We are often asked on how we restore our furniture in the store, and after our architectural salvaging. And the truth is a lot of it is just general cleaning tips and tricks! We are going to show you how to restore some common items and materials back to their common glory!

How to Restore Black Lacquer Furniture?

Black Laquer does not age well. Muck, dust and fingerprints all degrade and show up on the polish, and so black lacquer often cracks, and after awhile it can need a touch up. Never fear! This is not as daunting as it sounds. 

black laquer box
black laquer box
  1. Use a damp cloth to dust off excess dirt and dust. The last thing you want is this dust to get sealed into the lacquer and causing a non smooth finish. Once you have done this to make sure it is completely dry and dust free before the next step.
  2. Make sure you are in a well ventilated room
  3. On a dry cloth use some solvent based furniture cleaner and do the same with the water, and make sure you have a dry cloth to once again dry this section once done
  4. Get the liquid wax, and apply it to the area with a soft brush. Wait the allotted time and buff the wax with another cloth. It is recommended you use a chamois cloth for this
  5. Congratulations! You have successfully restored this furniture. 

How To Restore Mid Century Wood Furniture?

We are often dealing with mid century furniture that looks a little bit tired, worn, or sad. It generally means they are in need of a little TLC! As a rule, most typical mid century furniture is Teak wood. If it is that classic orangey, light brown look, we are generally dealing with Teak. Teak is a naturally oily wood, and it is actually heavily endangered nowadays, but this vintage stuff lasts a long time, and is fairly durable. Similar to this is Rubber Wood

How To Restore Teak Furniture? 

Reviving a teak wood finish can seem like the impossible. Teak is so distinctive and vibrant, and it can be hard to imagine the old cabinet in the corner turning back into a focal point of a room. But we have a few tips for you. 

teak sideboard
teak sideboard
  1. Wash the Teak, so it has no grime, dust or dirt. Make sure it is dry for the next step. 
  2. Scour the wood. This can be done lightly with a scouring pad in vinegar and water solution. 
  3. Inspect. If the wood is still discoloured continue with #2, but use a stronger cleaning solution
  4. To remove deep stains, you need to use a Teak cleaner. This is generally some form of cleaning acid. Make sure you are in a well ventilated room, and you are wearing eye protection, goggles, and gloves. 
  5. Rinse with water, let it dry and then sand. 
  6. You must finish with Teak oil. This seals the wood again. Teak is a naturally oily wood, as most tropical hardwoods are. 
  7. Varnish. 

This should have your teak looking that golden honey colour that some people love so well. 

Where To Buy Old Furniture To Restore?

This can be purely based on luck. We have simply driven around Toronto and found people throwing out beautiful mid century specimens. All that is needed is a simple knock on the door, and you will generally find people more than happy to let their furniture have a new lease of life. You can also search for furniture Kijiji, and craigslist, and ebay. Or get permission to search round old houses that are being demolished. We do a lot of furniture salvage this way. 

restore mid century
restore mid century

You also need to be innovative, if you find an old lamp with a broken base but an ornate lampshade, save the shade! You can maybe use it with something else down the line!

This is the same with vintage storage trunks, or even old chairs. These can be easily upholstered or turned into something else. 

How To Make Money Restoring Furniture?

So – now you have your furniture, and you have restored it. The question then is how to make money from your restoration. When I started this, the real shocker was when I broke even. 

The cost of the time and furniture and fixing up materials can be more than what you get for the item in the beginning! But if you market yourself right, and take some brilliant pictures, you will be more than likely to find someone who will pay the right price for it. And if it is your hobby too, it will not feel like as much of a chore.