Ercol furniture are iconic items in the history of English furniture, and are often passed down from one generation to another. They often require to be restored. Whether it’s worn finishes or loose spindles, restoring an Ercol is not a tough job if one possess the right tools, materials and knowledge of how to restore them.
Tools and Materials needed for Ercol restoration:
- Varnish remover
- Stripping Knife
- Sandpaper (240 grit)
- Wire wool (No. 4)
- Wood oil
- Wood glue
- Cotton cloth
- Paint brushes
Additionally, one needs to wear eye protecting goggles and rubber gloves during the stripping work.
Stripping Off Old Coats of Finishing
The varnish remover must be applied with a paint brush for stripping away the old varnish coats. It is better to dab rather than brush to get a heavy concentration. Usually, one coat of the remover is enough to strip off the old varnish entirely. After the remover dries, it will have to be stripped with the knife and a rag may be used for wiping subsequent applications. The steel wool can be of great aid in removing hardened varnish.
Sanding the Wooden Surfaces
Sanding will perform a two-fold duty on the Ercol furniture - it will eliminate the remaining old finish and prepare the surface of wood for receiving the new finish. While sanding, care must be taken to ensure that too much pressure is not applied as it may alter the contours in the wood. The sanded surfaces will have to be wiped using a damp cloth for removing sawdust before applying the new finish.
Salvaging Loose Spindles
Spindles which generally prop the base and back of an ercol furniture often become loose with passage of time because of glue separation and wood shrinkage. Using a high grade wood glue can help to restore the spindles and secure assembly joints. Working a slack joint backwards and forwards when the glue is being applied will spread it into cavities of the conjunction points.
Applying the Finish
Wood oil is the most popular material used as finish as it preserves delicate wood products efficiently. It is also quite easy to apply and does not bubble or run during application. Excess application can be wiped off with the cotton cloth.
Although a DIY restoration of an Ercol is not very tough, the task requires fine skills and experience of handling delicate wooden furniture. It is often better to get professional help rather than trying to do the restoration work at home, especially if the furniture piece is very old.