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on September 22, 2012
No, it's not magic or a miracle cure all, but it really worked well removing some BAD heat circles on a used coffee table a friend game me. This product requires work. I found I got the best results using 0000 steel wool and getting a fresh piece rather often. It takes some scrubbing but it's so much less work than stripping, sanding, pre-treating, staining, and lacquering. Vigorous scrubbing (WITH the grain) will also remove some shallow scratches and swirls. I have included some pictures of my results, before and after. It took me about 90 min to scrub and wipe down my coffee table with more than adequate results.
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on June 24, 2009
I used this to restore all of the oak cabinets in my house. Our house was built in 1988 and had fairly upscale Merilat cabinets that were just worn and faded. In the bathrooms, we had a lot of hzings, greying, and checking.

After using Restor-a Finish, the cabinets looked practically brand new!! A few things to note, though:

#1 - The grain in the wood becomes more pronounced and more defined. Imagine oak cabinets with the grain depth of hickory.

#2 - the final finish is quite dull. In our situation, a klitchen with dark red walls and stainless/black appliances, the dull satin finish worked really well. In the bathrooms, we ended up using a bees wax product to give them some luster.

#3 - While the product is easy to use, it is still labor intensive. We used the steel wool method of applying, after wiping the cabinets down witha high quality acidic wood wash that we got though our local woodshop. That cut through all of the grease and gunk. Then we went back with the Restor-a-Finish with o grade steel wool and applied with the gran of the wood. I did this twice. Each time the finish improved, but each time thw wood got a little darker. Since our wood was of a medium grain medium stain, a little darker was OK.

My suggestion to ANYBODY thinking about redoing a kitchen: buy this and try it on the insides of some cabinet doors first. You may find the facelift is more than enough to hold off on new cabinets for a while.
33 comments| 247 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 7, 2013
This is a very good product that performs as promised to restore and clean many wood finishes.

Restoration is not the same as refinishing. On some types of wood furnishings and finishes, it will improve the appearance dramatically, remove blemishes and clean the wood.

It works best on:

-Furniture that is scratched with a dull stained finish

-Fine furniture with a shiny lacquer finish

It will improve the appearance of badly scratched furniture with the above types of finishes.

It does not work well on sealed finishes (polyurethane).

I have used this product in all of the above situations. Following are some of the results achieved.

First, a small pine table with a dull finish appeared shabby and needed improvement. The surface was severely scratched, with mostly surface level damage. After a five minute simple wipe-on application of the product using a rag, the results were dramatic. If I wanted to fuss over this piece, I would reapply using fine steel wool and touch up some of the gouges with a stain pen. Six months later, the table looks almost as it did prior to using the product, and it needs to be reapplied.

Howard's Restor-A-Finish proved it's worth during my second project, the restoration of a high quality solid wood table top with a glossy, lacquered
finish.

The table had white heat marks the size of a salad plate that would not disappear with any previous methods attempted.

Prior to using this product, I attempted to remove the white marks by researching solutions in Google. "Removing white heat marks from wood" yielded several cautious attempts from "applying steam again" to using toothpaste, mayonnaise and other so-called "remedies". The white marks remained in the finish.

When I found out about the Howard's product here on Amazon, I read some of the reviews where reviewers claimed they were able to remove white rings by simply wiping the product on with a rag. I tried this and it did not work. I was afraid my money went down the tubes, but decided to try using steel wool.

0000 Steel Wool was too soft and ineffective. With 000 grade, it took some patient effort, but less than ten minutes later the white marks were gone. Replenishing the piece of steel wool regularly increased the effectiveness of the process. Work with the grain, use light pressure and keep checking your results to be sure you don't damage the finish. (See before and after photos.)

Howard's is also an excellent product to polish and detail wood furniture that is already in good shape, reviving it a bit and making it look exceptionally clean and shiny. For best results with wood finishes that need cleaning, use steel wool.

As mentioned earlier, the product will improve the appearance of some finishes, but does not do anything that I would consider restorative on certain finishes.

For example, I wiped it on a small table that appears to have had a polyurethane finish that was in poor condition. It deposited a light stain in the areas that were lighter, but the result wasn't very impressive. The areas where the urethane finish was not damaged was cleaned, but the stain was unable to penetrate the lighter scratches. The only solution for this type of situation is either covering the old finish or removing it.

A similar result was obtained on a very old veneer top using steel wool and minimal elbow grease. The result is better than before, but the wood still shows a lot of the underlying damage.

Another mediocre result was achieved on a furniture with deep scratches. The product changed the color of the scratches and improved the appearance dramatically. However, the damage was still visible. Better results were achieved by filling the scratches with a wood crayon, and smoothing them out using fine steel wool and a light hand to prevent marring the finish. This is a stop-gap solution for furniture that either should be refinished or painted.

All in all, this is an excellent product for cleaning and addressing many wood furniture problems without refinishing.
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on March 19, 2013
We are preparing to sell our house in about a week and the woodwork in our house was in really rough shape. Last night I started in a small spot with this product (expecting lackluster results). To my amazement, the scratches just started disappearing and the wood started shining through like never before. I ended up doing all of our banisters and started on our cabinetry and almost couldn't stop I was so impressed with the results. We started with scratched / dinged / dull wood and now my wife has reported that the wood is "gleaming and beautiful". I really have never been so impressed with something that was intended to "restore". Typically these products make mild improvements or are simply false advertising. This is the real deal.

A couple of other thoughts:
-This will obviously not fill in dents, holes, etc. but will solve scratching etc. well (Even made a spot my dog had gnawed disappear into the rest of the wood).
-For scratched up wood I used 0000 steel wool to apply following the grain of the wood and followed with a rag to wipe.
-I did use the Howard's wax and feed product after the Restor-a-Finish dried. Not sure if that's necessary but it seemed to leave a nice smooth finish
-This product smells like stain so you will probably want to open a window or make sure the area you are working is ventilated.
-Don't spill this stuff! I have been lucky so far but I shudder to think of what would happen if this spilled on the carpet / wood floors.

Bottom line is that this was pretty much the best $10 I ever spent. I believe this added tremendous value as we try and sell our house.
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on August 9, 2009
...or anyone else not wanting to invest the time and money into floor sanding & refinishing. My terrible wood floors now look quite respectable, they even have a slight glow.
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on February 19, 2014
Our home is only 13 years old. However the cabinetry was not finished well. The laquer or product to finish the wood flaked off in the high use areas of the kitchen. Utensil drawers, pan cabinets, under the sink cabinets and the faux drawers at the sink (mostly from water dripping from doing dishes and just water droplets from everyday use of kitchen sink). Murphys oil didn't come close to helping. I love using that oil on other products but it just didn't cut the mustard. My mom uses Restore-a-finish in her kitchen every once in a while. She suggested to use in my house because even the 3 bathrooms needed it. My husband started with cleaning the bathroom cabinets with Murphys soap. Mild enough for the wood but strong enough to get that job done. We then applied Restore-a-finish with 0000 steel wool. A small amount of elbow grease for some areas where the wood was splintering and viola, BEAUTIFUL!! We followed up with Howards Feed-n-wax that is suggested and we are truly thrilled. They look like we just installed them. The bathrooms look so much better. The next weekend we attacked the kitchen. We followed all of the same steps as we did for the bathroom cabinets. Holy cow, I am amazed at the beauty my kitchen has again. I'm trying to find other projects around my home to use this on. I was hoping to submit before and after photos. Once I can I will. So you can see for yourself.
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on April 18, 2009
I'm thinking that the previous reviewer didn't use this product correctly.
First, there should be no residue. It is wiped on with either a rag or 000 steel wool. Then it is immediately wiped off. Also, you cannot use this over a poly finish.
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on February 1, 2015
Look at my picture! My cabinets are 38 years old. I took them off their hinges and took the handle off. I didn't clean them much over the years because if I really tried to take the gunk off the finish came off. So I cleaned them with SOS pads, 409 and plastic scraper tools. Got all the gunk off. Then stained the super light areas with oil based walnut stain and then applied this Restore-A-Finish. Let dry and then a week later used Howard's Feed-N-Wax. My cabinets turned out beautiful and did all the finish in 2 days. Easy!!!
Ready for my new Granite!!!
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on February 18, 2015
I am absolutely mystified at what this stuff did to the cherry cabinets in my bathroom. Years of long, hot, steamy showers had equated into major moisture damage of the existing finish on my cabinets. They were washed out, and oxidized looking. I called my cabinet guy who custom made all the cabinetry in my house, and he said they were so far gone they needed refinishing. Honestly they were about that bad. I decided to try Howards on a whim, seeing it for 10 bucks at the local True Value....

HOLY S***!!! Upon my first application I though what I was seeing was complete BS. "There is no way this stuff could really work that well right... As soon as I wipe it off it'll just be my good ole' faded cabinets again" I thought naively. Then I wiped it off. "Oh my sweet baby jeebus... It worked!" I thought, or potentially screamed aloud. Needless to say, it is scientific proof of sorcery.

Howard, I have no idea who you are... But you know how to really bring out the best of a mans wood.

In the picture you can clearly see the cabinet door I treated on the right, vs the untreated on on the left.
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on October 8, 2010
I used this product on my kitchen table after being tired of always covering the beautiful birch top with a tablecloth to hide the water stains & heat marks. Other than these the table was in very nice shape. I tried just using a soft cloth and it seemed all it did was brighten it up a bit. I then used the 0000 steel wool pad recommended and after SEVERAL attempts, the marks did disappear somewhat. I think if I were to do it again, I might venture to a 000 pad instead. It looks better; I just expected the marks to completely disappear. Oh, one point--don't worry too much about an "exact" color match--as long as it's close it blends right in. I did follow up with the Howard's Feed-n-Wax which did a good job of smoothing out the finish on the table.
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