For a number of years, I have been detailing, repairing, and generally improving furniture pieces, because I resell furniture as one of my business ventures. Below are several tricks of the trade I have learned to redo furniture in your home. If you come across that older /antique/ or simply vintage piece of wooden furniture that has a multitude of scrapes, scratches or dings, one of the best products I have found to alleviate the situation, without refinishing the entire piece is to apply liberally a product called Liquid Gold. This product can be found at almost any hardware store, lumberyard, and many times in larger grocery stores. Liquid Gold comes as a spray on product or bulk liquid one quart cans. If you are only going to do a few pieces of furniture only every once in a while, then the spray can would probably service your needs. However if you plan to work on a lot of pieces or continually need this product, it is much more economical to buy your product in the quart size or larger canister. The product gives off a very pleasant cherry or almond odor which makes it easier to work with, and better to display after using in a home. A simple soft cloth can be used to wipe away excess spray, or to rub on the liquid form of this product. Simply pour a little bit of the liquid onto your rag and wipe directly on the affected area. Careful not to use too much of the oil , because it takes a while for it to dry up, and more product can leave a little stickiness to the surface. (Note:try a little of the Liquid Gold in a more inconspicuous spot to see it the desired finish is obtained.) Another product that has proven to be somewhat useful if Formby's Furniture Refinsher. This is a dissolve and dry reformed into a new finish type agent. The product actually melts the old finish into a liquid, stabilizes it and drys back into its original form without showing the original flaking,splitting, or cracking to the finish surface. I only use this product generally on smaller areas not an entire piece for several reasons. One reason is the simple cost of the product, the product normally comes in about a 1/2 quart size, and to do the job right can use up the entire can. This can depending on where you buy it can cost you up to twenty dollars a can. The other reason is that I have found the results may vary from surface to surface, or area to area. One side of a piece might finish out much lighter than another due to what that particular surface has been exposed to. A side which spent most of its life against the wall will have picked up less dirt, grime and/or exposure to light. This can cause various color variations from lighter to darker. Some people swear by the use of Old English. This product comes in varied shades of stain which can in many cases hide imperfections to the surfaces of the furniture. However especially on large areas, Old English does tend to leave a sticky residue which will attract dirt, and be harder to use on an everyday basis, especially on tables or chairs. In all cases be sure to allow at least 24 hours to completely allow the product used to dry. After drying, you should be able to apply polishes, or in some cases when using Old English or Formby's you can overlay with Liquid Gold. I must stress to only use any of these products in a less visible area at first to see what kind of results may be expected. By taking this simple step, you might avert having to go back and completely refinish the entire piece of furniture. In the future we will discuss various refinishing techniques and products available, but personally I try not to completely refinish any piece of furniture that does not really need it.
People are always asking what the “hot” collectible item is at the moment. This question's answer can shift almost daily. Collecting is in itself up to each person’s own taste. Over the years many items have become hot for a few weeks, few months, even a few years. Sometimes things become popular due to their age. I subscribe to the "Mountains and Valleys" theory of collecting. I apply this theory generally to the toy collecting field but it could also be applied to other collecting fields. This theory is simply based on common sense. When an item is first sold, it is at the high point of the value of the item. After it is sold, it plummets in value either from removal from it’s original packaging (which is a whole other topic for later discussion), or simply because it becomes used, played with, or displayed. As the years go by, the value continues in a downward spiral, the speed of the fall based on several factors, including how much wear or abuse the item gets, lack of popularity, and if the original packaging is still available. Eventually the value of an item bottoms out and the price stays about the same. Depending on how popular the item was at the time of initial sale, or what event, person, or place it is based on, will determine once again how fast the value may begin to climb. Back in the mid 1980’s. the Star Wars Craze had subsided, and Star Wars toys and items could be picked up generally for very little investment. Many toys still were on the store shelves at huge discounted prices. Wholesalers were shunning any new items offered and the overstocks and unsold products were being dumped on the closeout markets. Savvy investors began acquiring these caches and putting them away. A few short years later, new Star Wars related cartoons and movies were put in the front of the public, and the popularity of the shows began a new fuel for the collector’s fires. These old stock items began rising in price, especially mint in packages and the items that were difficult to locate back when they were first introduced. Boxed Star Wars dolls, such as Bobba Fett, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia began escalating at a breathtaking pace. Dolls that had sold just a few years before at closeout prices suddenly were bringing one hundred, two hundred, or more depending on the character and the condition of the packaging. As the craze continued, the boxed items began petering out and collectors began paying huge sums fot the loose out of package dolls, toys, and items. Demand was high and the supply was somewhat limited. Dealers were scouring garage and yard sales, estates, auctions, flea markets and shows to pick up that one item to sell for a big profit. Then the fire began to cool and the prices started to level off again. Economic news dampened the collector’s ardor, and then reality set in, people had no money to buy those cute toys anymore. Thus we have a mountain (higher price), a valley (lower price), a mountain (higher price), and finally a valley once again. These highs and lows are regulated according to many different factors as I have pointed out, and there are many other things that can shake the markets up. I have always subscribed to the mantra: buy things I like, I want, and I keep, and the price becomes secondary to entire equation. The previous thoughts can be applied to almost any kind of collectible. The hot item of today could very well be the dog of tomorrow. Stop worrying about what is “hot” and concentrate more on what you personally like, and you will not go wrong.