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Coffee Tables - How To Restore Them

Nov 22, 2007
You've found a couple of old coffee tables that were a steal at a yard sale. Sure they're a little beaten up, but you think you can make them sing once again. Here's the step-by-step process to giving those old coffee tables a new life.

1. Look Before You Leap. Don't just jump into this project before you know what really needs to be done. You should really look the piece over before you begin any work and find out what really has to be done. During this time you should pull out a rag and try to clean up the table a bit. You may find out that some of the things that were making the table look old were buildup of dirt and grime and it may be in better shape than you thought.

2. Test Before You Start. You are going to need some sort of furniture restoration cleaner in order to do this job, but you want to make sure it is compatible with the finish on your coffee tables. Use a small dab of it somewhere on the coffee tables that will not be visible, just in case there is an adverse reaction. Let it sit for a while (a few hours, or a day if you can) and look for any ill reactions. If there aren't any, move forward.

3. Don't Ruin The Hardware. One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to restore these old coffee tables without taking them apart. First, the wood restoration cleaner you are going to use on the coffee tables may not be as friendly to the hardware. Second, if there is going to be a buildup of dirt and grime anywhere, it is going to be where it was hard to clean, under and around the hardware. You may even notice that there is so much build up around and under the hardware that it doesn't want to come off and you may need to use an edged, but non cutting item, like a putty knife to pry it free.

4. Put Your Elbow Into it. Now it's time to get down to the real work. Take that restoration cleaner, a rag and start cleaning. You should stick to one area of the coffee tables at a time. If you start on the top, work the whole top clean before you move to another area. You should also try to clean in little circles that can blend into one another to make the final clean surface look like it's consistent. If you have decorative touches on the piece that the cleaner dabbed rag can't fit into, you may need to get a small brush, even a toothbrush, to work that space.

5. Lather, Rinse Repeat. After you have given the piece a good first time cleaning, you should do it again, to make sure all the build up has been wiped away.

If you've done this correctly, your coffee tables should look like new, almost. Give them a good waxing, put the hardware back on, and put them to work in their new home.
About the Author
Jesse Akre offers online consumers insight on purchasing lovely coffee tables, lavish accent tables, and rich end tables.
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