How To: Restore a Dull or Damaged Piece of Furniture Using Howard Restor-A-Finish

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Welcome to Phantastic Phinds How To. A blog feature that teaches you all things vintage.

This week we will be learning how to restore a piece of furniture that has seen better days using Howard Restore-a-Finish.

Restor-A-Finish by Howard Wood Products


Restor-A-Finish by Howard Wood Products is a unique finish-penetrating formula that restore the original color and brilliance while blending out the minor scratches and blemishes. Restor-A-Finish builds on and improves the existing finish so there is no stripping required. It includes a blend of mineral spirits, stain, and solvent that penetrates into the existing finish without damaging it.

You can use Restore-A-Finish to:

Treat scratches, nicks, and abrasions.

Restor-A-Finish works best when applied with a small pad of toweling, or for severe white rings and crazing, with Super Fine(0000) steel wool. DO NOT pour directly on the finish. When using steel wool, always rub with the grain of the wood. First, determine the pressure you should use on an inconspicuous spot, as the hardness of finishes vary

Revive and restore dull and faded finishes.

Wipe on the appropriate color of Restor-A-Finish with a clean cloth. Let it stand for a few minutes then wipe dry. If you desire a slightly darker shade, simply apply a darker color of Restor-A-Finish.

Remove white heat rings and water marks.

Apply Restor-A-Finish (see above) with steel wool and rub hard enough with the grain of the wood to blend out the white effect. If high gloss finish should appear dull due to the use of steel wool, polish it out with a Howard Polishing Compound or Burnishing Cream.

The first step in using Restore-A-Finish is to identify the piece of furniture you wish to restore and it's issues that need treatment. For this lesson we will be using a vintage art deco china hutch that has seen better days. It's finish is marked up, dull, and has some scratches so it is a perfect demonstration piece.

As you can see this piece has seen better days. 




Once you have identified the issues you wish to treat make sure that they are issues that can be treated by Restore-A-Finish. Deep scratches, gouges, missing or chipped veneer, or cracks will not be treated by Restore-A-Finish. 

The next step is to identify the Restor-A-Finish color that best matches your piece of furniture. Keep in mind when selecting a color you are matching the tone of the wood, not the wood itself.


For this piece I selected Walnut because it was a medium-dark brown tone finish without any deep hints of red.

For this project you will need 2 clean rags and your can of Restor-A-Finish

Step 1: Apply a small amount of Restor-A-Finish to a rag.
Step 2: Rub the Restor-A-Finish onto the piece in a circular motion.


Repeat steps one and two until the entire piece has been covered. Rubbing in a circular motion may not be possible on trim and recessed areas, so it is best to follow the direction of the detail to the best of your ability. 






As you can see Restor-A-Finish is an amazing product that adds new life to a worn and well loved piece of furniture. 

Stay tuned for more weekly "How To" blog features. 

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