Flood Damaged Wood Furniture

Assessing the damage
Floodwater can damage wood furniture in several ways. Direct contact can cause changes in structure and appearance. Joints may loosen and the wood itself may warp and/or crack.
The finish will get cloudy and staining can

The damage to wood can progress from slight to severe in only a few days.
Before trying to salvage damaged wood
furniture, decide which pieces are worth restor-
ing. Such decisions should be based on:
•Extent of damage
•Cost of the article
•Sentimental value
•Cost of restoration
Antiques may be worth the time, effort, and expense of restoration. Generally, except for
drying and cleaning, the less that is done to an
antique, the better, since even minor changes
can reduce its value.
Try to preserve the original finish of antiques.
Restoration is preferable to refinishing.

should dry out slowly to reduce uneven shrink-age, which can cause cracking, warping, and
splitting. Unless you are an experienced furni-
ture restorer, it is best to leave restoration to a
professional who can preserve the value of the
piece. Improper drying, restoration, and repair
procedure can cause more damage. Solid wood furniture can usually be restored
unless the piece was in the water for several
days to a week, and the damage is severe. Clean and dry it, then assess whether or not it can be
repaired. Saturated wood expands and then
shrinks as it dries. This may loosen joints and
cause warping and swelling. Solid panels and
tops are particularly vulnerable, especially when
the inside is not finished. Slightly warped boards
may be removed and straightened or replaced. Woodworking tools, clamps, and other
equipment and materials may be needed.
Decide if you have the time, equipment, and
ability to do the work.
Veneered furniture may not be worth the cost
and effort of repair unless it is very valuable to
you. Veneered furniture usually has a core
material that is plywood, particleboard


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