Mid-Century Credenza Restoration

We thought we’d share the process we used to restore one of the treasures we found. Not necessarily THE right process, just one that works for us. Here are the steps.

Pic 1 - West Michigan Furniture Co. credenza as found, stains on top, compression damage, split front leg.
Pic 1 – West Michigan Furniture Co. credenza as found, stains on top, compression damage, split front leg.
Pic 2 - Detail showing damage to credenza top, including two very obvious black water marks.
Pic 2 – Detail showing damage to credenza top, including two very obvious black water marks.
Pic 3 - Applied Citristrip paint stripper to wood surfaces.
Pic 3 – Applied Citristrip paint stripper to wood surfaces.
Pic 4 - Preparing to deal with water marks.
Pic 4 – Preparing to deal with water marks.
Pic 5 - Water marks were treated with Savogran wood bleach (oxalic acid), applied with a toothbrush per manufacturer's directions.
Pic 5 – Water marks were treated with Savogran wood bleach (oxalic acid), applied with a toothbrush per manufacturer’s directions.
Pic 6 - Before and after treatment of water marks.
Pic 6 – Before and after treatment of water marks.
Pic 7 - After addressing all surface defects (water marks, steaming out compression damage, etc.), all wood surfaces were sanded to a minimum of 180 grit sandpaper.
Pic 7 – After addressing all surface defects (water marks, steaming out compression damage, etc.), all wood surfaces were sanded to a minimum of 180 grit sandpaper.
Pic 8 - Depending on type of wood, some may require pre-treatment with a wood conditioner which will help with even absorption of stain. Some woods (i.e. birch) absorb stain unevenly, resulting in a blotchy appearance if not pre-treated.
Pic 8 – Depending on type of wood, some may require pre-treatment with a wood conditioner which will help with even absorption of stain. Some woods (i.e. birch) absorb stain unevenly, resulting in a blotchy appearance if not pre-treated.
Pic 9 - After pre-treatment, apply stain. For this project we used Old Masters brand American Walnut Wiping Stain.
Pic 9 – After pre-treatment, apply stain. For this project we used Old Masters brand American Walnut Wiping Stain.
Pic 10 - After staining the piece, lacquer was applied as a top coat. We're trying to transition to environmentally sensitive products in our restoration work and to that end, used Valspar's Zenith Waterborne Lacquer. Zenith is a Greenguard Certified product.
Pic 10 – After staining the piece, lacquer was applied as a top coat. We’re trying to transition to environmentally sensitive products in our restoration work and to that end, used Valspar’s Zenith Waterborne Lacquer. Zenith is a Greenguard Certified product.
Pic 11 - The lacquer was applied with a Fuji Mini-Mite 3 HVLP spray system. This spray system makes the application of top coats a snap. With HVLP, there is less overspray, so there is less waste of product. Also, in using the waterborne lacquer, clean-up requires water instead of noxious chemicals.
Pic 11 – The lacquer was applied with a Fuji Mini-Mite 3 HVLP spray system. This spray system makes the application of top coats a snap. With HVLP, there is less overspray, so there is less waste of product. Also, in using the waterborne lacquer, clean-up requires water instead of noxious chemicals.
Pics 12-16 - The finished credenza. The entire project took about a week.
Pics 12-16 – The finished credenza. The entire project took about a week.
The finished top of the credenza.
The finished top of the credenza.
Before & After shot of coffee stains.
Before & After shot of coffee stains.
Again, the finished credenza.
Again, the finished credenza.
Pic 17 - Repaired leg of finished credenza. We did not get a before shot of this leg, which was split down the middle and had to be glued and clamped.
Pic 17 – Repaired leg of finished credenza. We did not get a before shot of this leg, which was split down the middle and had to be glued and clamped.

Links to products used:

Citristrip

Savogran Wood Bleach

Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

Valspar Zenith Waterborne Lacquer

Fuji Sprayer

Greenguard Certification

2 thoughts on “Mid-Century Credenza Restoration

  1. Hi..i have the exact same cerdenza ..i have had it for some time now..I was was wanting to know what is the price on cerdenza if I was to sell it…Thank you

    1. Hi, Monica – Thanks for your comment. When it comes to pricing items, it’s always a matter of what your local market will bear and the condition of the item. If we fully restore a credenza, we can typically get about $625 to $750 in the Twin Cities metro. That pricing might be way too low in New York City or way too high for a rural area that doesn’t care about mid-century furniture. Check around at shops in your region to get an idea of where to price your credenza. The price we’ve given is for a retail market, not wholesale. Wholesalers need to make money on the pieces they buy, so the price has to be a lot cheaper for them to make it worth their while. Good luck!

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