Often the worst thing you can do is refinish furniture. I’m not referring to the idea of keeping finishes original but rather to the incorrect refinishing of furniture.
Some times the only way to keep a piece from being tossed into the dump is to refinish it – Been there, understand that. When I moved away on my own at 18 years of age I skulked through antique stores and pawn shops to find the cheapest furniture I could get, secure in the knowledge that I could make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. I still have some of these pieces…
But sometimes, the decisions around refinishing can affect the future value of the piece in spite of its improved condition. That’s what happened to the C1890’s dresser above.
The condition is good but the orange stain has seriously eroded its value. What novice refinishers forget is that the colour of the natural wood will affect the colour of the stain. That’s why stain companies show stain against different kinds of wood. The finish applied to the piece after staining can also affect the final colour as some finishes get more yellow with age.
The biggest problem is that nothing else that has its original finish will ever match this dresser because that colour never existed. The same goes for staining oak rocking chairs with a mahogany stain in an attempt to match other mahogany furniture in a person’s possession.
So go ahead, refinish. Just do your research and make smart choices.