Furniture finishers must evaluate furniture to appreciate the extent of any damage and then decide upon an optimal method for restoration and the equipment that is required for the job. They may have to estimate the cost of a job and they must also have a blueprint to follow.
When repairing damaged furniture, areas which are not to be finished are masked. Old finishes and damaged or deteriorated parts must be removed, possibly using hand tools, stripping tools, dip baths, solvents, abrasives, steel wool, or sandpaper. Excess solvents are also removed. Broken parts are repaired with screws, nails, glue, or putty. Cracks and depressions are filled and imperfections removed. Metal surfaces can be painted electrostatically or with a spray gun or other painting equipment. Usually, at least three coats are required.
Furniture finishers select and then mix ingredients to produce the required finish colors. The ingredients required depend on such factors as the surface type and hardness of the wood. Possible ingredients include wax, stain, oil, or paint. They spray, brush, or manually apply these ingredients to the wood. Items are sanded lightly between coats. Warped or stained surfaces are treated to produce the desired colors and contours. Surfaces are sometimes distressed with abrasives or woodworking tools to create an antique appearance and lacquer or other sealants are applied as well.