wood you, could you?
June 15, 2007 2:22 PM   Subscribe

I just bought an old danish-midcentury modern type dining set. Its wood with a finish (lacquer or shellac, I don't know). It has a couple of nasty scratches. I live in San Francisco....know of any businesses/individuals that do wood furniture repair?

Unfortunately, the table got scratched during delivery (by a rock, so pretty deep & not by me). The sides are a bit worn too. My options are to return the whole thing and call it a day, or ask for some money back and try to repair it myself (which is a whole 'nother issue)...or find a professional to repair it.

Before I decide whether I will return it, I'd like to get an idea about how much it would cost for professional finishing. If I do it myself, some suggest "restore-a-finish" but don't know if this would work for a deep scratch.
posted by hazel to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Have them repair it.
posted by rhizome at 4:58 PM on June 15, 2007

Does the scratch only affect the finish? Or does it actually go to the wood? See the difference between scratches and gouges on wood furniture here. I would find a professional to repair it if the furniture is mid-century. It may not be as expensive as you think (there are outfits here in Chicago that are very affordable. Folks take furniture right from the alley to a shop that I'm familiar with and their work is magnificent.) And I would have them pay for it.
posted by jeanmari at 5:26 PM on June 15, 2007

I've used restore-a-finish, and it's a good product. It won't fill a deep scratch, though it would color the wood in the scratched area. It would make the edges of the tabletop look better.

Refinishing means removing the existing finish and then doing a new finish, including stain (if needed) and sealer. You might just want repair or restoration: fixing the areas that are bad. I mention this because if you say "refinish" to a pro, they will hear "strip and re-finish the whole thing."

I suggest you first talk to a furniture-restoration pro. Then call whoever sold/delivered the piece and tell them what you want done. If you ask the seller to fix it, they might color the bad area with shoe polish. That's actually an acceptable way to camouflage a scratch, but you might be happier with a different treatment.

If you go to a pro, ask what the options are for making the table look better. They'll tell you the various choices, and you can talk with them about the plusses and minusses of each. Example: they could sand the top enough to eliminate the scratch altogether, and then refinish the entire surface. You would end up with a completely smooth tabletop that might as well be made out of brand new wood. Or they could sand lightly and then fill the scratch is such a way as to even the surface make it less noticeable; this way you would keep whatever patina is there. These two methods might involve the same amount of labor and thus cost the same, but the results would be a lot different. One isn't necessarily better than the other.

If you email me, I can give you the name of an excellent furniture restore-refinish guy in the San Francisco area. But I warn that he charged me $500 to fill a chip on a 12-inch-diameter end table and recoat the whole top.
posted by wryly at 12:00 PM on June 16, 2007

Response by poster: the scratches do go through the finish, to the wood, but the wood is not affected.

thanks for info...i am going to call around (i was hoping for less than $500).
posted by hazel at 12:40 PM on June 16, 2007

There are quite a few shops in the Bay Area that specialize in Danish Mod and other vintage furniture. My friend bought a dining table set at Trout Farm in Berkeley and they refinished it for her. You might call them and see what they say. I can't totally recommend their work since though it turned out looking great and I recall it being a reasonable price, it took forever for them to do it and she got a bit frustrated with their very relaxed approach to doing business, though they were super nice. The Drugstore in San Francisco is another place to ask.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 5:17 PM on June 17, 2007

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