Furniture Refinishing

Furniture Refinishing
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Monday, May 17, 2021

Restorations on Antique Furniture

  Our specialty is restoring old wooden furniture to help preserve history.  Call on Dave's Refinishing service, if you are looking to have special care on your pieces.  We have pickup and delivery service for most furniture we work on.  We work on only one or two customers at a time, to give your furniture the best possible attention to detail.  Call today and Dave will be happy to help with your #furniturerefinishing needs. 815/795-3417. or go to to learn more about Dave's services. Mobile Users Click to Call 815.795.3417

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Re-finishing without stripping

  I find it amusing that I keep hearing the phrase "refinish with out stripping".  Some places sell products that can hide scratches, that is wiped on to an existing finish, and they say re-finish with-out stripping.  Technically this is not possible.  These products are just a band-aid on a wound and most of the time it just makes a mess.  To re-finish, means to take off the old finish and put a new one on.  It is not possible to re-finish anything unless you take off the old finish.  Hence the word "Re".  Any other process is either a re-furbish, touch-up, re-work, or topcoat, not re-finish.  So if you want a piece re-finished, then the old finish has to be removed in order to do just that.  A finish on wood protects the wood and when ever someone puts something on top of an existing finish,they are messing with the finish and not replacing it.  Same thing with oils and polish.  People think that they are protecting the wood by polishing, but that is what the finish is for.  Polishes just mess with the finishes that are protecting the wood, and not the wood itself.  Hope this clears up some of the confusion caused by people trying to sell their furniture care products.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Wood Color Samples

  I occasionally get ask if I have any color samples to choose from.
In my business, I custom mix colors for each piece that I work on.
So I only have a few generic samples made up of some basic colors.
  When refinishing furniture, you never know what the piece will look like until it is stripped.  Because there are so many ways to color and finish furniture.  You can take two identical pieces and stain one brown and another golden oak.  Then after stripping them they may look similar to each other or completely different. It depends on the finish that was put on over the stain, the drying process, and also the brand and types of stain and finishes.  Once a piece has been finished, the wood is sealed. So after stripping a piece it will not absorb stain like it did when the wood was raw.  So this is why custom colors have to be made after we see the results of stripping.
  This is why I always ask my customers to bring me something they want to match to. Then we do all that is possible to match their choice.  It is best to bring something like a drawer, a door, or a small piece with the color they would like to achieve.  Sometimes we have to use toners, which is colored lacquers to adjust the colors.  This helps a lot.
  If I were a furniture manufacture, or a cabinet shop, I would have samples to choose from, because then we are starting out with new wood, and set colors and types of wood to choose from. This is the only time samples make sense.  There is just no way I can show a sample and honestly tell my customer your furniture will look just like this sample.  Because it might or it might not.  This is where the expertise comes in.  We have to custom make the colors for each piece in order to get close to the desired effects that the customer wants.
  So what I am trying to say, is if I made my samples the same as the furniture being worked on then stripped the sample, it will give an idea of the end results for the piece in question.  The problem is we have no idea what kind of stain, curing process, and finish that was used in the first place, so this option would be a big guessing game.
  I usually do not have any problems making the colors my customers want.  It is not easy to do, but that is why there are re-finishers like me to restore your piece the way you want it.  So when it comes to color samples, they just serve no productive purpose for my line of work.  They are only used as a guideline in color matching. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Polishing furniture or cleaning?

 When it comes to using a polish on wood furniture, I recommend only cleaners, such as Murphy's oil soap or a mild soapy solution.  If your  polish does not say cleaner on the label, then do not use it.  Oils from our own skin and every day grime can build up on furniture, especially where touched with hands often.  The oils from our skin builds up and start to soften and become part of the finish.  It makes the finish come off easily and can also turn the finish dark where handled.  When you try to clean it off, it will remove some of the finish with it.  If you  clean periodically with cleaner, it does not have a chance to soften the finish and weaken it.  Obviously the polish industry will not tell you this, because it would cut into their profits.  I have to thank them for keeping me busy restoring furniture that polish has destroyed.
  Most dirt and grime that gets on furniture is water soluble and will clean off easily with a damp rag.  I always tell my customers to use a damp rag followed by a dry soft cloth.  This is because some people use a wet rag and leave water residue on the surface, which is not recommended.  Water is woods worst enemy.  If your messes do not clean up with water, then you will end up calling a re-finisher like me, to fix the mess you make trying to clean things that should not have been near the furniture in the first place.  Like glues, oils and fingernail polish and removers just to name a few.
  Over the years I have also discovered that using polish on furniture makes it more susceptible to water rings, white marks from hot pads under a hot pot, and moisture trapped in the finish.  This is less likely to happen if polish is never used.  After about 6 years of using polish on furniture you will start to wonder why all the sudden you are having issues with the finish.
  A finish such a lacquer, paint, or varnish is put on wood to protect the wood.  When you use polish, you are not helping the wood that is sealed by the finish.  You are just messing with the finish, not the wood.  A lot of people think that the polish is protecting the wood,but that is what the finish is for.  When furniture looks dry and someone tells you to use an oil polish on to rejuvenate the wood, you are just messing with the finish and if the finish is worn off, then you just make it very difficult for a re-finisher like me to do a nice job.  That is because where ever the finish is missing, polished soaks into the wood itself and discolors it and also make it difficult for a new finish adhere properly.
  Remember that a finish, is what gives the furniture it's sheen and protects the wood.  Not the polishes.  Polishes just make the furniture in your home, need restorations.  If this happens to you, call me at 815/795-3417 and I will help you get your furniture back to looking like it should.........Dave F.
 Dave's Touch-Ups, Inc. Marseilles, Illinois.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Prices Increases keep hurting us all.

   For three years in a row we keep getting notices from our material suppliers, that due to the cost of making and shipping finish materials, there has been an increase in cost that is really getting way out of hand. With EPA regulations, taxes, and special shipping fees, we also must increase our refinishing cost. Starting April 30th 2013, we will be increasing our prices by 15%, which is less than the increases we have had to endure over the last three years. We can no longer stay in business, unless we push this cost on to our customers. With todays gas prices, this is not helping our economy at all.
 We will continue to try and save our customers money in any way we can and will continue to be competitive in the industry. We strive to give our customers the best prices we possibly can. Please understand, that we do not have a choice if we want to stay in the refinishing business. We will try to find the best materials, but we all know we get what we pay for. So we will not settle on cheap brands, that do not hold up well or meet our top quality standards.
  We promise, at Dave's Touch-Ups, Inc., you will not pay more than your fair share.
 Please visit us at our official web page. to learn more about Dave's services.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Water is Woods worst enemy

Water is the cause of most of my work. I get furniture with raised grain and water rings from a glass sitting on the furniture with out a coaster. I have seen the best finishes get ruined by water. Floods, leaky ceilings and spills that don't get cleaned up in time. Most finishes can hold up to water, but only for so long. If it sits on a finish long enough, it will either make a ring or penetrate the finish and start attacking the wood. The best thing you can do is use coasters, and wipe up any water as soon as possible. Some finishes are more prone to damage, because they have to much polish built up on them. This increases the chance of white water rings. I recommend you clean your furniture with a damp cloth followed by a soft dry cloth. Polish is not needed, as the finish is what is supposed to make the wood look good. When you polish furniture, you are polishing the finish, and it just builds up over time. Most dirt and grime is water soluble and will clean off just fine with a damp cloth. If you can not get it off with this method, then you are probably in trouble already, and may need more than a cleaning to remove it. An example would be fingernail polish. This will require stronger solvents and may need refinishing. So just remember that water is woods worst enemy and should be avoided at all cost if you want your furniture to stay looking nice......Dave's Touch-Ups, Inc.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Refurbish verses Refinish

When it comes to working on furniture, I have a lot of people ask me, what is the difference between a refurbish job, as opposed to a refinish job?

It's really quite simple.

If we refinish your furniture, then we will use a stripper and remove the existing finish(s).

If we refurbish you furniture, then we will either clean, touch-up, and topcoat it.

Or rub out scratches, and match the existing finish with a new finish. Sometimes all that is needed is a good cleaning only. This would also fall into the refurbish category.

Give Dave a call and we will do our best to salvage you precious pieces.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Free Estimates

When it comes to pricing on the work I do, there is no set price. Everything has its own problems and has to have individual attention for each piece. I can give you a cost over the phone after you describe what you want to achieve, and even better, I can also give you a price from photos through e-mail. All for free. If needed I will also be more than happy to come to your home or business for a free quote. I do however charge for pickup and delivery. This pays for my fuel, my time, disposal fees, and insurance. I charge a separate fee for each direction I travel. So if you have another piece when I return it will be a separate cartage charge. If I need to bring along some help for heavy pieces, I will charge accordingly in order to compensate my helper. My pickup and delivery fees range from $30.00 to $70.00 each direction, depending on how far away I must travel. I try to stay within a 45 mile radius from 61341, which is Marseilles, Illinois, for most work. I am a one man shop, and do most of the work myself. If I get real busy, sometimes I have friends and family help me out. If I do touch ups in your home or business, there is an initial service fee of $100.00. (Prices subject to change.) I only fix minor gouges, nicks and scratches in the home. If it is real bad, then I will bring it back with me to my shop to work on. Keep in mind I only touch-up stained woodwork. I do not touch-up painted surfaces. If you would like to e-mail Dave, please visit my homepage, where you will find an e-mail link.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Winter Time Refinishing

This is the time of year to get great deals on your furniture repair and refinish needs. Dave has a controlled climate workshop to keep working all year round. Call during the cold season, for the best prices available. At Dave's Touch-Ups, Inc. you will not be disappointed in the end results and you will only pay a fair price. Call for an appointment Today. 815/795-3417.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thanks to all my customers and friends!

Just want to thank everyone who has recommended me to their friends and clients.
Summer is almost to an end, and you all have made it possible for me to keep my business alive with your referrals, in today's tough economy.
Special Thanks to Hometown Furniture, Maggie's Place, Brakur Cabinets, American Heritage Cabinetry, & Flutterby Popcorn, for telling their customers about me. I am grateful that you all have confidence in my abilities to make my customers happy. And also I would like to say thank you, to all of you, who have told your friends and family about my refinishing business. Thanks so much and happy end of summer to you all...............
Dave's Touch-Ups, Inc. Marseilles, IL. 61341 Office # 815/795-3417

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Price increases hurt everyone.

Today I would like to explain how I try to save you money and how I am coping with today's terrible economy.
I try to condense all my pickups, deliveries, and estimates, all on the same day. I try to only go out once or twice a week, to conserve on fuel. I have a diesel van & pull a 16 foot trailer which gets 9 to 16 gallons per mile. At today's cost of nearly $5.00 per gallon, you can imagine what it is costing me for fuel alone. I would love to have a more fuel efficient vehicle, but I need the large van to hold my touch-up supplies & to haul furniture. I need the heavy duty van to pull a very heavy trailer also.
Not only that, but all of my finishing supplies and shipping cost have also increased and have almost doubled in the last three years. I, like everyone else, have to increase my restoration service cost. I will give you an estimate, based on the distance from my shop for pick-up and delivery cost. I mostly travel within a 40 mile radius of my shop in Marseilles, IL., but will travel further for a cost. My shipping cost are any where from $20.00 to $60.00 for each direction. Now you may find a few refinishers out there, saying they have free pickup & delivery service, but they just add it to the cost of the refinishing job. It cost them money to travel and they pay their fuel cost with your money, weather they say so or not. I like to let my customers see exactly what they are getting for their hard earned dollars. No gimmicks at Dave's Touch-Ups, Inc. I also try to buy my supplies in bulk to save money in the long run. I try to get all my jobs ready, so I can work on several pieces at once, so when stripping with exhaust fans on & spraying with exhaust fans on, I can go to town on the furniture & shut down the fans as soon as possible. In the winter this saves on heating cost & in the summer, it saves on air conditioning. I not only do these things to save me money, but to cut the cost increases I must make to my customers. In these tough times, we all have to do whatever we can. So if you want to recycle your heirloom antiques while saving as much as possible, then call me for you free estimate. I do not charge to come to your home, but if you like my prices & I take it to my shop to work on, then I will charge the minimum for my services. So if you would like to $ SAVE WITH DAVE $ , then call me today at 815/795-3417 or visit my web-page at

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Restoration on an antique tea cart.

To see an old heirloom piece of furniture I refinished for a customer, click on the links below.
This tea cart belonged to Mary Todd Lincoln and in the 1800s. This cart was made and used by the Lincoln family. It was been passed down to friends and family and was in storage for several years with stuff piled on top of it. It was in a flooded basement and had a lot of water damage on the wheels. The spokes on the large wooden wheels were broken, and were in sad shape. I was able to salvage all the original parts, restore it, and put it back together. I also had a new piece of glass cut for the serving tray.
To view Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln's Tea Cart, Click here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Furniture touch-ups, repairs, & refinishing.

A lot customers call Dave's Touch-Ups, asking me how much it will cost to repair their furniture, not knowing the type of repairs I do. For example, I have several people ask me to fix their leather, their upholstery , or some mechanisms underneath the furniture, such as the springs in couches and chairs. Unfortunately, I work only on woodwork. I do repairs of gouges, nicks, scratches, dings, dents, smoke damage, fire damage, flood damage, watermarks, water rings, cigarette burns,, blemishes, abrasions, and the like on wooden furniture. I do not do upholstery or leather repairs. And I do not repair springs and mechanical parts on couches and recliners. I like to stick to what I know and that is touching up wooden furniture. I also do complete restorations on both antique and modern furniture. I can do a simple cleaning or refurbishing, to touch ups, or stripping and refinishing, but only on wood. I have plenty of referrals for my customers, to handle the repairs that I do not do. Call me at 815-795-3417.
Other repairs I do, include pressed caning chairs, cleaning old glue out of loose joints on furniture, then re-gluing for a better bond. I do some veneer work, but mostly replacing or re veneering flat or slightly rounded surfaces. I can do minor inlaying, work, but nothing to fancy. My main specialty is touch-ups and refinishing.
Please visit my home page at for more information...Dave

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hand Stripping verses Dipping Tanks

Will dipping my furniture ruin it?
People often ask if I use dip tanks, because they are worried that I might ruin their furniture. This is a very good question. Usually it is customers that have vintage antiques. I do not have any dipping tanks and I do not use any power washing. I strip everything by hand only. My opinion is that these methods can ruin the patina, and therefore the value of old antiques. Dip tanks can loosen glue joints and make veneers come loose. Some refinishers use power washers after soaking in dip tanks to wash off all the residue, but this can raise the wood grain, and tear up soft woods, which will have to be sanded smooth prior to staining and finishing. Now I am the first person to tell you that certain pieces will be less expensive to dip, than to strip by hand, which is the way I do it. This would include painted trim, painted doors that have no glue joints, and any piece without veneers. The way I do it, has more work involved, takes a little longer and cost a little more, but will preserve the integrity of the furniture at hand. Just keep in mind that even though dipping, is a less expensive way to strip your furniture, you will most likely have to pay more to have it sanded, re glued, and prepared to accept stains and a finishes. Sometimes, joints will have to be glued, and the wood will have to be sanded. All these procedures will take the aging patina effects out of your old antiques. I often tell my customers, that if someone tells them they are going to sand their vintage antique, to find another re-finisher to do the job. I do not sand a piece unless there is absolutely no other option. Sometimes we refinishers do not have a choice and then sanding is ok. But I like to save that option as a last resort. If you don't care about the pieces value, then I would say go for it and save a few bucks. I have had customers bring me furniture that has been dipped and power washed. Wow, what a job to bring it back to life. I was not surprised how much work I had to do to bring them back to original look. Sometimes pieces only need a cleaning, touchups, or refurbishing, and not a complete refinishing job. So talk to your favorite refinisher. If you do not feel comfortable with what he tells you, ask to talk to a few of their references. Again the above statements are just my opinion, and I am sure that other refinishers out there will see it differently than me, especially if they dip their client’s pieces. Like I said earlier, there are some legitimate reasons for dipping and it is not always a bad thing. Use your own judgment and proceed with caution………Dave’s Touch-Ups, Inc. 815-795-3417

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Go Green Restorations by Dave

You can help save a few trees from being cut down, by recycling your wooden furniture. Preserve the wood you have, instead of buying new. The older pieces hold up better than half the furniture that is made today anyway. At Dave's we can restore, refurbish, touch-up, or completely refinish, your bedroom set, your dining set, your piano, your desk, or any thing you have made of wood. Cribs, highchairs, bar stools, china cabinets, hutches, armories are just a few of the pieces we can restore for you to help you to go green.

To Refinish or not to Refinish?

Will stripping and refinishing my old furniture ruin the value of the piece? That is another question I get asked often. My answer to that, is if your antique is in good shape and you refinish it, you will decrease the value. If it is in bad shape, and you refinish it, then you can only increase the value. No one wants an old piece sitting in their house, that looks ugly. A lot of people have some old pieces laying around, or in a corner as a decoration. But if it is falling apart and the finish is coming off, then you should have an expert like me to look at it for you. I will be the first person to tell you not to do anything with it, if it looks nice. The fewer changes you make, the better. Maybe it just needs a cleaning or just refurbish it. Try to keep all original parts, and existing finish if possible. If you change hardware on it, then save the old ones and keep them with the piece for value reasons. I know that a lot of people are afraid to do anything with their heirloom furniture, because all you ever hear is you will ruin the value if you mess with it.
Just ask yourself these questions. 1.) Do I really like the way this piece looks in my home, or is it not so pleasing to the eyes? OR 2.) Is this piece going to be for my own pleasure in my home, or am I interested in selling to a collector? If you are concerned with the value, then use my simple rule above. If it is in bad shape, then restore it. If in fair to good shape, then leave it alone. Or just have Dave look at it for a professional evaluation. . Sometimes a piece only needs what I call refurbishing. That is a careful cleaning, minor repairs, and touch up, and maybe a light coat of finish applied to the surface. Most people that have old furniture, and are concerned about having it worked on, should keep in mind that an old piece cannot go through time, with out getting a few battle wounds as we call them. Most of these imperfections will blend right into a piece just by restoring the piece. You do not need every crack filled in, or every nick filled in. Just a simple refinishing can make a beat up piece look wonderful. No need to worry about every nick or gouge. Now sure you may think I am biased just because this is what I do. But I sure would not want an ugly old beat up antique in my home for everyone to see. I would want it to look as good as possible for all to enjoy. If you are worried about it's value, then I would call a collector, sell it, and let him or her worry about fixing it up. Because if you are worried about it's value, then that means it is a money thing instead of useful piece of furniture or a nice decoration. I just love hearing on the Antiques Road Show, how they find a drawer with a new bottom on it, and say it lost it's value because it has been replaced. But maybe the drawer bottom was busted so bad and the owner of the piece had no choice, but to fix it so it is functional. Now if it was left broken, then they still would say, "oh this drawer is broken & therefore the value is not as much as it could be." You cannot win. Use your own judgment, and use my rules above to make your decision.
Dave's Touch-Ups, Inc.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My number one question asked of me

More than half of my customers, ask me what type of wood is this?
When it comes to furniture, I don't claim to be an expert on identifying all of the over different species of wood that exist. But, if it is oak, birch, maple, mahogany, ash, cedar, walnut, elm, or pine, I'll be able identify these wood easily. There are so many ways to put a finish onto wood, that it is very easy to trick the best woodworkers out there. Stains and glazes can make one type of wood look like another type. Then there is the faux finishes, that are even more tricky to identify. The only way to really know is to take a small piece and put it under a microscope. There are also a lot of woods out there that are not real, but those are a little easier to identify. You have vinyl photo finishes from factories, that are usually used on inexpensive furniture and cabinets. And then you have plastic molded to look like wood grain and stained to look like real wood. Some are so good, that one cannot tell with out tapping it to hear the definite sound of wood. Some pieces of furniture have moldings attached that are also plastic and will dissolve or get ruined by refinishing the piece, if you are not careful. When stripping these parts, you have to work lightly and quickly. Or just call me to do it for you. Furniture refinishing is what I do best. Visit to have Dave give you the best price possible.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Welcome To Dave's Touch-Ups, Inc.

Welcome to Dave's Blog. You can get more about Dave at the following links:
If you have any questions about touching up or refinishing furniture, feel free to post your questions or comments. I will get back to you as soon as possible.
I work in the North Central parts of Illinois only. I mostly do refinishing work, but also do touch-ups and some repairs. To leave a post just click on comments below, or this link. Thanks for visiting........Dave

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Should you re-finish or re-furbish?

A lot of folks ask me what is the difference between refinishing and refurbishing.  You will find out that professionals have slightly different opinions on this subject.  Mine is when you take and old piece of furniture and repair and replace missing and broken parts.  Also a good cleaning and touch-ups on a piece can be considered refurbishing.  Basically it is to make a piece look original or brought back to life again with minimal work done to it. If the piece is stripped & refinished, we would not say it was refurbished. Refurbishing is a way to save money and to rejuvenate antiques from being completely refinished when that was not needed.  That does not mean that refinishing is a bad thing, because sometimes you have no option, but to refinish. Refurbishing is just a mild or minor way to restore and preserve your heirloom furniture, without drastic measures.
Hope this helps you to decide what method is best for you.  Give Dave a call and we will evaluate your pieces for you & give our best recommendations.


Furniture Touchups, and Refinishing, by (Dave's Touch-Ups, Inc.)

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for furniture repairs, touchups, & refinishing. . 815/795-3417

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