How To Restore Vintage Furniture
Vintage furniture has a certain mystique. In buying it, there’s a sense that we are preserving history. It’s about connecting with a past we feel some nostalgia for. It’s also about buying furniture that was made to stand the test of time. It has even been argued that vintage furniture is better for the environment. One problem that often arises with buying vintage furniture is that it usually needs some restoration work done. In this article, we will discuss how you can restore vintage furniture.
Let’s imagine you have an old leather chesterfield, with loads of grease spots on its arms and head areas, and scratches on its seats. Now, what do we do if we want to restore this leather chesterfield to its original state?
The first step in the process is to clean the sofa down with a leather cleaner. The leather cleaner will clean the sofa’s surface of any dirt, grease, and oils. If you are a real lover of the sofa’s antique look, you should also mask off the studs so they don’t get any overspray and get damaged during the restoration.
The second step involves preparing the leather. This involves removing the leather’s finishing coatings and extracting all the oils and cracks from our vintage sofa. This step can also involve removing any cracking in the paint’s coating. The leather itself may have cracking, though usually, this step is very good at removing all the cracking in painted coatings.
The third step is to apply a leather degreaser on the hand and head areas and any other greased up areas. These areas are usually especially greasy because of the amount of contact that they have with human skin, particularly the head and hands. Oil from these areas seeps into the leather, causing greasing. If we do not degrease these areas, it will be impossible for the colorant to stick later on. So what you want to do is apply the degreaser on these areas and let it dry. Drying usually takes one or two hours. Drying turns the degreaser paste into a white powder. If the powder is yellow or has a greasy color, you need to apply another coat of degreaser. If the powder is white, that means all the degreaser has been removed.
The next step is to clean off the degreaser, which will also remove any remaining dirt and grease. Use your leather cleaner for this stage.
After this, remove any grime and dirt left in the buttons and other difficult-to-get-to areas. You need an alcohol cleaner for this stage. This will neutralize the leather’s surface and remove any silicons that weren’t soluble during the preparation stage. The alcohol cleaner will ensure that everything adheres properly.
The next stage is the actual restoration. Normal wear and tear will usually leave a lot of cracks on leather furniture, damaging the furniture’s finish. You’ll need a leather binder to deal with some of these cracks. It’s used to strengthen cracked or heavily worn leather. You’ll also have to sand the job down as you work, so that the leather retains a smooth surface.
You may need to use flexi fillers to repair the arms and perhaps even the outer back, as these areas usually have very thin tears.
Now, apply the base color to the sofa. Most leather chesterfields have antique red as a base colour. You’ll have to do some research to figure out what your furniture’s base color is. Apply it with light coats, building it up slowly until you are satisfied.
Now apply the antique topcoat. Start with any buttons that the furniture has and then go on to its pleats. Darkening the pleats creates what’s known as a diamond effect. Colour with a topcoat, letting the base color come through in that distinctive two-tone way that vintage furniture is famed for.
Finally, get a finish done at Creative Cabinets and Fine Finishes, to gloss the vintage furniture and give it a vintage look.