The first job is to take a hard look at the piece you want to restore. Assess it carefully. Some furniture is so badly damaged that a restoration is nearly impossible. Other pieces are so badly designed and/or constructed that after the restoration you wouldn't want it around.
We inherited from grandparents an old chair that had achieved heirloom status. It was old, for one thing. For another, it had sentimental value, so we considered bringing it back to life. As we talked about the kind of finish we would like. I sat on the chair. It had been stored in the attic for years and I had forgotten what it was like — but now I remembered. The seat was high and too wide — perhaps an inch higher than standard and two inches too deep from back to front. You couldn't sit comfortably on it for very long.
The discussion lasted long enough for me to become uncomfortable, and our decision was made. There was no point in working for weeks on a chair that we would probably never like, sentimental value or not. We quickly found another family member who wanted it (he was very tall) and went on to another more promising project.
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