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  • 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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.

    What Does High Quality Furniture Really Look Like?

    Customers regularly ask us how to know if their furniture is high quality.  Others want to know how to identify quality furniture so that they can invest in great pieces for their home.  Here are 3 qualities of excellent furniture that is worth the investment:

    • Age – Antique furniture has the quality “built in.” In decades past, furniture was made entirely of solid wood and other choice materials, with no substitutions or filler.  Instead of glue, furniture was held together by dowel joints, dovetail joints, and the like.  Furniture was made by hand rather than by machine.  If you find an antique that you love, even if it’s not in perfect shape, it’s still a good investment and still high quality furniture – you simply need to find a great local furniture refinishing shop to restore it to the look you want for your home.
    • Choice Materials– Solid wood furniture is perennially a good investment.Hard woods such as oak, cherry, walnut, maple, and beech can create tables, chairs, dressers, and armoires that can be used for generations.  High quality fabrics feel luxurious to the touch.  Whether a piece is an antique or produced recently, if high quality materials were used to construct it, you can confidently invest in it.
    • Construction – Anything made by hand is generally higher in quality that anything mass produced in a factory. The same is true of furniture.  If you have the opportunity to purchase solid wood furniture that was constructed by hand, you can feel good about the investment.

    High quality furniture will last for generations, provided it’s taken care of. Take precaution to avoid water marks, dents, gashes, and scratches in your wood furniture.  Dust furniture routinely and keep it out of direct sunlight. When the time comes to repair or refinish high quality furniture, you should find an equally high-quality furniture restoration shop!  Jax Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering is the best Jacksonville FL furniture restoration company and the shop to trust with your fine wood furniture and heirloom antiques.  Our craftsmen have extensive experience repairing and hand-detailing all types of furniture – just ask our customers throughout Nocatee, St. Augustine, Atlantic Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, and Jacksonville.  Trust your quality furniture to us!

    5 Popular Finishes for Wood Furniture

    Fine wood furniture needs the right finish, not only to make it look beautiful, but also to protect it from moisture, scratches, UV rays, and other such damage.  There are seemingly endless choices of finish available, however, so how do you begin finding the right one for your wood table, dining room set, or antique chair?

    Here are 5 of the best finishes for wood furniture:

    • Lacqueris still considered one of the best all-around wood finishes because it’s durable, dries quickly, and provides great depth and warmth to the wood.  Be forewarned that it can yellow over time and is heat-sensitive so take those things into account as you plan the refinishing project as well as where you’ll keep the furniture afterwards.
    • Linseed oil and tung oilare the oils most commonly used in wood finishing.  These oils are penetrating finishes, meaning they will penetrate the fibers of the wood before hardening as they cure.These oils are easy to apply.  You generally just wipe them onto the furniture with an old towel, give them time to penetrate the wood, and then wipe away the excess.
    • Shellacis a natural resin mixed with additives that make it easier to apply.It’s available in numerous colors, and it’s interesting to note that the sap of the tree which the resin was harvested from influences the color.  Be advised that some shellacs are blended with wax, and this can decrease the ability of the shellac to resist wear.
    • Varnishis composed of synthetic resins mixed with oils.Varnish cures like oils, but once cured is more durable due to the resins in its makeup.  Varnish is applied with a brush or an old towel.
    • Water-based finishescontain some of the same ingredients as shellac and varnish, but water is used in place of certain flammable ingredients. Though water-based finishes are durable, they do not resist heat as well as oil-based finishes.

    When you decide on the best finish for your wood furniture, set aside adequate time to apply it and get ready for a great DIY project.  Or, simply call on a good furniture refinishing company in your area and trust the professionals with your furniture.  There are many great Jacksonville FL furniture refinishing companies who can advise you about the right finish for your furniture, and help you plan the project from start to finish.  Jax Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering is trusted name in furniture restoration and the best company Jacksonville FL, Southside, Nocatee, Atlantic Beach, and Ponte Vedra Beach homeowners call on for their furniture needs.

    How to Choose the Right Furniture for the Room

    Changing the look of a room, or moving into a new home and furnishing it from the ground up can be both daunting and exhilarating. How do you choose the best furniture for your home?  We’ve got 4 tips to help you find the furniture you want!

    • Consider the room. Measure and calculate the dimensions of your living room so that as you shop around for the best furniture, you’ll know the size of the area you’re looking to furnish. While you’re at it, don’t forget to measure the doorways too so that you can be sure your new furniture will fit when it gets delivered.  Think about how you’ll use the room.  Will it be a seldom-used guest room?  Or will it be the place the family gathers at the end of every day?
    • Start with the “basics” and then add things in. Be sure that, at a minimum, you include the basics for the room.  For a guestroom, this means you’ll need at least a bed, dresser, end table, and mirror. For a living room, you’ll need a sofa (or loveseat if your home is small), an armchair or two, a coffee table, and an end table.  Once you locate and decide on the right items from that list, go on to include other pieces.
    • Surround yourself with things you love. Your home is your refuge, so make it look like what you and your family want to come home to!  Paint the walls your favorite colors, pick fabrics that reflect your taste, and hang art on the walls that you love to look at.  Just as importantly, you should find the furniture that you love and which suits your needs.  Don’t settle for a chair that doesn’t feel comfortable to sit in, or for a dining room table that is too small to accommodate the guests you’d like to invite to gatherings.
    • Invest in high quality furniture. Buy solid, sturdy pieces that will stand up to the test of time.  With pieces like this, you’ll be able to use them for years or decades, and you’ll be able to refinish and reupholster the furniture at a high-quality furniture refinishing shop whenever needed.  When selecting upholstered furniture, find fabrics that are stain resistant, as well as high quality.  You’ll be glad you did, particularly if you have children or pets in the home.  Avoid furniture made of particle board, MDF, and flimsy materials.  These pieces will not hold up, nor will they be able to be restored or refinished if they sustain damage.

    It’s important to have a great furniture refinishing shop in mind for any repairs that need to be made as well as when the time comes to refinish or reupholster your favorite furniture.  Jax Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering is the best furniture refinisher Jacksonville FL homeowners need for their antiques and other favorite furniture. We’re the trusted furniture reupholstery shop for clients in Atlantic Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, San Marco, Nocatee, and all over downtown Jacksonville.  We specialize in furniture restoration and we’d love to take care of your furniture for you!

    5 Signs that Your Wood Furniture Needs to Be Refinished

    Your dresser, end tables, side table, dining room furniture, and other wood furniture receives daily use, and it will inevitably start to show evidence of wear and tear.  Here are five signs that it’s time to either plan your DIY wood refinishing project or find a great furniture refinishing shop in your area:

    • The surface of the wood feels sticky even after it’s been dusted. Wood furniture does not require solvents and cleaning solutions to make it clean.  In fact, you should ONLY dust your wood furniture with a clean, dry, microfiber cloth or other such cloth.  However, if even after you’ve dusted your furniture it feels sticky or tacky, it’s time for the furniture to be refinished.
    • The existing finish has cracked, and the wood underneath is exposed.If the wood is exposed, that means the finish can no longer do its job to protect that wood, and it’s time to call on a highly rated wood refinishing shop to give it a fresh coating.
    • The finish is flaking or chipping off. When the finish flakes, chips, or peels, that means it’s failing and needs to be removed with a fresh finish coat applied.
    • Watermarks, dents, dings, scratches, and blemishes are present.Sometimes even if the finish is intact, the furniture has gotten enough use to merit restoration.  Scratches, dents, and other such blemishes just indicate the furniture receives a lot of use, so why not treat it to a custom restoration or refinishing job so that you can get it back in shape and continue using it?
    • You’re considering discarding it. If you find yourself wanting to donate or throw away your wood furniture, stop and think about this.  Could you fall in love with it again if it had a fresh coat of varnish?  Or if it was restored in a different finish?

    Your wood furniture is valuable, whether it represents an investment you made, or it’s an antique you inherited, or it’s just something you acquired and came to love.  Even well-built furniture requires maintenance and care!  A highly rated furniture refinishing shop in your area can restore your wood armoire, chest, or headboard to its original splendor.

    Homeowners throughout Jacksonville FL and the surrounding area call on Jax Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering when their antique furniture, wood furniture, and upholstered furniture needs repair or restoration.  We’re the best furniture refinishing service in Northeast Florida, including Riverside Avondale, San Marco, and all along the Beaches, and we’d love to take care of your wood refinishing project for you!

    4 Tips for Selecting the Best Furniture Upholstery

    When deciding on the perfect fabric for your custom upholstery project, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the seemingly endless array of choices!

    Here are tips for choosing a great fabric for your upholstery project:

    1. Be sure to choose an upholstery-weight fabric. Upholstered furniture receives heavy use, some pieces more than others, and you want to be sure you’ve found a fabric that can withstand the stress of everyday life.
    2. Choose a fabric for your lifestyle. If you have kids and pets, you’ll need something far more durable than you would otherwise.  If you have a busy household, steer clear of delicate or textured options like silk, which can easily snag and are easily stained.
    3. Consider the shape and size of the furniture. If the furniture you’re reupholstering has a lot of curves to it, try to stay with solid color fabric and avoid stripes and patterns. Consider the size of the furniture too. For small pieces, for example, you might feel more apt to choose a bold, trendy “statement” fabric, whereas for a large sectional sofa, you might choose a solid color in a more neutral tone.
    4. Consider the other elements in the room. If you have a favorite work of art hanging in the same room as the furniture you’re reupholstering, you’ll want to be sure the fabric you select goes well with and enhances the item.  Or if you know you love the wall color, or the particular Oriental rug you have in that room, make sure to examine your fabric options next to these things to be sure they’ll look great together when you get the furniture back from the custom upholstery shop.

    Still feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of determining which fabric is best for your chaise, chair, or sectional sofa? The good news is that a great upholstery shop or refinishing shop will be staffed with experts to help you with the decision!  The best furniture upholstery services stock innumerable fabric swatch books for you to pour over, and encourage their craftsmen to meet with you to discuss the fabric – and other parts of the reupholstery process – so that you’re thrilled with the results.

    Jax Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering is the best furniture restoration service Jacksonville FL residents rely on for high quality refinishing and upholstering every time.  Our Southside shop is a hub of furniture restoration and renewal, and our clients throughout Atlantic Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Deerwood, San Marco, and Riverside know they can rely on our craftsmanship and decades of experience.  Call on us to make your upholstery project exceed your expectations!