Restore antique pieces without stripping

How do you eliminate blemishes in wood finishes and restore the original colour and lustre without removing any of the existing finish?


Preserving the original finish on an antique piece while performing restoration involves preserving the authenticity and value of an original. Stripping the existing wood finish can literally translate into stripping the value of the piece and you want to avoid this if possible. In 1969, Douglas G. Howard set out to solve this dilemma, and unable to find the answer at his local hardware store, he went to work in his garage to create his own product.




The problem: how can you eliminate blemishes in wood finishes and restore the original colour and lustre without removing any of the existing finish.

Howard's goal was to make a product that would be much more than a surface treatment, yet nothing like a stripper or a refinisher. The key was to develop a formula that could restore the surface, penetrate the finish with stain, and evaporate before the finish was removed. The end result was Restor-A-Finish, Howard's first in an entire line of wood care products. Technically speaking, Restor-A-Finish amalgamates with the finish just enough to allow the stain in the product to pass through the finish surface. The solvents evaporate before any of the existing finish is removed, restoring the original colour and lustre while blending out the blemishes and minor scratches.

Howard Restor-A-Finish has been a standard in the antique industry for more than 40 years. Almost any existing wood tone, from Birdseye Maple to Jacobean, can be closely matched using one of - or a combination of - the nine finishes available.


Howard Restor-A-Finish in nine colours: Neutral, Maple-Pine, Golden Oak, Walnut, Cherry, Mahogany, Dark Walnut, Dark Oak, and Ebony Brown.

It is the stain in Restor-A-Finish, combined with its unique ability to penetrate without removing any of the existing finish, that enables anyone to easily and permanently eliminate blemishes in wood finishes. Scratches, oxidation, white heat rings, water marks, smoke damage, sun fade, etc., quickly disappear. Kitchen cabinets can be successfully restored in hours instead of days. An old garage sale piece can be transformed into attractive furniture in just minutes.







A stripper is designed to dissolve and remove the entire wood finish, including the stain. A 'refinisher' basically removes just the top finish. In either case, a new finish, or typically tung oil, needs to be applied.

The Restor-A-Finish concept is to permanently revive and restore the original colour and lustre in one step - without removing any of the existing finish. Most wood finishes that seem to need a complete refinishing job can be completely restored in a few minutes with this simple wipe-on, wipe-off process.


Howard Product is a leading brand of Vermont Sales and is available at leading specialist stores countrywide. For more information on the Howard range go to