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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Joseph Gerte mahogany dining table -- what type of finish & what care required


We bought a Gerte. mahogany dining table from an antiques store a few years ago and are now wondering what was the type of finish usually used on this early 20th C type of table?

Though we have tried to be careful in using it, it has developed spots and stains, some from "too warm" plates, some from water spots... We have used Howard Feed-N-Wax on it as well as Milsek lemon oil furniture polish.  These help, but do not completely restore the original finish.  What methods would make sense to fix the problems, restore the finish, and then care for it properly afterwards?  Thank you in advance for your advice..

This is a difficult question to answer in the space and time allotted on the site. However, he finished would be lacquer. The white marks that you are getting or call blushes or blooms. It is when moisture gets trapped in the finish itself.

The first thing you need to do at this point is to clean off what you have applied using mineral spirits. Of course test a small area first. Next is where you can get in trouble. You would use a product called blush eliminator or quick blush eliminator.  This product can be purchased at wood finishers Or from Koenig products. If you decide to buy these products contact me by email or phone and I will tell you how to use them.

As for care of the table, understand early lacquers were not very moisture resistant and the problem that you are having is common. There's nothing you can do at this point to keep it from happening other than being more careful. As to proper care of your table. You should use furniture paste wax. Two products I'm going to mention contain no mineral oil and no silicone oil. You do not want these non-drying oils on your furniture. One wax it would be Johnson's floor paste wax. The other would be Briwax. Another excellent and I mean excellent furniture wax is called Beaute. It is made by reed wax.

I hope this helps.

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robert klein


In regards to American antique, vintage and collectible furniture I can help with wood identification, styles, age, periods, historical coatings, materials, techniques, repair, restoration, refinishing, and value. I do not study mid century and later furniture nor do I deal in lamps, and other smalls. You may ask for values and I will give you current market values, I will not give you 'feel good' values. Understand that there are many factors that contribute to market value. If you want a feel good, unrealistic number, please call a local inexperienced appraiser. It is my desire to help you and in doing so I increase my knowledge as well. For that I thank you.


I have been in the antiques furniture and restoration business and in the sales of antique furniture for 40+ years and have continued my education in the trade attending workshops and seminars by various organizations, institutions, and private collectors.

Professional Refinishers Groop, Int., AIC, Antiques Dealers Association

BA Florida State University BA University of West Florida 1971

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