How to do a minimal finish update on furniture?

zaphod42January 25, 2012

Hi! Originally posted this on a different forum and they recommended I put it over here instead. Apologies if duplication causes problems!

I recently purchased a nice mid century dining set at the thrift store. Overall in nice condition. I'll reupholster chairs for sure. The wood finish is pretty nice - a little dull overall with a few areas of wear. It doesn't need to be completely refinished. Is there a product that after a light sanding, I could apply over the top to blend and update the finish? Color is good as is. Thank you!

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The original finish is almost certainly lacquer for this period unless someone has refinished it in their basement.

Lacquer has the property of re-melting itself and becoming a single film finish.

First clean it (see the link below). For the chairs, I'd recommend getting some aerosol lacquer. Deft is a commonly available brand. For the table top, it's a bit difficult to get an even finish with aerosols. Deft, though, also makes a brushing lacquer that you can brush on a light coat or two. I'd also scuff sand it a bit first to even out the wear areas. Just enough to dull the surface.

The only possible problem with this procedure is if the original owner used Pledge (or any polish containing silicone oil) on the piece. It messes up the surface tension of the finishes applied over it and causes them to fish-eye. There are cures for this, but I'm not aware they are DIY level.

If you have spray equipment, you could also get canned lacquer. But I'm assuming if you have this equipment, you probably wouldn't ask this question. (An observation, not a criticism)

Here is a link that might be useful: saving the finish.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 8:06PM
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