Simple refinishing for Walnut Dressing Table


Active member
I'm quite sure that I'm not the first SAPFM member to conclude that a piece of furniture finished 30-plus years ago is in need of an update.

But I thought it wise to run my planned technique to other members for comment or suggestions: so here goes:

The dressing table (lowboy) is walnut with many coats of thin shellac rubbed down and then waxed. The finish has been thinned in some places most likely due to regular dust removal. The table has no damage or abuse, just a very lightened walnut that is no longer very attractive.

My thought was to remove the existing shellac finish with either mild stripper or shellac and wood shavings as suggested by others in earlier Forum posts. When the shellac is gone, use thin stains in AL to add color as necessary and then apply a new shellac overcoat using the usual many coats of 1-pound cut shellac. It seems pretty straightforward, though I'm sure much patience will be required.

I've included an image of one of the front legs that shows the lightened walnut and the thin finish.

What are your thoughts; what am I missing.

Frank Duff
Monkton, MD