Wooden furniture damaged by floods can best be salvaged through slow drying and proper repair.
Submerged furniture 1. Take furniture outdoors and remove as many drawers, slides and removable parts as possible. Drawers and doors will probably be stuck tight. Do not try to force them out from the front. With a screwdriver or chisel, remove the back and push out the drawer from behind.
2. After you have removed movable parts, clean off mud and dirt, using a hose if necessary.
3. Take all furniture indoors and store it were it will dry slowly. Furniture left in the sunlight to dry will warp and twist out of shape.
4. When furniture is dry, reglue it if necessary. You will need equipment and clamps to reglue some pieces. Before you start, decide whether you have the time, equipment and ability to do the work. Consult an experienced carpenter if necessary.
To reglue loose joints or rungs, scrape out old glue so the area will be as clean and free of glue as possible. Use a white all-purpose glue, following directions on container. Hold part together with rope tourniquets or C-clamps. To prevent damage from ropes or clamps, pad these areas with cloth.
Damp furniture removing white spots White spots or a cloudy film may develop on damp furniture that has not been submerged. To remove white spots:
1. If the entire surface is affected, rub with a damp cloth dipped in turpentine or camphorated oil, or in a solution of 1/2 cup household ammonia and 1/2 cup of water. Wipe dry at once an polish with wax or furniture polish.
2. If color is not restored, dip 3/0 steel wool in oil (boiled linseed, olive, mineral or lemon). Rub lightly with the wood grain. Wipe with a soft cloth, and re-wax.
3. For deep spots use a drop or two of ammonia on a damp cloth. Rub at once with a dry cloth. Polish. Rubbing cigarette ashes, powdered pumice, or a piece of walnut into spots may also help remove them.
4. If spots remain after all efforts to remove them, the piece should be refinished.
Veneered furniture If veneer is loose in just a few places:
1. Press veneer back in place.
2. Wrap area with a strip of cloth so as not to damage finish.
3. Dry for about a week in warm, dry, well-ventilated place. Do not dry in direct heat or sunlight.
4. When piece is thoroughly dry, remove cloth. If veneering doesn't stay in place, apply a good quality glue and wrap again.
Repairing badly damaged veneered furniture requires special skill and tools. Unless you are an experienced woodworker don't attempt the job yourself. Take the furniture to a cabinetmaker, or have your dealer return it to the factory for repair.
If insurance allows part value on flood-damaged furniture, it may be financially worthwhile to apply the money to new articles, rather than pay for extensive repairs.