The Art and Science of Wood Restoration

Utilizing the most advanced materials, techniques and procedures, Premier guarantees the finest results in wood finishing and restoration. To help you get a better understanding and practical knowledge of our comprehensive services, we have prepared this glossary of terms and techniques.


TOUCH-UPS are individualized kinds of repairs done to correct gouges, dents, scratches, blemishes, abrasions, etc. on the surface of woodwork and furniture. The damages can be minor, as in surface scratches and abrasions, or more severe and extensive, as in cross-grain scratches or gouges, whereby the damage has penetrated the finish and underlying wood veneer. Repairs and average repair times vary according to the type of finish and severity of the damage.

RESTORATION is the process of restoring an existing finish to its original condition. Through a variety of techniques and materials, this process is the path of least resistance, expense and effort. It is the most common service prescribed, and will typically satisfy the majority of needs, unless the original finish has been compromised, or the touch-ups required are too extensive. Some examples of restoration services are scuff sanding and French polishing, glazing and buffing, and compounding an existing finish.

REFINISHING is applying a new finish, or techniques associated with a new finish, or ultimately affecting the finish. It is the most labor-intensive form of repair, and usually requires the stripping or removal of the original finish, followed by the application of a new finish. Some reasons for refinishing could be to change the stain color, change the finish from an oil finish to lacquer, or to completely resurface an item if the topcoat has aged or cracked. Refinishing can also be done when the damages to the work surface are so extensive that a simple touch-up or restoration will not correct the piece.

FINISHES: Woodwork or furniture is sometimes characterized as to how the item is finished. For example, if the piece is polyester or lacquer, or, as is more common with older furniture, oil finishes. Finishes come in two categories, penetrating finishes and film finishes. More recently, conversion film finishes are being used primarily in the furniture industry because of their excellent resistance to wear, heat and water-vapor penetration. Oil finishes are the original form of finish; they penetrate the wood but can’t offer any form of impact or stain resistance. Film finishes protect better than penetrating finishes because of their thickness on the surface of the wood and their ability to protect against scratches and humidity exchange. Conversion film finishes are film finishes with a synthetic or catalyzed additive, which may increase durability and decrease drying (cure) time. Finishes can also have different appearances, as in dull, matte, satin, semi-gloss, high-gloss sheen or hand-rubbed.


There are many programs available to service the needs of our clients. The first and most important aspect to any wood care program is to determine the purpose of the service. The following sequence of services takes place about 90% of the time when refinishing services are provided:

INITIAL STABILIZATION PROGRAM: This service stabilizes the existing woodwork by bringing the facility up to speed, offering immediate corrective measures and working to get the damages under control. One of the most outstanding advantages to this program is the immediate reversal of the damages, and the feeling that something has been done to enhance the space. This process also creates a standard to which the facility can be maintained, and allows the materials to remain consistent throughout the maintenance process.

MAINTENANCE SERVICES are designed to keep the woodwork, fine furnishings and system furniture in a consistently pristine, well-cared-for condition. The purpose of maintenance will be to provide an appropriate level of service to maintain the space at a desirable level. There are a wide variety of maintenance services that can be performed, and they are all entirely dependent upon the kind of woodwork, activity level and damage ratios, severity of damages, frequency schedules, as well as cost and budget considerations. Frequency intervals are based upon the amount of woodwork and the kinds of damage they normally sustain. Some facilities will require monthly maintenance intervals, whereas others will only require quarterly or semi-annual schedules.

CLEAN & POLISH SERVICES: These programs can be a valuable added component to any maintenance effort. The above services of stabilization and maintenance primarily address touch-ups and surface damages. The cleaning and polishing effort actually enhances and brightens the overall appearance by removing surface pollutants, dirt, grime, fingerprints and oily residues. These contaminants muddy up and obscure the finish, while the cleaning and compounding return the woodwork to its original sheen and luster.