Restoration Tips

These expert tips and hands-on techniques from Restoration Realities can be used in many of your restoration projects.
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Making Spindles

  • Wood turning is a craft that is refined over time.
  • Always wear safety glasses and a dust mask.
  • Make sure your tools are sharp.
  • Before starting the lathe, turn the wood in the lathe to make sure it is balanced and clears the tool rest. Readjust if necessary.
  • Practice makes perfect. Use old scrap wood to try different techniques.
  • When finishing, remove any tool marks by using sandpaper or sponge type sanding blocks.

Paint Removal

There are three ways you can remove old paint or varnish from wood:

Safety Alert: Always wear eye and skin protection, as well as respirators, when dealing with chemials. Also, in any stripping method, proper ventilation is a must.

  • A chemical paint or varnish remover is available in semi-paste and liquid form. Once applied, any remaining paint or varnish can then be scraped off or washed away. To wash away, use water or mineral spirits to neutralize the stripping material. This is usually the fastest and most effective way to remove old paint.
  • You can use sandpaper or an electric sander to remove paint. Special care must be administered if you're removing lead-based paint to avoid airborne and surface contamination.
  • The third way to remove paint is with heat. The heat will bubble up the paint without damaging the wood. Use the same safety precautions as with the other techniques when using this method.


Note: Collection and disposal of the material removed is critical. There are sites available that will accept the material for disposal.

Using a Miter Saw

  • Miter saws are designed to make very precise cuts. However, never try to cut wood wider or deeper than the saw permits.
  • Clear your work site, both at level and on the ground so your footing is never jeopardized.
  • Keeping your hand clear of the blade, hold the material tight to the fence and down against the table with one hand, then work the saw with the other.
  • After starting the saw, push the blade firmly down and into the wood. Never start the saw on the wood.
  • When using a sliding compound miter saw, never pull the blade through the wood. Start at the outside and push the blade into the wood.
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