How to Care for Salvaged or Unsealed Wood Furniture

Thanks for all the comments you guys left about how I created my own Carrara Marble top on the sideboard in my kitchen with paint.  The faux finish really has made a huge difference in pairing the two unmatched pieces of furniture.   A little history that I did not mention – About 22 years ago, I painted the top to look like green marble – which was popular back then.  When I painted my kitchen cabinets, I also painted over the faux green marble.   Gotta love what you can do with paint.

Many of you wanted to know more about how I stripped the cabinet and how to care for unsealed or salvaged wood with questions like:

– Do you leave the wood as it is?

-Did I put a clear polyurethane over it?

If you missed the post on how I stripped the cabinet, you can find it here, Furniture Stripping Basics.

How to protect salvaged or unsealed wood furniture

To answer your questions, I did a little research.  For now I am leaving the cabinet unsealed as it is a piece that does not get too much use.

How to Care For Salvaged or Unsealed Wood Furniture

-If it is a piece that will get a fair amount of use – like a tabletop; apply a coat or two of soft beeswax based paste wax to protect it.  This will condition the wood, keeping it looking very natural with a matte finish while enhancing and protecting the wood grain.

-You can always add a sealant later, or experiment on finishes and sealants like a clear or tinted polyurethane on the underside of your piece to determine your favorite look.

-There is a risk of stains from spills or oils if the wood is left unfinished. Sanding with a combination of first 100 grit and then 220 grit sand paper will typically remove them and restore the look and feel.

– Even though the imperfections in the wood add to its allure, using coasters and placemats will help prevent unwanted stains and marks.

– The best method for cleaning is simply soap and water.  You can also create a solution with a few tablespoons of white vinegar diluted in spray bottle of water. It works well to get off the finger prints and smudges.

I love how the cabinet came out and will consider stripping more furniture in my future.  When my budget allows, I may even end up buying a piece of furniture made from salvaged wood.


Now for a fitting giveaway to go with this post!

giveaway  has ended!

If you are interested in transforming old or even new pieces of furniture so they suit your style and taste, then you are  going to love the new book by Barb Blair. She is the founder and blogger behind Knack Studios. She has written a very informative book entitled:

Furniture Makeovers

Furniture Makeovers by Barb Blair of Knack Studios


Published by Chronicle Books, it is filled with step-by-step photo tutorials showing you simple techniques for transforming furniture with paint, stains, paper, stencils, and more.







  1. Kim says

    You did an amazing job. We just completed a renovation on our house, and some of my furniture needs to be updated. A book like this would really be helpful. Thanks for sharing as well as a chance for some blog candy. Kim

  2. Hilda says

    I loved your furniture makeovers. I had 4 pieces of furniture that I want to do, but I’m afraid to mess them up. Help!
    The book will help ;)

  3. Jodi says

    I have a garage full of furniture I’ve collected over the year to rehab while on summer break. HELP!

  4. Tamra Hamlett says

    Have been transforming furniture with paint for years, would love to have
    this book! Love how you do a piece over and over !

  5. janice says

    I am painting a few things and would love to have the book to be a guide and inspiration.

  6. Sue says

    I am just getting into furniture redo and would love to have that book to learn the tricks of the trade.

  7. Destiny says

    I’ve just started refinishing a headboard. My next project will be a dresser as soon as I find one that meets our needs and budget. I’d love to win to learn more!

  8. Julia says

    There is something to be said about wood that is left looking natural. The simplicity of natural wood that is unsealed makes your home feel wonderfully rustic.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *