Tips on restoring three Heywood Wakefield pieces?

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mom929
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Tips on restoring three Heywood Wakefield pieces?

Postby mom929 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:45 am

Help! My grandparents had some wonderful Heywood Wakefield pieces in their home that they passed down to my parents in the 1970s. In their "infinite wisdom" they painted one dresser white and one dresser red. There is also a matching credenza that remained the original wheat color, but is now very badly scratched and stained and watermarked.

Along the way my brother repainted his dresser several coats of black.

I've now inherited all three pieces - in three different colors and stages of wear.

I'd love to restore them all to the original color and bring them back to life.

I don't have the money to get them professionally restored, but I do have some time.

I've seen that there are HW refinishing kits online, and could pick that up. But first, what's the best way to remove all of that horrible paint? Should I just use a paint stripper that I get at my local hardware store? Should I strip the unpainted piece too to remove the yellowed varnish and get it closer to matching the final result of the two dressers?

I know that this won't be as pristine as the original, and I"m not trying for that, just a good refinishing job that will harken back to its original look when my grandparents had first purchased the set.

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Postby AsonnyA » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:19 pm

Yep, sounds like a paint stripper is your best option. Strip all the pieces.

Removing the hardware from the pieces, before stripping, is recommended, also. You don't want to damage the hardware with the stripper. If need be, mark the hardware and/or put the different hardwares, of each furniture piece, in separate ZipLock bags, to keep them distinguished from others. If other parts, other than hardware, needs to be removed, mark those, also, as to which piece of furniture they belong to.

When removing something "complicated", if applicable, write down how it is disassembled, so that you can reassemble it later. Take pics of the disassemble procedure, if need be.

Stripping will be a messy job, if you don't have a set-up for routine work, as we typically have. If you don't have a dedicated workplace, maybe get some large cardboard boxes to work on, to catch all the gunk that will be coming off, falling off the stripped pieces, as you work. Sometimes I use cardboard, to work on, to catch gunk that drips off the work.... usually when I use a spray stripper, the residue is drippy/liquid-like.

If you'll be working half a day / all day on a piece, chances are you'll eventually have gunk under foot. Maybe go to the drug store or surgical supply outlet and get some shoe protectors (like these - http://www.amazon.com/Disposable-Polypr ... B000ICKO88 ).... water repellant paperish covers that slip over your shoes. They'll prevent gunk from dripping on your shoes/getting on the soles, as you maneuver around your work. With that much stripping to do, a box of 100 may be a plus.

Sonny

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Bob Boardman
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Postby Bob Boardman » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:00 am

First, search this forum for Heywood Wakefield posts - I've posted about a dozen items on this subject.
Second do not get a H-W kit - they're awful, for the reason stated next.

H-W produced a variety of finished colors. Two of the more popular were "wheat" and "Champagne". Part odf the problem was that the original H-W finish was not a single color, but a series of steps, each having a separate color effect. There is no single step way to imitate the H-W look. To compound the problem, they used oil-base products, that over time took on a amber cast.

Your comment "Should I strip the unpainted piece too to remove and get it closer to matching the final result of the two dressers?" could indicate that you have the original finish on that piece. As I said, there were a variety of H-W colored finishes.

I wouldn't strip "the yellowed varnish" until you're absolutely sure it's not the original finish
Bob "Boardman" Borders

garlanre
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Postby garlanre » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:20 pm

I would strip all three pieces and refinish them the same way so they coordinate. If you leave one with the original finish, it will look different from the others. Also, these pieces were never designed for the finish to last 70 years, so I'll bet it's not in the best of shape.

I have been stripping HeyWake furniture for years. I will swear by Bob Boardman's process. Check out the photos of some of the pieces I've done using his formula. If you follow the recipe, yours will come out the same way.

Good luck!

http://i1187.photobucket.com/albums/z39 ... fd683f.jpg

http://i1187.photobucket.com/albums/z39 ... e9b931.jpg

http://i1187.photobucket.com/albums/z39 ... 1c2465.jpg

http://i1187.photobucket.com/albums/z39 ... adac63.jpg

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Postby AsonnyA » Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:12 am

Those results look great, Garlanre.

Kind of second guessing my initial advice: Maybe not stripping the credenza is wise, depends on how much damage there is. If the damage can be repaired with no trouble, then don't strip it. It may not be placed in the same room as the dressers, so no one would know if there is a difference in shades of color, compared to the others.

If any repair(s) fail, you can always strip it later. The repair work may not be a heck of a lot of work, so that initial "work investment" wouldn't/might not be a significant loss.

Sonny

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Postby garlanre » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:35 pm

"...badly scratched, stained, and watermarked" doesn't sound salvageable to me. But I hope it is, since refinishing is a ton of work.


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