I have found a great old oak table and chair set which the neighbours wanted to get rid off. It is well used but in good condition. The photo below shows the wear and tear the set has had over years (decades?) of use:

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As you can see there is not much of restoration needed only re-fininishing of certain areas. There is one heat ring too.

I was wondering if using Howard's Restor-A-Finish in Golden Oak will be sufficient? Should I follow up with Feed-N-Wax too as recommended by Howard's, or is that not necessary?

I am not tied to any particular product or brand. I want to do a good job rather than a quick job using a magic oil that can spoil the piece in the long run. So, I thought I would ask here.

UPDATE: While a professional restorer would be an ideal option, it is not viable for me now. My plan is to re-finish it to a point such that wear-and-tear can be minimized till a professional can be called in. As a lover of old furniture, I would like to do my best to protect it.

  • 1
    "the wear and tear the set has had over years (decades?) of use" Interesting to speculate on how long this took! It's impossible to age this set with any accuracy because of the traditional style (I suppose it could be anywhere between 10 and 70 years old) but I suspect the major issue was overcleaning by the previous owner — either cleaning too frequently or too aggressively, and maybe a bit of both. The linked-to previous Answer has a suggested care routine your neighbours would have been better off using :-)
    – Graphus
    May 17, 2022 at 16:13
  • As your original query is asked and answered don't try to update the Question looking for different input. It's perfectly OK to ask multiple Qs here, but have a search and see if one or more of the (many) previous Q&As asking about refinishing cover what you need to know. Bolster that with searches elsewhere online of course. Then if you're still left with something specific you need to ask about post your new Question.
    – Graphus
    May 18, 2022 at 18:30
  • @Graphus: I updated the question as the information added was pertinent. If I could hire a restorer, I would not ask for solutions here. So, I thought it was worth being explicit.
    – DotPi
    May 18, 2022 at 18:46
  • 1
    Yes it is pertinent, that's why I left it there during my edit :-)
    – Graphus
    May 18, 2022 at 18:51
  • But to reiterate, your original specific query centred on the two Howard's products and is asked and answered; so while you might get one or more additional Answers you shouldn't be expecting different input on a broader query about what (else) you might do now. That's the subject for a new Question, after you've satisfied yourself that it's not covered sufficiently by any existing Q&As, as you know is the form for SE — i.e. search first, then ask.
    – Graphus
    May 18, 2022 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


I was wondering if using Howard's Restor-A-Finish in Golden Oak will be sufficient?

Read what Restor-A-Finish is actually for and you'll see that this isn't it. The key point being:

blending out minor scratches, blemishes and abrasions

Note: Golden Oak may have been the wrong choice in colour. The darker parts visible in the photo appear to have been finished in a colour more like Walnut or possible Dark Oak.

However it may help with one other thing (although note that if you haven't purchased it yet there are other ways of dealing with these):

Removes white heat rings and water marks, sun fade, oxidation, smoke damage and most other blemishes

Back to the major issue here, 'scratch cover' type products can work well for minor dings and scrapes this has gone beyond that — the top of the chair back looks like you're down to bare wood which takes the necessary intervention up up a notch or two. Touching up major losses in finish is notoriously difficult, even when it's merely a clear finish1 you're dealing with, and these appear to have a coloured finish on them as noted above which complicates matters further.

While you can certainly attempt a touch-up here it will be difficult or impossible to get a seamless repair without prior finishing experience, and a good or dead-on colour match may require more the use of more than one coloured finish. So I would suggest having realistic expectations about how well you can bring these back, unless you undertake a complete refinishing where you go back to a level playing field. Obviously this is a ton of work that you may not want to take on (given the style of chairs will all those spindles I would be hesitant myself to say the least).

Although this set doesn't appear to be high end the cost of a like-for-like replacement (buying new) is now so high I think it would be worth taking this to a reputable restorer in your area. They're in a position to restore the major losses, possibly to a level where nobody can tell that any work has been done; and furthermore they can undertake a complete strip-and-refinish job should that be the way you chose to move forward.

Should I follow up with Feed-N-Wax too as recommended by Howard's, or is that not necessary?

Erm, to be perfectly honest I don't think you should use Feed-N-Wax for any purpose (because there are better furniture polishes that cost less2). And, furniture polishes should ideally be used on finishes in good shape and with minimal or no losses where bare wood has been exposed3.

1 Because new clear finish is often no longer the same colour as aged finish of the same type. Which shellac colour tends not to change much or at all over time, but with varnishes and lacquers too there is a significant ambering effect over the years.

2 And you can even make your own, see link in this Answer.

3 Because you don't want to introduce furniture polish directly into the wood; this has been especially problematical since silicones have been an ingredient in commercial polishes.

  • Thanks for the very detailed answer. I agree that a professional restorer will do a much better job. Unfortunately, I cannot afford that. So, I was looking to finish it to a point myself such that wear-and-tear can be minimized till a professional restorer is a viable option.
    – DotPi
    May 17, 2022 at 16:52

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