How to Restore an Antique Wooden Croquet Set

By Robert Gray
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Croquet was a famous Victorian lawn game, and old croquet sets now pop up at garage sales and estate sales in worn condition after years of use and abuse for pennies on the dollar. Most are readily repairable because they are made from wood, which can easily be re-glued and repainted. However, if you own an extremely rare old antique croquet set, have it appraised by an antique dealer before making major repairs. Rare vintage sets should not be stripped and repainted if their only purpose will be to decorate a wall in your home. In that case, the original paint and patina is valuable.

Step 1

Inspect the croquet set carefully. Separate the good parts from parts that need to be repaired or replaced. Evaluate what needs to be done to restore items that can be fixed. Order metal parts such as wire arches that are missing or bent badly (See Resource 3). Order new mallet disks to protect heads.

Step 2

Make wood replacement parts. Turn new wooden balls and handles on lathe or order them from a woodworker. Paint color stripes on the balls while still on the lathe. Varnish them on the lathe also.

Step 3

Restore chipped balls with less damage by applying a putty mix of epoxy and sawdust. Sand when dry, and then paint and varnish them.

Step 4

Glue broken wooden handles and mallets separately, and reassemble them back together when ready.

Step 5

Strip paint from worn handles, mallets, stakes and posts. Sand after stripping. Tape off and repaint color stripes on these parts. Varnish when done.

Step 6

Apply hard rubber or plastic disks to the mallet heads to protect them from future wear.

Step 7

Restore the wood carrying case by cleaning, stripping and sanding. Apply a coat of clear varnish to the carrying case to protect it. Clean metal hinges and fittings with steel wool and apply thin coat of motor oil to protect the metal from moisture and wear.

About the Author

Robert Gray has been writing full time since 1995. His first photography book took seven years to research and publish. He specializes in writing on photography and the arts. He's written for Photography Magazine, Large Format Camera Magazine and many online art and photography websites and blogs.