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May 1, 2013

Wondering Wednesdays – Pinterest Wood Repair Edition

By Andrea

Today’s post is not strictly mid-century, but I think it’s definitely of interest to those of us who have wood mid-century furniture! I am a pretty avid Pinner, and I know our lovely blog hostess Ruth is also a pretty avid Pinner, too. There’s been quite a few pins on how to remove water stains from furniture/rehab your wood furniture – which I’ve always wondered – do they actually work? I thought I’d test them out for you on a couple of my mid-century furniture pieces!

This is my record player – before. As you can see, it’s in fairly decent shape, but it does have some water rings on the top.

This is one of my end tables that I picked up at auction a couple of years ago. We bought them with the intent of refinishing, but they got put into use right away. As you can see, there’s some water rings, and the finish has seen better days.

Test #1 – Hair Dryer. Here’s the original pin:


And here’s my result:


As you can see, it didn’t do much. I suspect this may work better on fresher water rings, not on old ones on vintage furniture. I held the hair dryer to the middle ring for a solid 5 mins, no improvement.

Test #2 – Toothpaste

Here’s the original pin:


And here’s my result:


I tried this on the middle and bottom water stains. Again, I think this might work better on fresher water rings. However, I did notice some improvement with this one!

Test #3 – Oil & Vinegar

Here’s the original pin:


And here’s my result:


This one worked AMAZINGLY! The only difference between what I did and the original pin was that I used olive oil instead of canola. The picture honestly doesn’t show how much better it looks! This worked so well, so I decided to use the mixture on my end table:


This isn’t totally going to take the place of refinishing this table, but it’s definitely made it look A LOT better in the meantime. The olive oil really seemed to do a nice job of conditioning the wood.


Here’s a closer shot of one of the bad parts of the table. As you can see, it’s still not perfect, but it’s a definite improvement.

I will definitely be using this mixture in the future when I’ve got wood that needs a sprucing up!

If any of you have DIY wood care tips, I’d love to hear them!

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17 Responses to Wondering Wednesdays – Pinterest Wood Repair Edition

  1. deborah Reply

    May 1, 2013 at 5:24 am

    Great result with the oil and vinegar. I use 50% Methylated Spirits and 50% Linseed Oil mix. I use 000 steel wool, load it up with a good splash of this mixture and rub with the grain of the wood. Finish it off by wiping it down with calico. Works wonders for me.

    • Andrea Reply

      May 1, 2013 at 10:31 am

      Awesome tip, Deborah, thanks! I may give that a go on my table, since it still needs a bit more TLC.

  2. Jess Reply

    May 1, 2013 at 6:12 am

    The record player looks wonderful! What ratio of oil and vinegar did you use? Also, what technique did you use to apply the mixture (brush on, wipe on, steel wool)?
    Thanks for sharing, I have a couple tables that need a little TLC.

    • Andrea Reply

      May 1, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Thanks, Jess! I am amazed at the improvement on the record player – it really does look even better in person! I used a mixture of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. For these purposes, I just mixed up 3 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp vinegar, which gave me enough to do bot the table and the record player, so it did go quite far. I just used a soft old rag to wipe it on.

  3. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    May 1, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I am SO excited about this tip! Since we have kitties that walk on everything at our house, we don’t use any waxes or products that might be toxic if they get on their feet – so our furniture looks so sad. This is an all-natural solution that has results just as good as the scary toxic products. Three cheers! Is there anything that vinegar can’t do? Oh, and thanks to it’s sidekick, oil too.

    • Andrea Reply

      May 1, 2013 at 10:37 am

      I agree completely, Eartha! With small dogs and a toddler in my home, I was excited to find a way to spruce up my furniture without chemicals. I am a big fan of vinegar, too – not just good for cleaning and pickling, so many more uses! LOL!

      • Jen Reply

        May 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm

        I’m in the same boat with the felines, and my own health issues—this is so good to know! Vinegar is EVERYONE’S best friend, isn’t it?

  4. Nate Reply

    May 1, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Howard’s Restore-A-Finish works great for me. I’ve used it on several pieces and they always look a lot better. No, it’s not a perfect solution like refinishing, but it’s an easy fix. Here’s an article that I’ve had bookmarked forever. I reread it any time I’m going to touch any of my furniture. You can’t go wrong with This Old House.


    • Andrea Reply

      May 1, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Great article, Nate, thanks for sharing! That really does cover all types of minor damage you might have with your wood furniture and how to fix them. I will have to keep an eye out for the Howards Restore-a-Finish

    • RetroRuth Reply

      May 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      I JUST used Howard’s Restore a Finish on our hall bench. It worked really well. I will have to get my act together and do a post on it!

  5. Sara In AZ Reply

    May 1, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I’m thinking the vinegar/oil combo might be like a natural version of the Howard Feed-N-Wax I used of Mom’s cabs a while back.


    The Feed N Wax is petroleum based, from what I remember…so probably not good for around kids or pets…..but it sure did a great job! Her cabs STILL look good today!

    • RetroRuth Reply

      May 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      I was thinking the same thing when I read this!

    • Andrea Reply

      May 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      You’re right Sara, I am totally betting it’s a natural version of the same thing. I am now curious to see if the natural recipe holds up as long as the Howard’s product does. I will have to report back!

  6. Maureen Reply

    May 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Thanks for this article! I found some midcentury end tables at a great price at an estate sale-but my husband keeps forgetting to use a coaster. ERRGGG! So nice to get this info, and it is funny, I was just thinking of sending this question to NPR for some help 🙂

    • Andrea Reply

      May 3, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      Awesome, glad you found it useful, Maureen! 🙂

  7. Mason Reply

    May 19, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I’ve used two products over the years on my vintage furniture, one is called restoreAfinish you can find it at ace, come in differ t colors and does an amazing job on dings and scratches even water marks. Another product I bought at ace is Howard’s feed and wax, it also is great on older furniture and really is one of my favorite products.

  8. Pingback: It’s All In The Legs! A Quick and Easy Furniture Leg Rehab | No Pattern Required

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