Flood damaged furniture - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-13-2013, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Flood damaged furniture

I will be inspecting some flood damaged solid wood furniture tomorrow where the customer desires to have it restored.
I know that there will be some water marks remaining from the flood and that prompts me to ask,
"Is there a way to remove them?"

I don't believe that they can be sanded out but I do believe that I could darken the furniture to hide them, if that is what the customer wants.

I think this situation is similar to water soaked drywall - the minerals in the material turn it brown which at that point can be hidden by painting over it with a primer.

Stripping & bleaching may also be a cure for this problem


Last edited by dlb; 06-13-2013 at 12:08 PM.
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-13-2013, 01:06 PM
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Most stains in wood that has been through a flood are "mineral" stains. Think of black wet glass rings on tables. Mineral stains are removed or reduced by using a bleach called oxalic acid. You can get it in most real paint stores and I've seen it in some big box stores.

Follow the directions on the packaging.

That said, furniture that has been through a flood can have all sorts of damage and contaminates. In many cases, any remaining finish needs to be closely inspected to see if it needs to be removed with a chemical paint stripper.

If you are considering painting, then first use a primer containing shellac but be sure that the wood is thoroughly dried.

As a final thought, there are companies that specialize in restoring flooded furniture. You may want to have the stuff inspected by one of those types of firms.

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post #3 of 7 Old 06-13-2013, 02:52 PM
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If there was only water and mud you can use a two part wood bleach. If it was contaminated with ANY sewage it must by law be destroyed. Looked at a house full of beautiful antiques that had to go to the dump due to contamination by sewage.
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-13-2013, 05:19 PM
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A lot depends on what kind of wood it was and how long it was in water. If it was red oak and in water for a couple of days you might as well trash it. A lot of times regular refinishing is enough to clean up water damage. Sometimes it takes bleach or oxalic acid to clean it up. Probably more important than stains is the structure of the pieces and if the water has caused any glue joint failure or warpage.
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-14-2013, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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I examined 4 chairs and 1 4-poster bed today. I found only surface, no structural damage so the repairs will fall in the relm of coloring and finishing.
Thanks to everyone who responded!
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-15-2013, 06:28 AM
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Um, the glues are also weakened.
Also fasteners will tend to rust.
The wood needs dried to a proper moisture content again, and warping can or will happen.
It's not all about the finish.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-15-2013, 06:59 AM
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Your course of action may be directed by how bad the damage is. Pictures would help. If there was a finish on the piece, it helped to be "resistant". Letting it dry out completely will give you a better idea of what it might need.

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