How do I improve an existing antique wood finish?

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We've recently acquired a gorgeous antique quarter sawn oak display cabinet in need of some repair. I don't want to refinish the piece but there are areas where the original finish has seemingly "run". Is there a good way to smooth out the existing finish without removing it? Piece is arts & crafts era, 1910-1920.

  5 answers
  • V Smith V Smith on Dec 19, 2017
    If the finish is original then you should probably leave it alone. If the piece was refinished then it's value has already changed and you can't hurt it by fixing it. With a light touch aim your sand paper at just the runs. Knock it down until you have almost removed the run then switch over to 1500 grit sand paper and polish it the rest of the way.

    • Carol Carol on Dec 19, 2017
      Thank you. I have no doubt that it is the original finish. I have some faint memory that something (acetone?) can "melt" the runs down to blend, but I'm not certain that I have the correct substance in mind.

  • Cindy Hagemann Cindy Hagemann on Dec 19, 2017
    I love this stuff - ReStore A Finish - it will not change the color, just make the wood richers and condition it. Buy it at any hardware store.

    • See 1 previous
    • Cindy Hagemann Cindy Hagemann on Dec 20, 2017
      Carol - it comes in several different shades so look for the right shade for your antique. I use it on antiques all of the time - I sell antiques in a shop and use this before I sell them.

  • Shoshana Shoshana on Dec 20, 2017
    Best of luck to you!

  • Lor29601442 Lor29601442 on Dec 20, 2017
    First, heat up olive oil and then rub on affected areas with cloth or 0000 steel wool.

  • V Smith V Smith on Dec 20, 2017
    Acetone is the same chemical used in nail polish remover, it will melt/disolve many things including furniture finish. It could be risky to touch it to your furniture, even with a Q-tip. I think any chemical fix is risky. If you disolve the finish that has run you will also remove the dirt and such that has imbedded itself in the finish to creat the patina that only antiques have.