How do I repair/restore dry wood furniture?

I recently bought a table and chairs that need restoring. The table and chairs have been sitting in a metal storage container for a long time and the wood has dried out and the spokes have lifted on the bottom rails and seem to have shrunk and won't go back into the holes. How do I fix this? I want this very old table and chairs to be restored to it's beauty again.

The spokes have come out of the base but remain in the top and don't seem to be long enough anymore. I know the set has been sitting in a metal container for some years and survived a wild fire in which everything around this container burned down. I think heat from the fire and the weather has shrunk the spokes some how. The wood seems very dry. I thought to wash it all with a brush then put Murphy's on it but not sure if that is the correct procedure.

  7 answers
  • Dee Dee on Jun 10, 2020

    Use Paste Wax

    Depending on the state of deterioration, there are several options for rejuvenating a dull wood-finish. For a dry finish, but one that hasn't suffered severe damage, try applying a coat of ordinary paste wax.

    Apply paste wax with a soft cloth (Image 1) and rub it into the pores of the wood using a tight, circular motion. Paste wax is easy to apply, and is an effective treatment since it can be worked deep into the wood. Once it penetrates the wood, it hardens to form a protective seal much like an automotive wax.

    After applying the wax and rubbing it into the wood, allow it to begin to dry. After about five minutes, use a clean, dry rag to buff the finish. Buff in the direction of the grain (Image 2) to remove excess wax and create a low-luster sheen. This results in a subtle finish that is appropriate for an antique -- rather than a shiny, high-gloss. or try Formbys or Howards furniture finish from Lowes or Home Depot

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    • Dee Dee on Jun 11, 2020

      Stephanie, it looks like a beautiful set. It is nice that you want to preserve it. Good luck and let us know how it comes out.

      I just used paste wax with a buffer on my old dining room table and it has a mirror shine and a nice coat. really brought out all the woods.

  • on Jun 10, 2020

    we swear by Howard’s Feed’n wax for restoring old wood finishes. So easy and the results are beautiful!

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jun 10, 2020

    The spindles do appear to be shrunken in size from their neighbors, you may have to handle this with wood filler, unless you want to replace all the spindles for uniformity, they will not expand to their original height and refill the holes they were in.

    You need a wax treatment to restore (hopefully) the original patina of the wood, this is a beautiful set. Please be patient for it's restoration. Good advice from Dee.

  • Baxter Baxter on Jun 10, 2020

    Howard Citrus Shield Paste Wax was the #1 choice and best reviewed by professional restorers of wood furniture for 2020. I also think it is the best wood treatment available and use it whenever I'm restoring or just cleaning and sprucing up antique furniture. This wax works because it provides a barrier that absorbs into the wood grain sealing the surface and helping to repel moisture, dust, and scratches. I use it over chalk paint that I have to polycrylic, in order to get that waxed buttery finish. I love the stuff.

  • Peggy L Burnette Peggy L Burnette on Jun 10, 2020

    Hi Stephanie, this is beautiful. Hope this helps you restore your great find. Good luck How to Restore Wooden Furniture: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

    1. Remove all dirt, grime, and grease with a rag and all-purpose cleaner. You need to thoroughly …Sand off the finish with coarse sandpaper. Use a sanding block or electric sander with coarse grit …Wipe away the dust when you are done sanding off the finish. Use a cleaning brush or tack cloth to …Sand the wood with fine-grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface. Switch to finer grit sandpaper, …

  • William William on Jun 10, 2020

    You don't show the top back splat. Check the top back splat where the spindles still are connected. it may have warped up and pulled the spindles from the bottom splat. I have never seen wood shrink that much. You may have to use hot damp cloths on the top and bottom splats and clamps or rope to bring them back to shape.