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Prolonging the Useful Life of Wooden Furniture

When wooden furniture starts showing signs of age, you can convert it to a new use or repair and refinish it to give it a whole new, green life — and you can do it yourself! Repurposing reduces your burden on the waste stream and reinforces your eco-friendly principles.

The following sections show you some ways you might save old wooden furniture from the trash heap be repairing or repurposing them.

Refinishing basics

The basic steps for refinishing include identifying the existing finish, cleaning it or stripping or sanding it down as needed, and applying the new finish or renewing the old finish according the instructions of the product you’re using.

Always use the least toxic products available. Water-based paint or stain products are much friendlier to the environment than oil-based products; those that release few or no volatile organic compounds (they’re labeled as low- or no-VOC) are even better. If you can’t find eco-friendly paints or stains locally, try www.greenbuildingsupply.com.

Refurbish a set of wooden drawers

Repurpose an old dresser or turn solidly constructed secondhand furniture into a family heirloom by reinforcing and repainting it.

Convert drawers to under-bed storage

Add wheels or casters to the base of a drawer and push it under the bed for extra storage. Measure the distance from the floor to your bed frame first, and don’t forget to account for the height of the wheels.

Cure wobbly chair legs

You can fix loose, wobbly chair legs instead of discarding the chair. A quick fix for chairs that aren’t too valuable is to insert small metal strips between the rung and the hole that the rung fits into. The strips, which you can find at a hardware store, grab both surfaces and make the chair wobble no more. Home improvement stores also sell a glue-based product that you inject into the space between the rung and its hole to firm things up.

Making old, wobbly chairs sturdy again can be cheap and easy.
Making old, wobbly chairs sturdy again can be cheap and easy.
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