satinwood paint, but not a one coat or quick drying formula. It's water based with a slight sheen. Use small gloss rollers for flat surfaces and a paint brush for details/mouldings. Remove handles and knobs before painting and put them back or replace them once you've finished. Using Zinsser primer means you don't need to sand.

butitsmyinsurance Sat 25-Apr-20 11:48:52

Thanks for replies! Love your cabinet thenewaveragebear1983 I like that look of wood on top and paint on the bottom.
I've picked a smallish piece to start with. Not sure if I prefer paint or varnish. Someone told me that if I sand the original finish off I might find the wood to be lighter than it currently looks. At the moment it is a bit dark. All the pieces will be going in my open plan house so I would prefer they all 'match' which is why I was thinking paint, but I'm open to varnish if I can get the same/similar look. BUT I'm not sure what type of wood or what make or even how old these pieces are though so they may or may not varnish the same? blush
Clearly I know nothing about wood! grin Any suggestions where I can get some unique handles and knobs?

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wowfudge Sat 25-Apr-20 11:55:53

On older varnished furniture you would need to do a lot of sanding as older oil-based varnish penetrates the wood. If it turns out the furniture is veneered it could easily be damaged by sanding, especially if you use an electric sander.

Can you post a photo of at least part of a piece of the furniture? Someone is bound to know what kind of wood it is.

Peonyonpoint Sat 25-Apr-20 11:59:22

You can either use chalk paint slightly thinner as a primer for satinwood or zinsser bullseye 123 - neither need a huge amount of prep.

I like using farrow and ball satin.

Here’s a pic of a bit of a cheap corner cabinet made of crap wood that was £100 (next cheapest acceptable alternative I could find was £300+) that I painted in f&b de Nîmes. Paint was £25 but overall saving £175 and finish and colour is gorgeous.

thenewaveragebear1983 Sat 25-Apr-20 12:21:40

I like homesense/tkmaxx for handles. Or eBay. I usually find the handles first and design around them.

butitsmyinsurance Sat 25-Apr-20 15:59:14

Looks like tkmaxx is closed. I'll have a look on ebay. Love that colour Peonyonpoint

Can you tell from the photo what type of wood or vanish it is?

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thenewaveragebear1983 Sat 25-Apr-20 17:19:42

It's hard to tell. Sometimes those older pieces have wood veneer (ie very thin layer of real wood) on the outward facing surfaces, you need to sand this very very carefully, if at all. If it's a mass produced piece it's quite likely that it will have some parts solid wood, some parts wood veneer, and some internal parts will be like 'sheet wood'/balsa wood (ie has no grain, is a Matt finish)

You can sometimes tell if it's wood veneer by looking for tiny places where it's chipped away and you can see layers underneath.

In my cabinet I posted above, the top is 'real wood' and solid (pine) so could be sanded merrily; the three sides sides were solid too, but the doors were sheet wood with additional detailing added. (That was fairly modern though and valueless)

I've had mass produced wood veneer retro type stuff where eg drawer fronts are solid wood but the main unit was veneer. Wood veneer is very difficult to restore to natural wood, which is why so much retro stuff gets ruined painted.

It might help if you can identify an era and a maker as you could find specific advice online about what it's likely to be made of. Or join Facebook groups for that era, I'm on a few retro ones that are very knowledgeable.

butitsmyinsurance Sun 26-Apr-20 15:09:20

Thanks thenewaveragebear1983 very helpful. I was given a few pieces and as I didn't have time to do anything with them then I put them all together in a corner and now I'm struggling to access in order to photograph full pieces. I haven't yet found any identifying marks or logos on that piece so not sure of where it's come from or age, but will try to do a bit more digging and see if I can find out.

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