Tips and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I remove white rings or water marks?
If the water mark is whitish or light colored, the water has penetrated the finish, but not the wood. You can use Howard's Restore-A-Finish to cover up the light spot, or you can remove the finish, and the wood will not show signs of the water damage. The same is true of light colored heat marks.
If the water mark is blackish or dark colored, the water has penetrated the finish and has soaked into the wood. In this case, you must remove the finish, bleach the damaged area, then lightly sand if needed. You can start with a household bleach like Clorox. If you need a more powerful bleach, you can find "wood bleach" at a hardware store. Be careful not to over bleach the area.
How do I remove dents and scratches?
Dents are depressions in the wood where the grain is not broken. Scratches and gouges are areas where the grain has been damaged. After the finish is removed, most dents can be steamed out. Fold a piece of paper towel, wet it with cold water, and hold it on the dent. Place a hot iron on the dent for a few seconds until steam is forced into the wood. The dent should rise after a few applications. Sometimes a small amount of sanding is required. Always experiment in an inconspicuous area first. Scratches and gouges can sometimes be partially steamed out. Any damage that doesn't respond to steam must be either filled with a wood filler, or sanded out. Don't use a plastic (synthetic) type filler, as it won't accept a new stain. Use a wood filler that has real wood in it. Always sand in the same direction as the grain of the wood.
How do I remove the finish from carvings, grooves, and spindles?
To get into small cracks, corners, grooves, and decorative carvings, use a 2-3" wide paint trim brush. The cheap, white bristled models work well. Cut the bristles to toothbrush length (about 1/2" long), dip in WWD Refinisher, and work into the crack. You can use a toothbrush, but it is not as effective as it doesn't have as many bristles.
To get the finish out of turned spindles and rungs, use course twine such as macrame rope or baling twine, or women's nylon hosiery. Wet the twine or hosiery in WWD Refinisher and work it into the groove in a back and forth motion.
How do I remove gummy tape or price tag residue?
Howard's Orange Oil will remove most gummy adhesive residues. Allow it to soak on the sticky area for 5 - 30 minutes. Orange Oil will not harm the finish.
Why are there bubbles in my finish?
Bubbles in a freshly applied finish, especially polyurethane, spar varnish or other thick finishes, are usually caused by 2 things, shaking the can instead of stirring it, and/or using a foam brush instead of a high quality bristle brush or cloth.
Which Howard product should I use?
Many people are unsure of which Howard product to use first, so we have included an overview of all the Howard products that we carry:
Howard's Clean-A-Finish will remove a build up of dirt, wax, polish, hand oils, cooking oil, etc. It removes any build up that is on top of the finish, without harming the finish. We have sold it for many years, and found it to be the best furniture cleaner we have used.
Howard's Orange Oil is a very good light cleaner for finishes that are in good shape. It adds a little oil back into the finish to moisturize it. You can use it as often as you like, as there is no wax or silicone in it that will build up.
Howard's Feed-N-Wax is designed for finishes that are dry, old, cracked or that need some help. It is specifically designed to moisturize the wood and finish if it is really dry. The shine and protection will last longer than the Orange Oil.
Howard's Citrus Shield Paste Wax gives a higher shine and longer lasting protection than Feed-N-Wax. It has Orange Oil in it, so it will also moisturize the finish and wood. Citrus Shield contains carnuba wax, which is the hardest type of furniture wax.
Howard's Restore-A-Finish is a unique deep penetrating stain that will cover up white water rings, heat marks, small scratches, and will bring back the color of faded finishes.
If there is a sticky build up or any residue on the furniture, use Clean-A-Finish first.
Will WWD Refinisher remove the stain?
Wood porosity, stain viscosity, and dye and pigments vary widely, so this is a general overview. Normally, most of a stain sits on or near the top of the wood, and WWD Refinisher will remove it. There are exceptions, such as mahogany colored stains, that soak deeper into the wood than other stains. To remove the deep penetrating stains, you must either bleach or sand the wood.
Will WWD Refinisher work on softwoods?
WWD Refinisher will remove the finish from any type of wood without harming it. It will work on hardwoods and softwoods.
What if I want to refinish parts of a boat?
Use the same process as if it were a piece of furniture, but use bronze wool instead of steel wool. If the small strands of steel wool are not removed from the inside corners and grooves, they will rust in a marine climate.
Which oil finish should I use, Tung Oil, Watco Danish Oil, or Watco Teak Oil?
Western Tung Oil Finish is a clear interior finish that soaks into the wood. The first and sometimes the second coat will soak deep into the wood and leave a natural no shine look. The third coat usually builds on the surface and the shine increases as you increase the number of coats. Tung Oil Finish is only available in clear (you can apply a stain first, and then apply Tung Oil Finish as the topcoat).
Watco Danish Oil is an interior finish that soaks into the wood, but does not build on top of the wood. It will give the wood a natural no shine look with very little effort. Watco Danish Oil is available in 7 colors.
Watco Teak Oil is an exterior finish that is very similar to Watco Danish Oil. It is Danish Oil + U.V. inhibitors + mildewcide + an ingredient to soak into dense woods better. U.V. inhibitors help protect the wood from the sun. Mildewcide helps prevent mildew from growing, especially important for boat interiors or humid areas. Watco Teak Oil is only available in natural color.
All 3 finishes are very easy to apply. You can touch up small scratches on these finishes very easily by rubbing a little more finish on the damaged area and wiping dry. Tung Oil Finish will provide more protection on table tops.
What should I use to tighten loose joints, Chair-Loc or Gorilla Glue?
Chair-Loc is a special resin that soaks into the wood, swelling the wood fibers until the joint is tight. After it dries, the joint is permanently locked together. Chair-Loc isn't an adhesive, so it only works on loose wood joints and tool handles.
Gorilla Glue is a very strong polyurethane glue that will foam inside the joint, to fill small voids. It will create a very durable, permanent joint connection. Gorilla Glue is an adhesive, so you can use it to glue things together.
Both products work great to tighten loose joints. They won't dry out and crack like yellow wood glues. If the joint has already been reglued, you should disassemble the joint and scrape off the old glue for maximum effectiveness. When you use either product, you should clamp the joint while it dries.
Why should I use blue painters' tape?
Regular masking tape has a strong adhesive that will pull paint and finish off the masked area when it is removed. Blue painters' tape has a milder adhesive (medium strength) than normal masking tape. It is suitable for painted surfaces and glass. If you have a fragile finish like lacquer, wallpaper, faux finishes, etc., use a low adhesive strength masking tape (Contact Us for more info). Always test in an inconspicuous area first.
How do I polish metal?
The two metals that get the most stubborn tarnish are brass and copper. Metal Doctor Brass and Copper Cleaner is the strongest tarnish remover for brass and copper that we have ever found. It removes years of tarnish quickly and brings the metal to a medium shine. Then you can use Simichrome Metal Polish to bring the brass or copper to a high shine. Simichrome will leave a thin film to protect the metal from tarnishing for a few weeks (depending on humidity, fingerprints, etc.). For all metals other than brass and copper, Simichrome alone is all you need. Simichrome will remove black tarnish from silver, gold, aluminum, stainless steel, etc. quickly and easily. Both products work much better than polishes found in your local grocery store.
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