Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lesson learned: The day that you write a long, in-depth blog post will always be the day that the power goes out at work right before you hit "publish"

So, lets start over and I'll keep it short.

A few days back, I stumbled across this Brasilia gentlemen's chest at the Salvation Army and it was love at first sight.  What a beautiful piece of furniture!  However, as with most thrift store finds, it wasn't in the best of shape.

The whole thing was worn and covered in small scratches, nicks, gouges, and chips.  While I'm not opposed to  using well-loved furniture, something needed to be done.

Here comes Howard's to the rescue!  I'd heard about Howard's products through several MCM collectors, one of whom referred to it as "Jesus Juice."  So, I thought I would see if it lived up to the hype.

First, I began with a coat of Howard's Restore-A-Finish ($6.00 - Home Depot), which comes in several shades to match a variety of finishes.  After cleaning the piece, you just dip a lint-free, soft cloth (or fine steel wool if it's looking particularly mucky) in a bowl of Howard's and wipe it on with the grain of the wood.  About 30 minutes later, go back with a clean cloth and wipe off the excess.

Though it doesn't completely cover up missing veneer and, obviously, won't remove deep gouges, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the results.  Many of the smaller discolorations and marks completely blended away and the others became far less visible.

After about an hour of drying, I moved on to the Howard's Feed-N-Wax ($7.00 - Home Depot), a wood preserver that contains carnauba wax, beeswax, and orange oil.  You'll go through the same process here.  Just wipe it on, wait, wipe off, and let dry.  After the Restore-A-Finish did it's part, the Feed-N-Wax really brought out the wood grain and, after a quick buffing, gave the finish a pleasant satin sheen.

I'm impressed.  Though it's no panacea for torn-up wood furniture (you will need to refinish for pristine results), the Howard's combo delivered and my Brasilia is looking super fine without the pain and hassle of a full sand-down and refinish.  For that, it receives a solid recommendation.

A few tips:
*Test these products on an inconspicuous area first
*Wear gloves.  I didn't and this stuff is oily and hard to get off of hands.
*Let coats dry before reapplying.  I did two coats of each.
*Give everything a thorough rub-down (preferably several) to remove any residue before using the furniture.

Source: Amazon


  1. We go through a lot of both those products, plus a lot of teak oil. I'm also a fan of furniture crayons for filling in small scratches and nicks.

    Your Brasilia piece looks wonderful. I'm glad the products worked out for you.

  2. What a beautiful piece, congrats! I will have to keep this miracle juice in mind for my next project.

  3. Ooooh, you can get Howard's at Home Depot now?! I thought it was online ordering only. Sweet! I have a Lane Perception sideboard, dining table and chairs. They seem "dry" to me and I'm thinking this is the miracle elixir that could help!

    What sort of ventilation do you need while working with this stuff? It's cold up her in Chicago!

  4. Wow, you did an awesome job. That restored brasilia chest looks amazing.

  5. great job! im really impressed
    i have a brasiia dresser to which i wish to do the same...before i ruin everything, i wanted to check that it is indeed the walnut colored finish i wish to purchase....?

  6. Hey Anon. I assume that you're the one who emailed about the Brasilia. I've sent a reply and good luck with your refinishing!

  7. your dresser looks very nice! can you show a picture of the feet? I have the same issue with the feet on my Brasilia hutch which I am thinking of doing this process instead of a complete refinish! Thank you!