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FURNITURE FIX-UPS JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

If you're hosting upcoming holiday parties, you want your home to look its best. If the wood table has watermarks, the dining room chairs are wobbly, or the couch's upholstery is unsightly, consider doing some furniture "TLC."

Easy, minor touch-ups can make your furniture look like new, and your local Ace Hardware store has the products you need to give your furniture a fresh look.

Here are several furniture fix-up suggestions to get your home ready for holiday entertaining:

Repair a Wobbly Chair

If a chair is so wobbly that there's an old paperback jammed under the leg for balance, it's time for a repair. Knock the loose joint apart with a hammer. Then, with sandpaper or steel wool, remove any old glue from both parts that need to be reattached. If the glue is difficult to take off, try adding vinegar to it. Spread wood glue on both surfaces and then, using a wood clamp or tourniquet, apply pressure on the chair joint for 24 hours allowing the glue ample time to dry. Adding a small screw to the joint will assure a tight hold.

Fix a Furniture Spindle

If your chair's spindle is separated from its socket because of playful pets or years of use, you can re-secure it with a little elbow grease. Use a high-speed cutter to thoroughly remove old glue from the rung and inside of the socket. Then coat the end of the spindle and the inside of the socket with carpenter's glue, and wrap silk thread around the end of the spindle. Clamp and let settle overnight.

Remove Residue from Wood

Some common residue can be removed without the help of a professional furniture refinisher. Bear in mind, though, that you should always test your remedy in a small, inconspicuous area first just to be sure it doesn't damage the finish. For watermarks and rings caused by cups without coasters, use a wood amalgamator like Howard's Restore-A-Finish or Formby's® Conditioning Furniture Refinisher. Use with #0000 steel wool. The more zeros in the code, the finer the weave is. Drench the wool and squeeze out lightly. Apply pressure with the grain, and your woodwork will look like new again. Finish by wiping clean with a tack cloth.

Cloths referred to as white ring removers also work to remove marks caused by heat and water and even minor scratches and will not remove finish from the wood surface.

If candle wax is the culprit, harden the substance by holding an ice cube wrapped in cloth against it. Then, use a plastic credit card or a dull knife to scrape it off. Rub the wax with an extra-fine steel wool dipped in mineral spirits, wipe dry and set with wax or polish.

Upholding Your Upholstery

Many furniture fabrics carry an upholstery code, usually found on a label under the cushions, which gives specific instructions on the proper methods for cleaning that fabric type. Typically, vacuuming and light brushing to remove dirt and grime is recommended as well as spot cleaning with an upholstery shampoo or mild solvent.

Always patch testing the cleaner on the fabric first to ensure it doesn't shrink or discolor. It's a good idea to treat leather every year or so with a leather oil or conditioner. These products will keep the leather from cracking and remain more pliable to avoid rips and tears.

Happy Holidays!

-Lou

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