Cleaning Furniture After Storage
Many of us rely on attics, spare bedrooms, or even storage units and sheds to store furniture, whether temporarily or for years. When the time comes to move your furniture out of storage and reincorporate it into the house or patio, its guaranteed to require remedial cleaning or more. So how do you clean your furniture after it’s been in storage? These tips from our professional furniture restoration team can help!
- Dust with Clean Cloth – The best way to remove dust buildup from your wood furniture is with a clean cloth. You can use tack cloth, microfiber cloth, or another type of soft, clean towel to remove dust from the corners and crevices.
- Avoid Furniture Wipes and Cleaners – Furniture sprays, wipes, and other products are marketed as effective cleaning solutions, but in reality, they leave behind residue that can just attract more dust and buildup. Avoid furniture cleansers and polishes like these and opt for only a clean, dry cloth. If your furniture is in need of deep cleaning, call on a highly rated furniture restoration company in your area and trust the job to the professionals!
- Pressure Wash (if needed) – If your outdoor furniture was stored in such a way that it was still exposed to the elements, insects, or pests, you may need to pressure wash it. Use low pressure and use mild dish detergent and a bristled brush to detail clean certain areas by hand as needed.
- Check for Problems – Cleaning your furniture after it’s been stored is an ideal time to assess it for problems. Do you detect an odor in upholstered furniture? Or does a leg or spindle need to be repaired, or does padding need to be replaced? If so, schedule time for yourself to handle the repair, or call on the best local furniture repair shop who does high quality work on high quality furniture.
There are many reasons to store your furniture, but when you’re done storing it, sometimes you need to take the time to clean, repair, and refinish it in order to get it up to par again! Homeowners in San Marco, Mandarin, Southside, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, and throughout Jacksonville choose to call on Jax Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering when their furniture is in need of work. We’re the best Jacksonville FL furniture restoration service and we’ll take great care of your furniture when the time comes to clean, repair, or restore it!
Best Way to Strip Furniture
One of the first steps in your furniture refinishing project is to strip the old wooden furniture of its prior coatings. All paint, lacquer, or varnish needs to be thoroughly removed before you can successfully apply a fresh stain or other finish. In fact, if you skip this step or try to rush it, you won’t achieve the results you want. So, what is the best way to strip your antique furniture?
- Supplies – Find the right stripping agent for your furniture. Even if the label says the product is “safe,” be sure to read the chemical makeup and any fine print to understand exactly what the product will do, how to use it, and what applicators are needed. We recommend not skimping on the quality of the chemical, and carefully reading about the contents to be sure you’re getting not only the most effective solution, but also one that is safe, not just for you (since you’ll be handling it), but also for the furniture itself. Anything too harsh can weaken joints, strip more than just the topcoat, or otherwise damage the furniture’s makeup.
- Safety – Stay safe during your DIY furniture refinishing by wearing the right protective gear. Anytime you apply harsh chemicals, such as in the stripping step, wear goggles or other protective eye covering to prevent chemical spray or spatter from getting into your eyes. We also recommend wearing long sleeves and generally exposing as little of your skin as possible to being splashed by harsh chemicals like those found in most furniture strippers. Also wear protective gloves to keep your hands and fingers from being exposed to potentially caustic chemicals. You should wear gloves that specifically protect against the chemicals in the stripping agent. Likewise, wear a respirator to keep from breathing in harmful fumes while you work. Other protective gear can be worn in addition to these items, but eye coverings, gloves, and a respirator are imperative in protecting yourself while you refinish your furniture.
- Time – Thoroughly and safely stripping all paint and stain from your furniture takes time! Set aside the time to prep for the work, apply the material, let it sit, dwell, cure, etc. You may want to set aside extra time in case any part of the process needs to be repeated.
- Elbow Grease – Your furniture stripping project won’t get far without good old fashioned elbow grease. Once you have the right materials and set aside the time for the job, dig in! Be sure to apply the stripper according to the instructions, allow it to “dwell” for the time needed, and use the right tools and method for removal, all of which should be listed on the container. Don’t try to cut corners, and don’t give less than 100%. A great DIY furniture refinishing job starts with a thorough stripping and removal of the old coats, and elbow grease will get it done!
Furniture refinishing is tricky work, and seems to never go quite as planned for most DIY refinishers. This is one of the reasons so many Jacksonville, Riverside, Ortega, and Mandarin homeowners call on Jax Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering to take care of their furniture restoration projects! There are many good local furniture refinishers, but Jax Furniture is the best antique restoration company trusted by homeowners throughout the area. Our craftsmen are true professionals and know what the job calls for, but beyond that, each of us has a passion for fine furniture and attention to detail. If you trust your wood or upholstered furniture to us for a repair or restoration, you’ll love the results!
Rejuvenate Inherited Furniture
An heirloom chest, table, or desk once owned and cherished by a family member might not exactly fit with your home’s décor. These antiques are high in sentimental value, but what do you do if inherited furniture doesn’t look good in your home? We have three suggestions:
- RESTORE – Often a high-quality restoration can transform a dull or rickety antique into a stunning piece. Trust your heirloom to the best local furniture restoration company and you’ll be astounded at the results! The tarnished chest just needs to be skillfully refinished, and the shredded or floppy cushions on an upholstered chair just need the craftsmanship of a careful upholsterer to make you fall in love with it.
- REDO – If you like one element of heirloom furniture but not another, hire a great furniture refinishing shop to re-envision and redo it! An overstuffed chair in a fabric from three decades ago may not be a good candidate for your living room but imagine what can happen if you recover it in a fresh new fabric. A scuffed sideboard from a century ago can be stripped, sanded, and stained in a bold new color to fit your modern home. Good professional upholsterers and refinishers can work magic on old furniture!
- REPURPOSE – If you don’t know what to do with furniture you inherited from a family member, reimagine it in a new way. An end table can become a nightstand, a hutch or china cabinet can be disassembled and turned into a buffet, and a dining table can transform into a desk. If you can imagine it, a highly rated furniture restoration service can make it happen!
Don’t banish your inherited furniture just because you don’t know what to do with it, or don’t like something about it. Find the best furniture restorer in your area and ask the professionals to help turn it into furniture you love and can use! There are many great furniture refinishers in Northeast Florida, but Jax Furniture is the trusted furniture restoration and upholstery service called on by homeowners throughout Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, St. Augustine, and San Marco, and we’d love to take care of your furniture restoration as well.
Valuable Antique Furniture Styles
Antique furniture is important to its owner for different reasons. Some collect and appreciate antiques because of the inherent history and story; others simply love the particular aesthetic. Some antique owners don’t know or care about anything other than the fact that their family has owned it for years or generations, an equally valid reason to fall in love with a piece of furniture!
Certain styles of antique furniture are perennially popular, so if you’re interested in acquiring a valuable piece or finding out if your own antique might be valuable, take a look at these 4 types of valuable antique furniture styles:
- Mid-Century Modern – Midcentury homes and furniture are exceedingly popular right now. Works from this period, roughly the mid-40s to the mid-60s, are known for simplicity, clean lines, and bold shapes and colors. If you have a MCM teak desk or sofa, or a tulip chair with original bold-colored fabric, it could be very valuable, and there would likely be very high interest or demand for it.
- Shaker – Shaker style antique furniture is also very popular right now, in large because it is frequently used in modern farmhouse style homes, which are extremely popular at this time, and other contemporary style homes. Shaker furniture is characterized by simplicity, utility, and clean lines, and is valued by and beloved by collectors and minimalist designers and homeowners.
- Craftsman / Arts & Crafts – As the name of the era indicates, there was an emphasis on craftsmanship during this era, not only in furniture, but also in ceramics, woodworking, and all types of handmade works.Furthermore, hardwoods were often used during this period, so if you have a sofa, desk, settee, or chair from this era, it’s likely very well made and valuable.
- Art Deco – The 1920s brought about the Art Deco age, and furniture from this era has an aesthetic that has appealed to every generation after it. If you have a sofa, dresser, or dining table from the Deco period, you probably deeply value it, and if you don’t, there is a collector or afficionado who will!
Craftsman, Midcentury Modern, Colonial, Shaker, Deco, and all other types of antique furniture deserve to be restored to their original beauty and enjoyed! Jax Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering is the best local furniture restoration service trusted by homeowners throughout Jacksonville, Riverside, Ponte Vedra, and the Beaches. If you’d like to have your beloved antique restored, please give us the opportunity to do it!
Cleaners to Avoid on Wood Furniture
Wiping the dust from your wood furniture, positioning it out of the way of harmful UV sunlight, and other actions help keep your favorite furniture in great shape for decades, or even generation. Though you know cleaning is a part of furniture maintenance, there are several products that can severely damage your heirlooms.
Avoid using these three household cleaners on your furniture:
- Rubbing Alcohol – Rubbing alcohol may seem like a relatively “safe” product to use on furniture, especially if it has been diluted with water and applied only with a moistened cloth. However, the alcohol can act as a solvent and damage the finish on furniture and even the wood itself. Avoid using alcohol on your furniture, and if some spills onto it, blot it up as quickly and thoroughly as you can with a clean dry cloth. Call on a great local furniture restoration company if stains or fading appear.
- Bleach/Disinfecting Wipes – At times like this, most of us are particularly careful about keeping our homes free of germs. It makes sense to want to wipe down and spray disinfectant all over your furniture to keep viruses away. However, these products can be damaging to your furniture. If you’re looking for a way to fend off germs but still protect your furniture, consider putting fabric overtop end tables, using tablecloths over your dining room table consistently, and using throws over your upholstered sofa and chairs. You can throw these coverings into the washing machine as frequently as you wish! Avoid covering wood furniture in plastic, however. Plastic can cause moisture to become trapped and therefore damage the furniture, and plastic itself contains elements that can damage the finish.
- Furniture Wipes – Though marketed specifically for use on wood furniture, many types of furniture polish wipes can actually coat your wood furniture in residue, which in turn attracts dust particles and creates a dull finish over time. It’s best to avoid using furniture wipes on your wood furniture, and instead simply remove dust by wiping it down routinely with a clean cloth. If your furniture needs more than dusting or maintenance, call on a highly rated furniture refinisher in your area for a repair or restoration appointment.
Our craftsmen at Jax Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering understand the value of high quality handmade wood furniture – and the sentimental value of furniture of all kinds – and we want to help you keep your favorite antique furniture in great shape for years to come! Homeowners in Ponte Vedra, Atlantic Beach, Mandarin, Riverside, and throughout Jacksonville trust us with their treasured furniture, and we’d love the opportunity to repair or restore yours as well!
Refinishing Your Tabletop
Your dining room table receives frequent use. It’s the spot for family meals, often multiple times per day, as well as homework, card games, and countless other projects and fun. The tabletop surface inevitably shows scuffs, water marks, scratches, and more. When the time comes, how do you refinish your tabletop and get it back into great condition? Here are simple steps for refinishing your dining room table top:
- Make a plan. Examine the table to make sure you know what’s ahead for your refinishing project. If any repairs are needed, be sure you understand how to make the repairs correctly. Set up a work area for yourself in an area that is well ventilated. You’ll need to be able to spread out a dropcloth and the table, and arrange your supplies. It’s best if your work area is in a part of the house or garage that is not highly trafficked so that you’re out of the way in case the project takes longer than expected.
- Gather your supplies. You’ll need sandpaper or sanding blocks in both coarse (60- 120-grit) and fine (360-grit). Consider using a mechanical sander if your table is large or in need of significant work. You’ll also need several clean cloths and tack cloths, and then the stain or paint you’ve chosen.
- Clean the furniture. Be sure to clean the tabletop well before proceeding. Use gentle household cleaners to rid all grease, oil, dirt, and debris. This will make subsequent steps more successful.
- Remove existing finish. Using the roughest, lowest-grit sandpaper, remove the existing paint, varnish, or other finish. Rub along the wood grain. Wipe all dust and shavings off with a tack cloth and then repeat this process with 120-grit sandpaper. Use chemical stripping agents with caution. They can be caustic when mishandled, and can damage certain wood when used or applied incorrectly.
- Apply new finish. Apply the new stain, paint, or other finish you’ve chosen. Be sure to apply it as directed, and wear protective gloves, eye covering, or respirators that may be called for. Depending on your desired look, you might choose to apply a polyurethane or polycrylic clear coat.
- Finishing touches… Once the final coating has dried or cured, you’re ready to wipe down the tabletop and bring it back into use!
At this point, your tabletop should be looking handsome and ready for more family dinners and fun! Tabletop refinishing can be a tricky or protracted DIY project, but almost always worth the effort! Or, you can transform this checklist into a single step – simply call on a great local furniture refinishing shop, tell them how you want your tabletop to look, and trust the professionals with the job!
Northeast Florida homeowners in Atlantic Beach, Ponte Vedra, Riverside, Southside, and Fleming Island call on Jax Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering when it’s time for a tabletop, desk, headboard, or sectional to have work done. Jax Furniture is the best furniture restoration service Jacksonville FL residents have trusted for years, and we’d love the honor of restoring your antique or other well loved furniture so that you can enjoy it again, and keep enjoying it for years to come!
What is a Hope Chest?
As expert antique refinishers, we’re also history buffs and love to know how and by whom antique furniture and other artifacts were used. A “hope chest” is a familiar term, but what is a hope chest, when were they used, and are they still around today?
Here are some interesting facts about hope chests:
- The concept of the hope chest originated centuries ago and was brought to America in the 18th century by European immigrants.
- Traditionally, a hope chest was given to a young woman as a symbol of good luck as she prepared for marriage. The young woman would gradually fill the chest with treasures such as blankets, chinaware, and other items that would be needed for marriage. Often the woman’s mother or other female relatives would contribute items, but many of the items would have been knitted, crocheted, or otherwise made by the young woman herself.
- Hope chests were originally made of cedar, a wood that naturally repels insects and fungus, protecting the contents of the chest sometimes for decades. Similar chests are still made of cedar today, as well as other hardwood species such as cherry, oak, and maple.
Today we’re more apt to keep a chest or trunk and keep throws and pillows in it or use it to store seldom used items. Some families still keep hope chests for more traditional purposes though, to safely store family treasures that they hope to pass down to other family members.
It’s not too early or too late to start a hope chest for your child or even for yourself as a memory chest. You don’t have to fill it with the silverware and quilts like you might have done in ages past. But you can still compile items that you think would be useful for someone coming up in the next generation, or even fill one with mementos that you simply want to remember and hang on to. For example, consider filling a hope chest with photos or photo albums, handmade items, and other family treasures and heirlooms.
If you’d like to have a hope chest or other heirloom refinished, trust it to a highly rated furniture repair and refinishing shop. Jax Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering is the best furniture refinisher Jacksonville FL homeowners and antique collectors rely on to restore their fine furniture. Our master craftsman has well over 30 years of experience refinishing and repairing wood furniture of all kinds. Find out why we’re the trusted refinisher for customers in San Marco, Riverside, Ortega, Fernandina Beach, and Jacksonville Beach, and trust your furniture restoration project to us!
Upholstery Shop Demonstrates Making Cloth Face Coverings
With the CDC recommending on April 3, 2020 that the general public wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, The First Coast Home Pros Family of Companies’ Jax Furniture Refinishing and Upholstering decided to put their upholstery shop to work during the crisis making fabric masks. This video demonstrates how to make these masks and provides some ideas for maintaining them. Please refer to the CDC’s official recommendations here and here for the best information. Also note that cloth face coverings (or fabric masks) are an additional, voluntary public health measure to help slow the spread of the virus, as an additional complement to prior CDC recommendations. The First Coast Home Pros Family of Companies is sharing this video for informational purposes only and does not intend to suggest that these masks can stop COVID-19.
Common Furniture Styles Throughout American History
It’s fascinating to see periods of history reflected in the artwork, fashion, and furniture of the time. As passionate proponents of antique restoration, at Jax Furniture, we’re very interested in design features and techniques of furniture making throughout American history. Here’s a brief overview of the most popular furniture styles in America:
- William & Mary (Late 1600s – mid 1700s) – This style is named for William, the King of England at this time. When colonists ventured to America, they brought their English furniture styles and traditions, practical and sturdy, with them. Crisp lines, exaggerated moldings, and the bold grains of maple or walnut veneer earmark the period.
- Queen Anne (Mid to late 1700s) – Furniture styles became more delicate than those of the William & Mary time. The name of the style is a nod to the new Queen of England, though furniture designers had begun developing their own style here in the states. Poplar, cherry, and maple were the most popular woods used in furniture making, and the “japanning” technique (combining ashes with varnish before application) became popular.
- Chippendale (Later 1700s) – Renown cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale was deeply influenced by ancient cultures, resulting in ornate scrolls and ribbons, Gothic arches, and columns appearing in furniture design. He wrote a highly influential book, and these design elements were emulated by his followers everywhere, though regional design elements and were incorporated.
- Shaker (Late 1700s to mid 1800s) – Known for clean lines and no-fuss aesthetic, this style is a reflection on the belief system of the Shaker people, who lived by a strict set of moral beliefs that dictated a simplistic approach to life.
- American Empire, also known as Classical (Early 1800s) – The Empire style emerged with heavy emphasis on Greece, Egypt, Rome, and other ancient cultures. Furniture design incorporated more ornamentation, inlays, and decorative mountings. Dark woods were used predominantly during this time, and wood was even painted black. American motifs, such as eagles, began to appear in design.
- Victorian (Mid to late 1800s) – The highly ornamented styles of the Empire period were made more elaborate during the Victorian period, just as was done in fashion and other elements of culture, in large part to reflect Queen Victoria’s love of ornamental styles.
- Gothic Revival (Mid 1800s) – During the Gothic period, a sub-category of the Victorian era, furniture design emulated architectural design and included, for example, turrets and pointed arches, with much carved detailing. Rosewood, mahogany, walnut, and oak were the favored woods of the time.
- Rococo Revival (Mid 1800s) – Also part of the Victoria period, the Rococo Revival period was high on ornamentation, including scalloped and scrolling designs, motifs of roses, and the inclusion of marble and cast-iron elements.
- Elizabethan (Late 1800s to Early 1900s) – Advancements in technology enabled machinery to be used more and more. Influenced by the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the designs of this period are considered highly feminine, typically with carved or painted flowers and the incorporation of needlework upholstery.
- Louis XVI (Mid 1800s to Early 1900s) – Running in a similar timeline to the Elizabethan period, this period featured darker woods, such as ebony and rosewood, and incorporated motifs such as medallions, wreaths, and urns, to a similar degree of the Victorian design era.
- Arts & Crafts (1880-1910) – The Arts & Crafts trend was as strong in furniture design as it was in architectural design, merging form and function, and inviting the natural world inside. Oak was the wood primarily used, and natural materials such as copper and silver were used in inlays.
- Art Nouveau (1880-1910) – Though this period and its sweeping lines were exceedingly popular abroad, there was considerably less interest among American designers, due in part to the fact that the curvilinear forms did not lend well to mass production.
- Art Deco (1925-1940s) – The same design elements that comprised the architecture and fashion in this era were represented in furniture design as well: expensive materials, including stained glass, chrome, steel, and lacquered wood, along with crisp straight lines and a preference for symmetry.
- Mid-Century Modern (1933-1965) – This movement focused on a natural form but with a modernist twist. Minimalist lines, sleek angles, and a combination of natural wood, often teak and walnut, are hallmarks of this era in furniture design.
- Minimalist (1960s to modern day) – Like anything minimal, Minimalist furniture design is stripped down to its fundamental essence. New materials, including aluminum, plastic, and vinyl were introduced during this period. More recently, of course, the tendency toward “green” materials and responsible source has emerged, along with an increased emphasis on restoring antique wood furniture.
From the trendy to the timeless, and from the Rococo to the Minimalist, a highly rated professional furniture restoration shop can repair, clean, and care for your beautiful furniture. Jax Furniture is the best antique restoration, refinishing, and reupholstery service, and the craftsmen to trust with your headboard, chest, armoire, sofa, and dining room set. Our customers in Atlantic Beach, Ponte Vedra, Mandarin, and Riverside trust us with their furniture, and we’d love the opportunity to provide the same service for you too.
Can Humidity Damage My Wood Furniture?
Sturdy, well-made, hardwood furniture can last for generations when properly protected. Routine dusting protects the wood from being etched by dust particles. Positioning your wood furniture away from sunlight protects it from damage from UV rays. Moisture is another thing your wood furniture needs protection from, though it can be trickier to manage. When there’s not enough moisture in the air, the wood can become so dry that it cracks. However, if there’s too much moisture in the air, the wood can swell or warp.
Here are tips for monitoring the humidity in your home in order to protect your wood furniture:
- In order for wood furniture to be protected from moisture damage, the humidity level inside the house should be between 45-55%. Some experts argue that temperature should remain between 60-80 degrees in order for wood furniture to remain fully protected.
- Wood absorbs and loses moisture as its environment changes. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier in order to keep the inside of your home within the ideal range of 45-55% humidity.
- Avoid making sudden, drastic changes to the temperature or humidity level in your home. Wood furniture reacts poorly to these sudden fluctuations.
Here in beautiful Jacksonville FL we generally enjoy mild winters and warm, sunny summers, though we also experience spikes and dips in temperature, and unseasonable weather at times. As you adjust your heat, air conditioning, and humidity levels in your home, remember to do so in a manner that will help preserve your favorite wood furniture so that you can continue to enjoy it for years to come.
When your furniture requires restoration, call on a great local wood furniture restoration service. Jax Furniture Refinishing and Upholstering is the best furniture restoration service Jacksonville FL, Ortega, Ponte Vedra Beach, and Riverside homeowners trust with heirloom antique furniture of all kinds. Our Southside upholstery shop offers repairs, antique restoration, reupholstery services, cushion foam replacement, and more, and we’d love the opportunity to care for or repair your fine wood furniture.