Q: How do I choose a refinisher?

A: There are many factors that you should consider. Reputation, years in business, quality of work, scope of work, and price are just a few. We recommend that you visit the shop that you are planning on using. Most reputable shops welcome your visit and many will even give you a tour. This will usually give you an opportunity to see what service the shop provides, how busy they are, how professional they are and what their finished product looks like. You will know a good shop when you see it.

Q: Do you buy or sell furniture?

A: No, we do not buy or sell. We are a service related business and will be happy to work on any furniture that you have but we do not have a retail business except for Furniture Care Products, Table Pads and Replacement Hardware.

Q: Do you pick up or deliver?

A: Yes, we have a fourteen foot cube van and can pick up or deliver almost all of the pieces that we refinish. We do not, however, pick up and deliver pianos. Call us to make arrangements. A fee may apply.

Q: Do you make appraisals?

A: No, we do not do any appraising. We can tell you about the quality of a piece and the approximate age, which may be helpful in determining if you would be interested in having the piece refinished. There are many LICENSED AND INSURED APPRAISERS in the area. You may want to consult your insurance agent or the local phone directory.

Q: Do you do upholstery?

A: No, we do not do upholstery. We can recommend one or co-ordinate the refinishing work with your upholsterer.

Q: Will my furniture be devalued by refinishing?

A: Articles that are extremely old (prior to the mid-1800) or are historically important should be evaluated before refinishing. These pieces may need restoration as opposed to refinishing. The great majority of pieces will actually increase in value and appeal and will have their usefulness and life prolonged with a professional refinishing and proper care by the owner.

Q: Is my furniture worth refinishing?

A: With the exception of the rare collectable piece (as mentioned in the previous FAQ) most furniture is limited in its resale value.
The best way to determine this is to visit a local refinishing establishment. They should be able to help you determine the quality of the piece in question. This will also allow you to see the quality of the work done by the shop. Many times the finishes that are applied by a professional refinisher are superior to those that are applied in furniture factories. Other factors that may affect your decision are the need to have it match another piece of furniture or woodwork (color matching), the desire to change the color or have a custom finish (i.e. pickled), or an emotional attachment (such as a gift or a family heirloom). Compare the cost of refinishing with the cost of a similar piece from a quality furniture store. The odds are good that your furniture is made of higher quality materials and better constructed than a piece that you would purchase from the furniture store.
Do your part to conserve our natural resources, have it refinished.

Q: Do you dip strip the furniture?

A: No, we do not have a dip system.
We use a flow-over system for the majority of our stripping. This system consists of a large (4’ X 8’) pan that has a drain on one end. The remover, which is thin like water, is collected in a five gallon bucket and pumped through a nylon bristle brush. After the finish is removed the piece is rinsed with water and allowed to dry. This system is more costly to operate than a dip system but saves time in the prep and repair stages of refinishing. I will not loosen joints or veneers that are in sound condition.
On some pieces we use a semi-paste version of our remover and occasionally we need to use solvents (i.e. lacquer thinner or alcohol) in order to safely strip a piece.

Q: How long does it take to refinish a piece?

A: Usually we will need four to six weeks to refinish your furniture whether it is a single piece of and entire bedroom or dining room outfit. Special arraignments can, sometimes, be made to expedite work but we cannot rush drying times.

Q: What can I expect my furniture to look like when it is done?

A: We strive to give our customer the finish that they want, and strongly encourage the customer to assist in achieving their desired results. This can be a finish that makes the piece look aged or brand new. We can match a sample (such as a drawer of another piece) or have you come in to “direct us” when we are ready for color. You can have your choice of sheens (flat, dull, satin, semi-gloss, or gloss). You may also opt to have a formal (rubbed out) finish on a table top. We also offer custom finishes. New hardware can make a dramatic difference in the appearance of a piece.
You can come in and look through our photo albums to see what kind of difference a quality finish can make.

Q: Is refinishing expensive?

A: Refinishing is a labor intensive service. A quality refinishing job, while not cheap, will probably be to the cost of purchasing a new piece of similar quality. Spot repairs, top only, or cleaning and touch-up can considerably reduce your expense.

Q: Can you just repair without refinishing?

A: Yes, we quite often re-glue, or repair furniture without refinishing it. We are capable of making replacement parts (rockers, legs, filler boards, etc.) and finishing them to match. We also can replace cane, rush and fiber seats.

Q: How should I care for my furniture?

A: If the finish on your furniture is in good condition you should do the following.

  1. Try to maintain a constant humidity and temperature in your home. Temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees and a relative humidity of 45 to 55 percent are ideal.
  2. Protect it from ultra-violet light. This is hard on both the finish and the wood.
  3. Protect against extreme heat, cold or moisture. Use coasters, trivets or table pads.
  4. Dust regularly. Use a treated dust cloth ( we sell Guardsman brand) or a soft lint free cloth. Dust is an abrasive and can scratch the surface, so be careful.
  5. Polish with a water-emulsified furniture polish three to four times a year. We sell Guardsman brand polish in the concentrate and in the aerosol can. DO NOT OVER POLISH.
  6. If you have a waxy build up you will need to clean it off before polishing. Use Murphy’s Oil Soap or naphtha to remove any residue.
  7. Wipe up spills and wet rings as soon as possible.
  8. Don’t polish brass hardware while it is on the furniture.
  9. Don’t drag furniture. This can break legs, chip feet and loosen joints. If it has casters, two people should gently guide it to its new location, otherwise it should be carried. Never hurry!
  10. Don’t sit on furniture that is not designed to be sat on, and don’t lean back in chairs.


Reprint— Finishing & Restoration (formerly Professional Refinishing Magazine), June 2002

Is refinishing bad?

In our trade magazine "Finishing & Restoration" (formerly Professional Refinishing), the wisdom of restoring/refinishing antique and older furniture was discussed/debated at some length. Some opinions mirrored the public's general perception that restoration and refinishing are to be avoided. The misperception was fueled largely by a general misunderstanding that resulted from various airings of the television show "Antiques Roadshow" on PBS. It got to the point where many people believed it was unwise to restore/refinish almost any piece of furniture!

The editor of the magazine, Bob Flexner, contacted the shows' producers and explained the impact the misunderstanding was having on the public's perception concerning restoring/refinishing older and antique furniture. Peter B. Cook, executive producer of the television program, wrote a response that was published in the June 2002 issue of the magazine. Here are some excerpts from the article (underline added for emphasis);

"A while ago, we at Antiques Roadshow received a letter from Professional Refinishing editor Bob Flexner, pointing out that our apparent obsession (my word, not his) with 'original finish' has had the effect of misleading the public about what repairing and refinishing actually do to the value of furniture - most furniture, that is.

We're now in our sixth season of Antiques Roadshow on PBS... This means, of course, that there's a real premium on the accuracy, dependability and usefulness of the information we provide. ... I'd hate to think that we've created a subset of American furniture owners living in dread of a fatal financial misstep (though Antiques Roadshow is, after all, a show about value, including market value). ... Still, if I'm reading things correctly, it sounds as if Roadshow furniture experts are saying, by and large, 'leaving things alone is good, refinishing is bad.'

Understandably, our Americana experts on the Roadshow live for wonderful old pieces of furniture that have somehow survived in terrific condition - pieces not used too hard, left out in strong light for long periods of time or forced to survive a flooded cellar. Most old furniture, of course, doesn't come close to meeting those standards. On the contrary, most furniture has been well used (even abused), scratched, broken, and often repaired many times. How could such furniture not be improved by a good job of refinishing or restoring? ... A secretary, made by Christian Shively in about 1820, was brought to the Indianapolis tapings this year. It had been stripped and refinished by the owner to remove paint that had been applied many decades earlier. Appraiser John Hays endorsed the need for refinishing and complimented the quality of the work.

... So where does that leave us? Let the record show that Antiques Roadshow generally agrees with this notion: Well-conceived and well-executed refinishing and restoration usually enhances the value of just about any piece of old furniture. Exceptions are those rare (often museum-quality) pieces that have somehow survived in great 'original' condition. If we say or imply to the contrary, we should be called on it."

"Well-conceived and well-executed refinishing and restoration usually enhances the value..."


507 Main Street, Genoa, OH 43430
(419) 855-8226


Home | Our History | Services | Tips & FAQ's | Testimonials | Contact
Our Commitment To Privacy
Your privacy is important to us. To better protect your privacy we provide this notice explaining our online information practices and the
choices you can make about the way your information is collected and used. To make this notice easy to find,
we make it available on our homepage and at every point where personally identifiable information may be requested.