Restore wood furniture without sanding and stripping with this quick, easy, and inexpensive life hack.
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I have to admit I’m a purist when it comes to true antiques. I don’t like to sand them down for a flaw-free finish and I sure as heck wouldn’t paint something this old unless it was already damaged.
I like the patina of old wood — which only comes with age and years of use.
I also like the story that comes with the patina.
The wear and tear.
The dents, dings, and scratches.
All of those things tell a story.
Sometimes it’s obvious that something was a treasured piece.
That maybe it sat in a formal room and was for show and not for true use.
You can tell other pieces were the work horses in the house and those pieces of furniture had daily use which generally took a beating over time.
Last year we bought “new” furniture for the dining room.
A piece here.
A piece there.
When we came across something that spoke to us we bought it.
Ironically, when all was said and done, four out of the five pieces were from the late 1800’s.
And all had a story or two tell.
I imagine my late 1800s lamp tables were treasured pieces at some point in time.
They’re actually in really good shape for their age. The tops are faded and dried out except for where the lamps sat, but otherwise the wood and construction is still pristine.
Restore Wood Without Sanding or Staining
As you can tell, my tables are very pretty but are looking really rough. I know their condition would give a lot of DIY’ers a good reason to paint them, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Sure, I could always strip and stain them again if I got tired of the painted look, but it takes years and years for the rich patina to form.
So I decided to use Howard’s Restor-A-Finish. This product will hide scratches, sun fade, water marks, and a whole slew of other things.
It comes in many different colors and you should choose the color which closely matches your existing finish.
If you would like a darker look, then choose a shade or two darker than your existing finish. I had Dark Walnut on hand and so that’s what I used.
Just an FYI, this product isn’t a cure-all. It won’t hide the dark circles in the middle of my tables, but it will help with the faded areas. Since I have champagne buckets sitting on those darker areas, I wasn’t worried about the color difference.
Restor-A-Finish is like a stain so make sure you have a drop cloth in your work area and that you wear gloves.
I generously poured Restor-A-Finish on a cloth, applied it to the table tops, and then waited several minutes before wiping it off.
This is what it looked like immediately after wiping off the excess Restor-A-Finish.
Immediately after wiping Restor-A-Finish off.Here’s what it looked like after 30 minutes.
I was happy with how it looked (and I wanted to be done :-)) so I moved onto the Howard’s Feed-N-Wax. You could always do another round of Restor-A-Finish if you weren’t satisfied with the look.
I generously applied Feed-N-Wax to all areas of the tables and left it on for 20-30 minutes before wiping it off. I buffed the wood with a clean, lint free cloth.
It’s hard to imagine these are even the same tables.
And a look at the before once more…
And the after…
And with it’s champagne bucket in place…
How often do I need to do this?
As I said earlier, this isn’t a cure-all, but it is a quick and easy way to restore old wood furniture back to it’s former glory without having to spend hours sanding and stripping it.
However, I would like to point out that this is something that I have to repeat a couple of times of years on these particular tables to keep them looking their best.
The first time I conditioned the wood was in February 2015 and for the rest of the year I just lightly dusted them like I would any other piece of furniture.
The Restor-A-Finish and Feed-N-Wax held up well for about 10 months or so. I probably should have used Feed-N-Wax on them every few months, but I didn’t. Because I’m kinda lazy like that, ya know?
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