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Hans Wegner dining set needs refinishing... what would you do?

Posted by staceyneil (My Page) on
Thu, May 5, 11 at 11:37

Hello,

We have a beautiful 1950's teak Hans Wegner dining set. It is our main dining table. Despite being careful about using placemants and not setting glasses on it, the tabletop has a lot of discoloration, water spots and rings. It is starting to look a little shabby :(

We have a few concerns:
1) We do not want to ruin the value of this heirloom set, which we plan to pass down to our daughter one day.
2) We want it to look beautiful again.
3) We want to be able to use it as our everyday table WITHOUT having to fret and worry about it, and WITHOUT having to insist on coaster and placemat use. I would dearly love to be able to set my plates and glasses right on the wood.
4) The dining room has many windows, so the table gets direct sunlight.

There are no local refinishers familiar with mid-century oil-finish pieces like this. We are accomplished DIY-ers, I was a fine art (painting) major in college, and DH is a does boatbuilding and woodworking for a job, so we have a pretty good set of skills to consider tackling this ourselves.

One option we considered is simply restoring the oil finish (after removing the water spots somehow) and topping the table with glass for protection. However, that won't look very pretty.

We are also considering refinishing with a good quality waterbourne poly, which would mean we could use the table like normal.

What would you do as far as a finish?

How would you go about evening out the discolorations and water marks?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hans Wegner dining set needs refinishing... what would you do

It's 60 years old...!!If you want a new table, buy one.
I would rub it down with a very fine abrasive...like a water and pumice slurry...just to even things out. then I would rub with an oil with dryers in it....and repeat...and repeat.
Enjoy the evidence of your living with that table. It's a well loved friend, no need for it to look new, just well cared for.
Linda c


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RE: Hans Wegner dining set needs refinishing... what would you do

One option we considered is simply restoring the oil finish (after removing the water spots somehow) and topping the table with glass for protection.

How would you go about evening out the discolorations and water marks?
I would get a good brand of 'teak oil' from a reputable Scandinavian furniture retailer, some 0000 steel wool and systematically oil and rub steel wool all over the entire table (top and legs and apron), wipe off the oil with a soft cloth and repeat.

Skip the glass, and just oil the table top every few months. They develop a marvelous patina and are nearly indestructible.

We are also considering refinishing with a good quality waterbourne poly, which would mean we could use the table like normal. Until the poly starts peeling off in sheets. Teak is a very oily wood and finishes do not stick to it very well. That's why the classic teak finish is oil.


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RE: Hans Wegner dining set needs refinishing... what would you do

Bring it to me and I'll see what I can do with it.

Muhahahaha!

Alright, why does everyone think glass is so bad? I think every table should come from the factory with glass already fitted. As long as it's manageable to get clean underneath it if a spill goes bad and it's not so tight it can't breathe, why not? (Keep in mind I have a vinyl table cloth duct taped around MY table.)


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RE: Hans Wegner dining set needs refinishing... what would you do

Why not call someone at David Rago, Rago Arts and see what they would think about refinishing it.

Its still a piece of vintage, manufactured, furniture not an 18th c. piece, so some people feel the original finish for such things is important only for very early or prototype pieces. But why not ask the experts? Art Deco furniture is refinished all the time with no real effect on value because it looks so bad if the finish is not perfect. I think a lot of mid-century stuff is in the same category.

As for glass, it tends to ruin the finish over time because of small amounts of condensation and light refraction on the surface from the glass. Spacers are helpful but not a cure all.


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RE: Hans Wegner dining set needs refinishing... what would you do

And, besides glass topped furniture looks so "motel".....


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RE: Hans Wegner dining set needs refinishing... what would you do

Well, sure, but if it's like good flatware where you won't use it unless you can put it in the dishwasher, isn't that better than not using it at all?


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RE: Hans Wegner dining set needs refinishing... what would you do

Of course....but putting glass on a table...or taping a vinyl tablecloth on isn't "using" the table.

I knew someone, who redecorated their living/dining area...new carpet new sofa and chairs, tables and lamps.

I stopped one day to drop something off....and there was a plastic runner from the front door through to the kitchen, throws on the furniture, glass on the end tables and the cellophane still on the lamp shades....to keep them nice. For what I wondered??

Use and enjoy what you have...I use my sterling every day....and it goes into the dishwasher....why not? What am I saving it for?
Linda C


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RE: Hans Wegner dining set needs refinishing... what would you do

Exactly my point!

Except to me the dishwasher equivalent is the glass top.

Just until the kids are bigger...


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RE: Hans Wegner dining set needs refinishing... what would you do

My kids were raised with wood tables....without glass tops. As a result they know that you don't color on the table top and don't leave your glass on the table, unless it's on a coaster or a map. They learned to put down newspaper if you were going to paint your model there or do a glue and glitter project.
My daughter's kids do the same...but my son's wife grew up in a "plastic cloth on the table" and "foil under the candle sticks" family, so their kitchen table is a mess....mostly with water rings.
The dishwasher won't hurt your silver....and doesn't change the way it looks.
What do the kids do to that table? Set a glass on it? Have some big plastic coasters.....that go to the table when a glass does. Do you eat on the table without a placemat? lay the dishes directly on the table? Learn to use your table not abuse it.
Linda C


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RE: Hans Wegner dining set needs refinishing... what would you do

There is a lot of difference in durability between delicately veneered tables intended for special occasions and the beefier solid wood ones meant for every day use, though. I've got a cheap solid something I picked up in college that is abuse proof. I've stood on a milk crate on top of it to drywall a ceiling. It's been used as a sewing table and a craft table and a work bench and still cleans up nicely. Then I've got my grandmother's "good" table from the '40s. That thing dents if you look at it funny. It's not just the kids...


Stacy just wants to be able to use her table without it looking bad and without damaging it further. I don't know how to do it, but I certainly understand the impulse!


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RE: Hans Wegner dining set needs refinishing... what would you do

I think this should be solid teak. I would get it refinished and use placemats--and learn to live with a certain amount of imperfection. My Stickley table came with a little tag that said that it was meant to be used and if it didn't get little scratches and dings in it, we weren't giving it the affection it deserved.


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RE: Hans Wegner dining set needs refinishing... what would you do

Teak is very durable as it is used on boats! Once you refinsh the top put a table pad on it.

Here is a link that might be useful: table pads


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