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Furniture Refinishing – Church Pew Resurrection!!

Furniture refinishing and furniture restoration are two very different things. When a customer asks to have their piece refinished, that means stripping its original finish, sanding, staining to match the customer’s color preference and spraying with lacquer to match the desired sheen. While all of those tasks are included in a restoration, they don’t make up the real challenge. Restorations are designed to take the piece back to how it looked originally. In most cases, that means taking the piece completely apart and fabricating parts that are missing or broken.


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Recently, we had a customer bring in an old church pew. It was in pieces when it arrived and the sides were being held together by tape. The customer desired to have it restored back to its original form.

Unlike new finishes, old finishes strip easier. Unfortunately, stripper eats away at old glue joints and your usually left with more work than you may have originally expected. That’s what occurred for the sides of the pew. They had to be completely taken apart and glued back together. Next, we realized the bottom support was missing. This support beam ran under the seat and was attached to the sides. We fabricated the new beam to give the pew the proper support. At this point, the pew had been put together and thoroughly sanded. However, we couldn’t understand why the unseemly router cuts were present in the sides of the pew? Therefore, we knew a long piece of trim was missing that covered up these router cuts. That trim was fabricated and the pew began to look like a finished product both functionally and aesthetically. Finally, our customer picked a stain color and we sprayed with a satin lacquer to give the pew a nice sheen.


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Upon completion, we were thrilled with the results. This was one of the harder restorations we’ve done. We realized some of these items were missing after we’d already put the pew back together. Therefore, we needed to backtrack to make it right. However, you learn from each job and the piece met our customer’s expectations.

If you have a piece of furniture that you’d like restored, give us a call or click on the work order request below. We look forward to having the opportunity to earn your business.

Wehrli Furniture

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