Repair worn finish on arms of a chair to keep original look?


Drexel chair with round curved arms. The finish is gone from the normal wear area in the arms. The finish is great over the rest of the chair. It is a dark finish and the worn spots looks like no finish was ever there.

  16 answers
  • You can probably give them a light sanding and then stain them with matching stain. Contact the company to find out what they used to finish the arms (varnish, lacquer, etc) and use the same thing.

  • Nan W. Nan W. on Aug 14, 2020

    Maggie: as usual, I concur with Ann.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Aug 14, 2020

    Try Old English Dark Scratch Cover for quick trick. It's an amazing product.

    You can also try scuffing with fine steel wool, wipe down with denatured alcohol, and staining. Then stain to match and put a poly finish to protect it from wear. You will have to do a bit of work trying to match the stain.

    My experience, apply stain and wipe quickly. Then repeat the process until you get a true match.

  • Annie Annie on Aug 14, 2020

    Hi, heres a little video that may help you get started.

  • Em Em on Aug 14, 2020

    Use a fine brush and touch it up with stain or a small piece of rag like from a t shirt. Dip the cloth into the stain and just get a tiny amount on it then touch up the wood. A little goes a long way. You can always add a second coat but once you get too much on you have to sand and start over. Block any area you don't want stain to touch with painters tape. Wear gloves as stain is sometimes hard to get off of your skin.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Aug 14, 2020

    Lightly sand or steel wool the worn surfaces plus the areas where these is finish remaining (all of the areas of the arms). In other words redo the entire arm whether it has finish or not, you'll be stripping the entire wood part of the arms. that way when you do match up the stain, it will be even on both arms.

  • Cindy Cindy on Aug 14, 2020

    Hi Maggie. Rather than trying to repair a section of the arms, I think you should sand both arms down to wood. Wipe all the sanding dust off. Then stain with color of your choice. When you achieve the desired color, then seal. Good luck Maggie.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Aug 14, 2020

    Hello. I don’t see that a photograph has been posted to know if it’s minor ir extensivewear. Sometimes those stain magic markers do a wonderful job touching up some worn areas where the finish stain and seal have worn away.

    Another idea might be poly shades for more extensive wear.

    Here’s a link to look over the content and see if it’s a product that will meet your needs. It can be applied over existing existing poly finishes without any stripping or sanding. I find reviews and Q&A’s can often direct me towards the correct purchase. Hope this helps.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Aug 15, 2020


    You could use Loose Chair Arm Covers. Not sure what Drexel is, It may be possible to use Sharpie pens if the colour has gone to help with the look, or make your own arm rests and stitch them on. Hope that is some help to you.

  • Cathy Cathy on Aug 15, 2020

    Howard's makes a wonderful product called Restor-a-finish. It comes in 8 or 9 different wood tones. You put it on with 0000 steel wool. Let it soak. Wipe off. Repeat if needed. After the last wipe let it dry and wipe a final time with a clean soft cloth. It is ready for their beeswax finish, Feed-n-wax. Can usually be found in selling in antique store.

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Aug 15, 2020

    After getting your color back, I would add a clear poly finish to protect the wood from years of body oil and dirt.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Aug 15, 2020

    Sometimes I can blend in a gel stain to match a dark finish. Be sure to clean it first and then seal the stain with a clear sealer if you go that route. Good luck and stay safe!

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on Aug 16, 2020

    You can use a rag with the same stain and see if that will bring some color back to the arms. You may have to sand so the stain will stick well.

  • Deb K Deb K on Aug 20, 2020

    Hi Maggie, you should be able to blend some stain in to match the original, there are so many color choices out there, it should be fairly easy for you to do. Good luck

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Dec 31, 2020

    can you provide some pictures ?

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Feb 15, 2021

    I agree Gel Stain and polyurethane over it.

    I would clean it well with Murphy’s Oil Soap first.