Tag Archives: how to care for antique furniture

How to Fix Scratches on Antique Furniture with Furniture Crayons

As part of our series on antique furniture restoration tips and tricks, I made this YouTube Video about how to easily fix wood blemishes, watermarks and scratches on antique furniture using furniture crayons. It is a question we hear quite often from friends and other people who have antique furniture. Perhaps they’ve accidentally scratched the wood moving the piece from room to room, or perhaps they have inherited a beloved heirloom that needs a little TLC.

In any case, we all know that we get a few wrinkles as we age! So here’s how you can do a little touch up and hide that blemish. This also works for new wood furniture that might have some superficial dings.

This is the video I made on YouTube about how to use furniture crayons to disguise scratches or other marks in the wood. I’ll also give a summary below.

There are various furniture crayons available, but Greg and I like to use Blendal sticks. Then we use Mohawk Tone Finish to set the crayons.

In the video example, I show how to use the furniture crayons to help with two different blemishes on an antique buffet or server. One is a gouge and scrape to the finish and the other one is a wear spot.

Here’s the secret: When you use your furniture crayons, you must apply several different colors, rather than try to exactly match one color of wood. This is because aged wood isn’t one color, it has earned a patina of time that is subtly beautiful. And even new furniture crafted in antique style is often distressed so the wood looks aged.

So for this antique buffet in the video, I use a dark brown furniture crayon, a red one, an even darker brown one, and a black. The black is probably the most important one!

As I work the crayons into the wood, I’m going with the grain of the wood and I keep changing colors, adding a little of one color then a little of another. I rub it in with my fingers. It’s all about being patient and keep applying color until you feel like you have really camouflaged it in.

As I said, black is important and I use it to give little grain lines, feathering it with my hand and putting a little more pressure on to smudge it in.  Don’t be afraid to mix the colors because that’s what gives you the visual depth. Antique pieces do have different layers and shades on the patina of the wood from natural aging. They are not uniform in tone, and that’s part of what makes a piece of antique furniture look so wonderful.

Be sure to always use your fingers to rub along the same grain as the wood. I keep adding layers of color until I feel like I’ve made the match. You’ll see that in the video I’m really taking my time and using a lot of colors until I feel like it’s going to blend in with what’s there. Still, I fix both marks in less then 10 minutes, so it’s pretty easy!

If you are working on an area that has a lot of carving, you might need to use a toothbrush to get into the all nooks and details of the carving.

Then I stand back and look at the whole piece.  I know I’m finished when the area I worked on doesn’t jump out at me!

Finally I use Mohawk Tone Finish to set the furniture crayons. We like to use the satin variety rather than a shiny one, because we find it blends in better.

I shake it to mix up the product and then do a test spray to make my nozzle is spraying evenly. Then I spray a really light mist. I let it set for just a minute and then give it another very light mist again.

Sometimes you have to do two passes, especially when it’s a bigger chip or ding. But after the tone finish, you can’t really see that there was a problem there at all.

When this dries, the work I’ve done really will have blended in. The blemish doesn’t jump out any more!

If you have any questions about how to fix blemishes, watermarks and scratches on antique furniture using furniture crayons, please do leave a comment in the comment box below!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 7 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

5 Winter Care Tips for Antique Furniture

With winter putting the shivers on everyone, I thought I’d take a moment to give you some tips on how to care for and protect your antique furniture from the vagaries of humidity fluctuation. First, a bit of background.

As most of us don’t live in museums, with humidity-controlled environments, it’s important for you to be mindful of how rising and falling humidity levels can affect your antique and reproduction furniture. Did you know relative indoor humidity levels can fall as low as 30% when the furnace cranks up and can rise to 80% indoors during the summer? The wood in your furniture will naturally expand and contract with these fluctuations. That’s not a bad thing, in and of itself. In fact, you should see natural wood shrinkage at the joints of antique furniture. If you don’t, you’re probably looking at a reproduction!

Still, all that expansion and contraction of the wood in antique and reproduction furniture can have negative consequences, such as split panels and crackled finishes. Here are five tips to help your furniture survive normal indoor humidity fluctuations.

1. Buy high-quality, expertly made furniture. Some people believe any antique piece is “high quality,” but that is not necessarily the case. When you buy fine antique furniture on the internet or in a gallery, always closely inspect the construction of the piece and ask the seller to show you what makes it a quality item. The same goes for reproduction furniture. Expert woodworkers understand wood shrinks in the direction of the grain, so pieces should be cut and fitted in order to allow the wood to expand and contract at the joints. If the panels cannot move naturally at the joints, they may crack in half.

In this video, I talk a little bit about how to evaluate an antique French Hunting buffet for its quality of construction.

2. Keep your fine furniture out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. Never place a piece of antique or high-quality reproduction furniture next to or on top of a heat register. This will cause the wood to dry out even more than it usually would. Exposing furniture to sunlight can cause the finish to deteriorate rapidly, which can allow still more moisture exchange between the environment and the wood.

3. Stabilize the finish with paste wax. As furniture ages, its finish naturally becomes brittle and microscopically pitted. You can help your furniture age gracefully by cleaning it with a gentle soap (like Murphy’s Oil Soap; allow the piece to dry thoroughly after this step), abrading it with 4x 0000 steel wool if the finish has become dull and hazy, and applying a good paste wax (we like TLC wax) using 0000 steel wool. Allow it to dry, then buff it. You’ll get a good arm workout! Or you can use a buffer attachment for your power drill. You only need to wax your furniture every one to three years, depending on its condition and the humidity levels in your home or region.

4. Use a humidifier. If you live in a very dry climate, you can try to lessen relative humidity fluctuations indoors with a humidifier. However, don’t place any piece of fine antique or reproduction furniture too close to a humidifier. This can cause the wood to absorb too much moisture.

5. Avoid common spray products for “dusting and polishing.” You know the ones we’re talking about! These popular products will only serve to cause buildup on your furniture’s finish, and they actually attract dust! Not what you want, right? Instead, just dust your fine antique furniture with a very slightly damp cloth or feather duster.

I hope you find these tips helpful for preserving your antique and high-quality reproduction furniture so you can pass it down through generations to come!

 

 Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

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