Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/varnish


QUESTION: 25 years ago I had some chairs darkened from light oak to mahogony.
The polish on the light oak was obviously not cleaned off properly, for the dark varnish (it was put on pretty thick) is now flaking off.

What is best way to repair please?

Nice to hear from you.
The only possible way I see to fix this is to strip and apply a new finish.
There is no point in doing anything else if the chairs were improperly prepped.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news (or in this case lots of work).
Having said all this without seeing the chairs, get some medium grade steel wool. Try rubbing the finish really well. If you are lucky, the flaking may come off so you can apply more varnish. Don't use sandpaper fpr this as you will ruin the chairs patina.
And if you decide to strip, get back for the info on that.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


QUESTION: Thank you Eileen,
You've just confirmed my thoughts/fears.  I have attached a picture which shows the problem.  But stripping poses another question....
How to I achieve the same dark finish, baring in mind that the wood is light oak?

It's pretty obvious that I will have to take it right back to the bare wood, cleaning off any polish of course (which may have been the cause of flaking). But how to get that dark finish?

Is it done by a colour varnish?

Hi again Stan
A picture is worth a thousand words LOL
This is colored lacquer.
Here is a link to the product you need.
If you look on the page, you will see a color chart. Click on that and you can match your chair color.

If and when you go this route, you can either get back to me with some tips on using this stuff or there is actually a utube out there and also an info sheet.

Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Eileen Cronk


Hi..I can answer most questions about the repairing,stripping and refinishing of all your old furniture and wood items(the things we call antiques)I can give advice about what to buy/avoid at auctions/flea markets. I do not give appraisals on antiques.


I have been refinishing antiques for the past 30yrs. While I have taken several courses over the years,I have found that "hands on" learning is the best teacher. Perhaps I can help you avoid some of the mistakes I made while learning.

©2016 All rights reserved.