Archived Q&A Conversation Regarding Restoration of Retro Mid-Century Furniture

Restoration of Vintage Furniture

12th May 2015

Hi there,
I hope you don’t mind me messaging you but I was looking through listings to see how much my mcintosh sideboard is worth. I found your listing which was for a similar model to mine and I had a couple of questions… I hope you don’t mind me asking but I was wondering….

Did you sand it down?

What brand of oil did you use?

And how did you get the finish so even.. Did you buff it?

If you have time any info would be great as need to bring mine back to its former glory and I don’t want to ruin it!!

Hope to hear from you, Warren.

 

Hi Warren,
No worries at all. We sand everything 99% of the time using an electric hand held sander but do this with care as you may sand through the veneer which will ruin the piece. Occasionally we may scrape the varnish off with a blade or cabinet scraper. You may wish to sand your sideboard by hand but it will take more time but it is the safer option. We sometimes re-stain and then finish with at least four coats of Danish oil which leaves the finish you see without any ‘buffing’. If you take a look on our website http://just-be-retro.co.uk/care-of-furniture-finished-with-danish-oil/ this link to one of our blogs may be useful. Good luck.
Kind regards,
Elzbieta
ps May I use your request as a Q&A blog for our website please as it may be useful to others?

 

Thanks for the quick reply and yes feel free to use and edit my question for your website.

I had a look at your website as it’s always nice to see others with a love of design.

Thanks for the advice.. can I ask what brand of danish oil you used on the mcintosh sideboard? As its identical to the original finish and that’s what I would like to keep.

Thanks in advance. Warren.

Hi Warren,
They are all very good and probably more or less the same substance. We have used Barretine, Liberon, Ronseal and Rustins in the past, we probably used Barretine Danish oil on the McIntosh. Be sure to dispose of the cloths you use for the oil finish carefully as they can be hazardous if left in a pile. Best read the manufacturers advice well.
Kind regards,
Elzbieta

 

Thanks again for the advice…. Are the clothes a fire risk or do you mean hazardous from the fumes?.

 

Fire, just douse them in water 🙂

 

1st August 2015

Hi there,
Ages ago I messaged you and you gave me some advice on oils and stuff because I was thinking about restoring my mcintosh sideboard….

Hope you don’t mind but I had another query…

You told me the different brands to use… So I went and bought some rustins danish oil. I Wanted to do a test patch on something before I rubbed down the sideboard so I took an old teak shelf and sanded it right back to the wood. As you are probably aware teak is nearly a beige or yellow colour, when I applied the danish oil I did about 4 coats but it’s just a darker yellow now, I was hoping to get that beautiful browny red colour that teak furniture normally is… So here’s the questions..

I bought rustins danish oil….. Should I have bought rustins teak oil??

Do you rub your pieces all the way back the the wood or just gently sand and then oil over the original finish?

Any help would be gratefully accepted…. I don’t want to rub the sideboard down just to oil it and it be a really light golden yellow colour!!

Hope to hear back from you.. Warren.

 

Hi Warren,
What you are describing is quite normal when you strip off the original oil and reveal veneer that has been affected by the sun etc. We do strip right back and stain if necessary using Colron, Liberon or Rustins oil stain first. Avoid water based or quick drying stains as they are weaker and may react with the Danish oil. Teak oil can be a bit trickier to use and will give you a similar finish to the Danish oil when used alone.
Regards,
Elzbieta

 

Thanks for your time I really do appreciate it but I am still very unclear about this…

The shelf I tested on is solid teak…not veneer. I sanded it back to the wood then applied rustins danish oil… It is now a golden yellow.

Are you saying that If I remove the whole finish off an item of furniture.. I need to re-stain it or use teak oil first, NOT just danish oil.

Say the Mcintosh sideboard we spoke about… Originally that must have been stained or had teak oil applied to it. Because danish oil adds no colour at all, it just brings out the grain. As you know most mid century teak furniture it a deep golden brown but when sanded back to bare wood is a light yellow colour, what ever was applied gives it the golden brown colour… What does this because it’s not danish oil.

Sorry to take up so much of your time.

Warren.

 

Hi Warren,
I can’t comment on your shelf. If you look on our website you’ll see some pale furniture that would have looked a ‘teak’ colour before restoration which we decided not to re-stain whence the pale colour. If you want a specific ‘teak’ colour you’ll need to stain it then apply the Danish oil. If you apply the oil first the stain may not absorb into the surface. The oil alone is not a stain and will just darken the original finish. Without doing it ourselves we couldn’t really say what you need to do specifically. It’s not an exact science and it’s only through experience good and bad that we can employ the most suitable method.
Regards,
Elzbieta

2nd August 2015

Hello again….

I understand now… As you say its a learning process, thanks ever so much for taking the time to reply to me. It really is much appreciated.

Some people on eBay wouldn’t even reply… You’ve been a great help.
Thanks, Warren.

 

Hi Warren,
Glad to be of some help.
Regards,
Elzbieta

 

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