I recently acquired an old solid oak table, which is unfinished (and
obviously has been for a long while). Its graying and there are a few
stains...Would anyone happen to know anything about restoring such a
piece? Is it completely hopeless? Any suggestions would be very much
appreciated. Thanks, Toby
You don't actually say how old the piece is but if we assume the federal
government's definition, the piece is 100 years old.
It seems unlikely that such a piece would never have been finished. The
finish has probably worn off over the ages. There may be remnants still
left, perhaps on the edges. If you can find some of these, test them to see
what general type of finish it is - shellac lacquer, or even varnish. Who
knows, maybe a wax finish is all that was ever applied. At least you will
have a better shot at restoring the piece.
If there is no indication of what finish was used, the time frame that
the piece was made can direct you. If the piece is really 100 years old,
shellac would have been the finish. Lacquer is a possibility but less so
than shellac. I would not expect an oil finish since it provides very
little protection. A table that is really old would have to have had some
kind of protective finish to survive in the condition you state.
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