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. Greg says

    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.

  2. Jen8 says

    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.

    • says

      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!

  3. Becky Ladd says

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

  4. Pam G says

    I used Howard Restore-A-Finish and Feed and Wax on my hard wood floors. Was concerned about it being slippery after I applied the bees wax finish. Thankfully it wasn’t. Did a beautiful job on area inside patio door where sun and dog traffic had really damaged wood. Have tried many products to make it look better, this product is the only one that did that. Did my entire house! So glad I bought it.

  5. Doug says

    Can’t get it to dry on unfinished wood. It’s been a week and every time I wipe it with a dry paper towel I get brown oily residue. I’ve wiped down with mineral spirit and waited an hour and same brown oily towel.

  6. Kim says

    I have 2 Cracker Barrel wood rocking chairs that are on my covered front porch. They are looking “weathered”. What should I put on them to bring them back to life?

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