Preserving Patina

by Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

When I first started working on old furniture, I would give everything a very good sanding before re-staining and adding a new finish. However after I went to work for an antique restoration shop while I was in college, I soon learned that not every piece should be treated the same way. Here are some tips to help guide you in the right direction.

1. If the piece has already been finished once and is still in overall good condition, there's a good chance that only a fine (320-400 grit) sanding will be needed. This will help to ensure that much of the original color or "Patina" will be retained.

2. If only a part of the piece is damaged in any way, sand just this area as much as needed, then fine sand the rest of the piece.

3. When more than fine sanding is needed, be sure to sand the entire area to one uniform color, leaving no light or dark edges.

4. When you are finished with the sanding, wet the entire area with mineral spirits to check your work for uniformity. Sand again where necessary.

5. If all looks good and even, you are ready to move on to the color and finishing stage of your restoration project.



Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:

French Polishing, January 20, 2010

Antique Restoration Workshop, January 23-24, 2010

Wood Coloring Basics , February 10, 2010

Furniture Repair , February 20, 2010

French Polishing, February 24, 2010

Spray Finishing, February 27, 2010

Scott Antiques Mall Treasure Hunt, March 13, 2010

Visit Highland Woodworking's Online Wood Finishing Supplies Department




Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net.


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