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Advice pls on dark hard wood chair frame re-finish

Afternoon all, been a while, garden fences and decking and lighting overshadowing decorating the last few Covid months!

Have a beautiful G plan chair with large arms and legs in a hardwood. Not fully sure what type but can take and post a photo. Could be Sapele?

The upholstery needs a load of work but the wood is immaculate bar loose joints. When it was made (late 50’s I believe) it had a varnish finish.

Looking to lift the finish and use a simple medium dark hard wood oil to achieve a satin light gloss finish. Any suggestions or ideas would be very welcome.

Had two varnished sapele doors that I stripped last year and made the fool mistake of using Osmo Raw to treat. Bad mistake which I’m keen not to repeat.

Thanks in advance

Hi, my preferred go-to wood reviver is Langlow Patina. It is a polyurethane gel, applied in very thin coats with a rag, produces a super finish that brings out the grain in the timber and is microporous and hard wearing enough for hand rails. It is on the glossy side for a while, which may be the downside for your project . But then over time, it loses its gloss.

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Hi Andy and thanks for the quick reply. Hope you keeping well.

No this sounds spot on to my mind. In fact we just been discussing this very point and also saw your 2011 article as well. We not had the best of experience with Danish oil but now starting to realise it’s how we approached it … too much application and not enough removal.

And indeed the finish you describe is pretty much what we are aiming at … a gloss but not too much of it.

And it looks well priced and (the most important bit) is a fancy new product to try! :slight_smile: … been waiting for one, has been a few months.

Off to order some now. Thanks for the steer as always

As ever, trial on an area first before diving in 100%! Even if it doesn’t suit this project, it is a super "sundry"to have to hand.




I remember going to a trade show in the early 90s and came across Langlow when they were pushing a green paint stripper now known as “Safer Stripper” I believe.(Haven’t used it since I got a ROS sander!) . After talking to the then management, I bought a box and did a demo at a carboot sale. I was the centre of attraction when the word got out that I had lathered paint stripper on my car and also dropped some on my tongue! From those days I believed what the Langlow tech guys told me! Per the spec, the stripper really didnt act for 30 minutes or so, but once it started, it was great. A UK company that didn’t BS its clients, who knew?! Patina is pretty damn good.

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@neil is the TP champ with tung oil, one of the components of Danish oil. He uses good old fashioned french polishing tactics Oak Worktops

Indeed yes. We were debating same previously disappointed with the danish oil results but as I say I think was me over applying and reapplying first.

Yes for sure be doing that Andy

Very cool Andy … as you say is one for the shelf of ‘go to’ standards it looks like.

One winging it’s way to AH64 Towers as we speak :slight_smile:

And what a result. In fact the project in question was being undertaken by No.1 Son. He had been working from a 1 bed flat in London for 11 weeks during lock down and going quietly mad.

I air lifted him and his worldly goods back home were his rent dropped from £1700 a month to zero! And freed time as well so he stripped a old chair that was my Mum’s. Having looked it up, this thing turns out to be worth £900 in reasonable shape. Make Grieves & Thomas.

Anyway long story short … the Langlow product was superb. Fantastic advice and result.

Knock on effect. He bid on a three item furniture lot in a local auction. It included an Ercol 50’s design coffee table that they still sell now for over £500! He paid £35 and it has stripped a treat and he’s just debating to use the Langlow again or something a shade lighter (which would preserve the original finish).

The bad news is he may well bloody stay here at this rate and drop the career. :slight_smile:

First class advice sir, hugely appreciated.

That’s a super result, good to hear. If you have any photos it would be interesting.

Incredible to think a collector piece chair is only the equivalent of 2 weeks’ rent in some places.

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Oh for sure.

Both are in reassembly at the moment but that won’t be long … he has two weeks until he goes back to the smoke and corporate world and he has to refurbish our old BBQ yet! :slight_smile:

But yes he’d be very pleased to do that.

Isn’t it amazing. That a chair I grew up with for years. Then it moved to the garage where it was used to plonk stuff on taken off cars in repair. And now as you say, actually worth something. Strange world :slight_smile:

Asked him for photos … he’s doing it and chuffed to be asked!

He also asked for any suggestions to treat Elm in a similar way? Apparently the new Ercol £500 coffee table is Elm and somewhat lighter. He a bit nervy about using the same on the lighter wood.

He had a quick read up and seems to think Osmo might be an option?

Interested if you (and indeed anyone) has any suggestions for a similar treatment but for Elm?

Here we go … think this was bought in 1960 originally. Ready for recovering this next week. Not bad for a first attempt, or a 50th. In fairness due to input and skills learnt from TP yet again.

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Thanks for sharing the project, built to last.

Yeah he’s trying to retrieve it’s reclining counterpart from his sister who ‘upcycled / shabbly chic’ed’ it … ahem. A fact worse than being left in the garage!!! Let’s see :slight_smile: