If you have minor scratches on your table top that are just driving you crazy...but you don't want to spend the money to refinish it? First, clean the surface with mineral spirits using a dry soft rag (lint free!). Dry it. Buy some lemon oil (Old English) with stain-make sure the color is not darker than your wood! Wipe a light coating onto the wood surface and voila! the scratches disappear to the eye! You will be able to feel them, but how often do your guests go around feeling your furniture (besides your mother)?
Yellowing: Not so golden
Many of the insurance claims that come to The Furniture catalog for repair are because of a yellowing problem. How many of you know that this goes beyond the simple fact that heat causes yellowing? (How many of you were not aware that heat causes yellowing?)
The actual discoloration is caused by the finish composition and heat exposure. Shellac finishes yellow a great deal on antiques; however, it is not noticed in most cases because it is on a dark surface. White light or color finishes show any type of yellowing very quickly, usually within a couple of years. Sometimes this is referred to as "aging."
Today's mass production manufacturers love to use lacquers. The color is not absorbed by woods so less chemical is needed for the finished product (cheaper!) and it generally lays on top of the furniture surfaces. This means cheaper underlying materials can be used (particleboard!). Production grade lacquer is the workhorse of today's furniture makers (not cabinet makers). Lacquer yellows rapidly when exposed to bright sunlight.
Heat also produces the same yellowing effect; however, it must be extreme heat for a good period of time. For example, one week in a moving van or a couple of months in storage without air conditioning. How long it takes for the lacquer or even formica to yellow depends on the quality of the product.
A key for the do-it-yourselfer is to use top coats with ultraviolet inhibitors.
Protect your fabrics!
Don't forget, fabric can fade out with the sunlight as well. Today's fabrics are much more colorfast than in years gone by; however, nothing can withstand direct sunlight day after day. Don't get caught up with insureds claiming water damage discolored the fabric on the top of an upholstered item. Most of these cases are the furniture having been placed in front of or very close to a window. If the claimant only has sheers for a window treatment, you can be sure that is the source of the problem.
Feel free to call us with your technical questions about refinishing and restoration
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