How to Restore Danish Furniture

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Danish (or Danish Modern) furniture is a style of design that was born in the 1960s. It features clean, simple lines that have been the basis of many modern styles of furniture. The finish is typically simple, based on an oil finish that contains a light shellac. Stains are generally light, formulated to enhance rather than change the color of the wood. Light-colored woods such as ash are common. Teak is the most common material used to achieve dark colors. Restoring a Danish Oil finish is one of the simplest of all furniture-restoration projects.

How to Restore Danish Furniture
(Dale Davidson/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Oil soap
  • Soft rags
  • Mineral spirits
  • Danish Oil
  • Sandpaper
  • Sander
  • Steel wool
  • Soft unused paint brush
  • Mineral oil
Step 1

Scrub the furniture with a rag dampened in oil soap to remove any film, dirt or oil. Rinse with a rag dampened in mineral spirits.

Dale Davidson/Demand Media
Step 2

Sand the surface of the wood gently with 220-grit sandpaper to sand out any light scratches or knicks in the surface. Sand in the same direction as the grain. For larger pieces, use a random-orbit sander with 180- to 220-grit paper. Rub over the furniture with a tack cloth to remove any dust or other sanding residue from the wood. Again, work with the grain to prevent cross scratches. Rub the furniture with 0000 steel wool to complete the sanding. Wipe over it with the tack cloth a final time.

Dale Davidson/Demand Media
Step 3

Select a Danish Oil finish in a color that matches the original. Compare the finish to sample chips available from your paint retailer to get as close a match as possible. Apply a coat of Danish Oil to the furniture with a clean, dry, soft paint brush. Work in the direction of the grain. Allow the first coat to dry according to the label instructions.

Dale Davidson/Demand Media
Step 4

Rub the second coat in with 0000 steel wool. Soak the steel wool in Danish Oil and gently rub with the grain. This will allow the oil to penetrate below the surface of the wood and strengthen the grain of the wood.

Dale Davidson/Demand Media
Step 5

Allow the second coat to dry. Wet-sand the surface gently to prepare for the third coat. Lightly brush mineral oil onto 220-grit sandpaper. Rub the sandpaper with the grain to smooth it. Sand the entire surface. Allow the oil to dry.

Dale Davidson/Demand Media
Step 6

Brush on the third and subsequent coats, wet-sanding between each coat with 220-grit paper and mineral oil. Four to six coats is typical. Apply beeswax or paraffin wax to the surface for a higher-gloss sheen. Apply the wax with a soft clean rag and buff lightly.

Dale Davidson/Demand Media

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References

  • Briwax: How To
  • “Making Modern Danish Furniture”: Rolf Schutze; Nostrand Reinhold; 1973
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