November 29, 2012 by twinoaksstudio
I am starting to see the end of my long adventure refinishing a pair of antique dressers. Its so exciting! I’ve started collecting ideas for distressed-looking hardware for it. Furniture Bling!
I would never have gotten to where I am with these pieces without the help of an amazing varnish stripper called Formby’s Furniture Refinisher. It is specialized to use only with antique varnishes and takes off the outer layer of candy-apple like “goo” while preserving the original finish. I have tested out earth-friendly strippers and the more serious chemical strippers, but they both tend to merge with the antique varnish to form an impossible to remove rock-hard layer. (Gak!) The amazing part of Formby’s is that it dissolves the antique varnish so easily and quickly. The original stain is left ready to top-coat. I really love it. (can you tell?)
Here is a little video of Formby’s in action. Please note: in this video I am both videotographer and restorer, so there is a little bit of shakiness going on! But it gives you an idea of how easily it works. I apply it using “0000” grade steel wool, rubbing in circular motions, and wipe it off using paper towels. Its a little drippy and messy, but aside from that, its pretty easy!
The pieces I’m working on are roughly 100 years old hard maple with amazing characteristics – iridescent whorls and birds-eyes. I wanted to show off the natural beauty of the wood, not hide it under a darker stain or paint. The finished product will be going into a cabin and my goal is a somewhat rustic look, so many imperfections in the pieces are going to be kept.
I’m still not done just yet – I’m waiting for my stain-boiled linseed oil layer to cure a little first before I topcoat it. Its been a long (and educational!) process but in the end I hope it will be worth it!
PS – I received no compensation from Formby’s for this post. Just hoping to help out others interested in preserving beautiful old furniture!
I will be linking this post up with Miss Mustardseed’s Furniture Feature Friday. Thanks for hosting!!