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How do darken a piece of furniture

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A star of QuestTV’s hit restoration show Salvage Hunters, Alex Webster has given us a series of his top hacks for those everyday household jobs.

Dark wood is becoming one of the hottest household trend for 2018, but achieving this style doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a whole load of new furniture. Follow these simple tips on darkening a piece of furniture, and you’ll have stylish feature pieces without incurring the costs.

Here’s how to darken a piece of furniture

To darken a piece of furniture, it usually needs to be brought down to its bare wood state. This can be done by sanding or by using a varnish stripper or methylated spirit and wire wool, but this is often the most time-consuming part of the darkening process. Once stripped, paint a coat of stain over the piece as even as possible, ensuring no brush marks are visible. Use a stain that reflects the shade you desire.

The dye should not take long to dry and will then need to be sealed with a neat coat of French polish. Again, paint this on evenly to avoid an excessive tacky looking finish. If the furniture is still too light, apply another coat of stain exactly the same way and then apply another coat of French polish to seal.

Once you’re happy with the shade of colour, add a thinned coat of French polish for a finer finish. This needs to be left overnight to harden, before using a good dark coloured wax to achieve a softer more natural finish.

Be sure to try any of these techniques on a discreet area before tackling the more visible, larger areas. They might not suit your piece and you do not want to cause costly damage. Build your skills and confidence steadily. 

We’ve seen them at work on Salvage Hunters, restoring, repairing and refining Drew’s finds but for the first time, SALVAGE HUNTERS: THE RESTORERS is going behind-the-scenes with this expert team to see what it really takes to transform junk into gems.

The brand-new series is packed with process, craftsmanship and expert techniques, as it follows the skilled restorers working at Drew’s base in Conwy, and travels to specialist artisans - from blacksmiths to gilders and electricians to sculptors – who will each demonstrate their unique skillsets.