• Howard Restor-A-Finish: Reader reviews

    In the recent story about Jessica’s dilemma — to refinish the wood finish vs. just paint her beat-up Heywood-Wakefied — there were lots of comments from readers in praise of Howard’s Restor-A-Finish and Howard’s Beeswax Conditioner. As I understand it: You do not need to strip or sand down your old furniture — just wipe this stuff on it using toweling or super-fine steel wool (see their directions.) I have not used this product myself, but I sure will give it a try next time I have the need. Hmmmm, I have project in mind already — the two side tables in the man cave could definitely use spiffing. Reader comments included:

    Atomic Hipster John said:

    (I vote) Natural wood whenever possible so the true beauty of wood grain can shine through. Howard’s Restore-a-Finish and Howard’s beeswax conditioner will go a long way to making this piece shine in its formal glory again!!

    Clampers said:

    I would try to work with the original finish, using a product such as Restore-a-Finish or Formby’s. I have watched too many Antiques Roadshow episodes where people are so disappointed to hear their furniture is worth next to nothing because they stripped and refinished! Anyway, I’ve used those products on several furniture projects and they are a dream to work with…very easy and the results are fantastic…and some of my salvaged furniture was pretty nasty and beat-up.

    Eartha Kitsch said:

    Ooh! I love this question as I have my owner inner battle in answering it. First, I say that if you think that you might like it unpainted, get some Howard’s restore-a-finish and see what it looks like afterward. You might be really surprised! We’ve brought home some pretty dried out and mistreated pieces around here and even just a simple wipe down with orange oil has yielded results that have amazed us. I mean, it’s not ever going to be showroom new looking unless it’s completely refinished but who says that every piece has to be that way? A little conditioning of the wood might make that set very pretty again.

    Becky said:

    Min-Wax Antique furniture restore, and Howard’s Feed and Wax will have this brand gorgeous in just one afternoon in your backyard, and for only about $30 ( $15 + $10 + some rubber gloves and 0000 steel wool. ) IF you paint it, it’ll take day and days of hard work to get back to that gorgeous wood, instead. I’m begging you! ;-) Save that wood.

    Lynda suggested:

    How about sanding and putting on Watco Danish Oil for the top. It is pretty easy to keep up. Follow the directions using the wet/dry sand paper for your final coat and you won’t believe how beautiful the finish is.

    Howard Products are available at a variety of retailers. If you never want to leave your house, you can buy from Amazon and when you buy via my little box below I get a spiff:

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    1. I know somone else said they hate minwax products but I’ve been really happy with the minwax wood floor reviver. A thick liquid you spread around and rub in with a rag – really improved the look of my very beat up 50s pine and oak floors.

    2. My mother’s contractor used Bona hardwood floor cleaner on her kitchen cabinets, and they looked like they’d been refinished.

      For cleaning jobs, fingerprints, and so on, Bona floor cleaner works great! It was easy to wipe on and off with a rag, no gloves needed, and it’s been around forever. I’ve seen it at Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as flooring dealers and janitorial supply stores.

    3. Betty Crafter says:

      Kate, I’m having the same issue with trying to fix a scratch on a Brasilia credenza. There is definitely some kind of coating on it. Restore-A-Finish did nothing. I’m currently painting coats of Danish Oil on the scratch, letting it sit, then wiping it off and re-applying. It’s slow but steady progress. Maybe I should try regular stain…

    4. I’d heard that about the Bona products. I guess all I can do is pull up the carpet and see what’s there, then try a few products and see what works. (Yikes!)

    5. JefferyK says:

      Restore-a-Finish removed a water ring on my Danish-style secretary desk. YMMV, but it worked for me.

    6. Has anyone tried darkening a finish using Restor-A-Finish? Most of the windows in our Mid-Mod house are surrounded by stained mahogany that we love, but in our den, it’s mahogany with some sort of weird orangish stain. I’m not looking to ‘match’ the rest of the house, I just want it darker. The Howard’s website said that you can darken a finish by using a darker shade, but I wanted to hear some firsthand accounts.

    7. Restore works great but it does have to be reapplied, so keep your can of it. Just shake it up and reapply when needed. Been using the same can for years on a few pieces of old furniture.

    8. the restore did not dry, what can we do and what should we have done?

      • hi terry,

        it says on the howard products website to wipe dry after letting it stand for a few minutes. I’m not sure if you wiped it dry afterwards but maybe that is the problem. good luck!

    9. Can the RAF be used on a piece previously finished with Danish oil?


    11. Becky Ladd says:

      Applied this yesterday to my faded and drab oak cabinets. They look amazing. This may change my mind about painting.

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