Howard Products Q & A


1. Can I use Restor-A-Finish more than once?

Yes. Restor-A-Finish is usually used only once and then the restored finish is maintained with Feed-N-Wax, Orange Oil or Lemon Oil. If you have deep white rings or water marks that do not come out with the first application, then you may want to apply it again with super fine (0000) steel wool, to help blend out the damaged finish. Be careful not to rub too hard, but hard enough to blend out the damaged areas. Keep in mind that since Restor-A-Finish can penetrate through most finishes, it can also "bloom" back out, so do not soak or leave it on for more than a couple of minutes. Usually it is a wipe-on, restore, then wipe-off process.

2. What color Restor-A-Finish should I use?

Always choose the Restor-A-Finish color that best matches your finish. An exact match is not necessary. If it seems to be inbetween colors, we recommend starting with the lighter color.

3. What is in Restor-A-Finish?

Restor-A-Finish is a unique formula that contains just the right amount of solvent blended with stain and mineral oil. Restor-A-Finish penetrates through the existing finish to blend out light scratches, sun fade and other damage, while restoring the color and luster in one step. It will not remove or soften the existing finish - this is why it is very popular for antiques. Restor-A-Finish maintains the original "patina" of an antique finish - so it maintains its character/value as an antique. If you have a safety question, please refer to our MSDS sheet.

4. I've used Restor-A-Finish but my finish still looks dull, what do I do?

If the piece originally had a high shine finish, try using our Restor-A-Shine products: our Polishing Compound and Burnishing Cream utilize extremely fine polishing powders blended with polishing oils to restore high shine finishes by polishing out fine scratches and blemishes (see the Restor-A-Shine page).

5. Can I put a clear coat finish on after I am done using Restor-A-Finish?

No. Keep in mind that the purpose of Restor-A-Finish is to restore an EXISTING finish. If your goal is to improve the shine, we recommend following up with our Restor-A-Shine products. If you are looking for added protection, we recommend following up with our Citrus Shield Paste Wax or Feed-N-Wax.

6. Can I use Restor-A-Finish on my kitchen cabinets?

Yes! Restor-A-Finish is ideal for kitchen cabinets. It will restore the original color and luster to your cabinets without having to strip and refinish them. Typically, kitchen cabinets have a thin lacquer finish (especially in newer homes). It is a good idea to protect and maintain the restored cabinets with Feed-N-Wax. As always, test Restor-A-Finish in an inconspicuous spot and see if you like what the restored finish looks like before restoring the entire kitchen.

7. How long does it take Restor-A-Finish to dry?

Restor-A-Finish usually penetrates into the finish more than it "dries." You should wipe it on, let it work and then wipe/buff off the excess. Some people confuse Restor-A-Finish with Danish Oil, tung oil or finishing oil - these oils usually soak in and solidify in the wood pores. Restor-A-Finish should soak in, taking the stain with it - restoring the finish to its original color and luster. It works best on shellac, lacquer and most other finishes. Harder finishes such as polyurethane will absorb less of the stain/restorer, but will still look much better after Restor-A-Finish is applied. Always maintain the "restored" look with Feed-N-Wax, Citrus-Shield Paste Wax, Orange Oil or Lemon Oil. Use Restor-A-Shine Polishing Compound to buff out fine scratches left by (0000) steel wool or to restore or rub out harder polyurethane finishes to a high gloss.

8. Can I use Restor-A-Finish on my antiques?

Definitely! Howard Products got our start in the antique industry with antique dealers using Restor-A-Finish. Instead of stripping and refinishing - Restor-A-Finish allowed them to "Restore It - Don't Strip It!" Restor-A-Finish maintains the character, value, and patina of the antique and after the antique is restored, maintaining it with Feed-N-Wax is the best way to keep the finish from drying out and fading.

9. What should I use to clean with before using Restor-A-Finish?

The wood surface should be free from heavy dust, grime, grease and dirt before using Restor-A-Finish. Most of the time, you do not need to pre-clean before using Restor-A-Finish. If the wood surface is really dirty, you can use a soft cloth and either Orange or Lemon Oil or Howard Clean-A-Finish before restoring.

10. Do I use Feed-N-Wax or Paste Wax after Restor-A-Finish?

After using Restor-A-Finish, most of the time, Feed-N-Wax is used to maintain the "restored" look. Feed-N-Wax adds shine, protection, and is the perfect follow up to Restor-A-Finish. On high gloss finishes (pianos) Citrus Shield Paste Wax can be used to add a hard carnauba wax shine and protection. For fine scratches on a glossy finish Restor-A-Shine Polishing Compound can be used to rub out the finish to a scratch-free gloss.

11. What's the difference between Feed-N-Wax and Citrus Shield Paste Wax?

Feed-N-Wax is a blend of beeswax, carnauba wax, and Orange Oil that is of a gel consistency. It is very easy to apply and buff off and is ideal for finishes that are dry, faded, cracking, or crazing. Citrus Shield Paste Wax contains much more of the harder carnauba wax (the hardest natural wax available). It provides a higher shine and greater protection. Citrus Shield is great for enhancing high gloss finishes and for unfinished woods - providing a natural hand rubbed finish. Both can be used on finished or unfinished woods.

12. How often do I use the Orange or Lemon Oil?

As often as you dust or clean your furniture. Howard Orange and Lemon Oils clean with real citrus oils, so they will not dry out your finish. We recommend at least once a month.

13. Feed-N-Wax leaves wax, Orange and Lemon Oil clean wax build-up - are they compatible?

Yes they are compatible. "Build-up" is a combination of dirt, grime, wax etc. and is usually caused by a lack of cleaning and not by over-applying wax. A quality wax will not "build-up" but will dissolve and redistribute itself on every application while the excess should come off on the soft cloth every waxing. Orange or Lemon Oil helps break down this excess build-up, however they do not remove all of the wax like many wood "cleaners" do. Feed-N-Wax should be used every two months or so depending on how dry the wood is, the type of wood finish, climate, etc. - Howard Oils can be used every time you dust.

14. Can Howard Products be used on painted or whitewashed finishes?

We do not recommend our products for painted or whitewashed finishes. Always test our products in an inconspicuous spot before using.

15. My oak bathroom cabinets are faded and have white water marks from water splashing on them, what can I do?

Use the Restor-A-Finish to eliminate the watermarks and add color - then follow-up with the Feed-N-Wax. Feed-N-Wax is excellent for protecting oak and other woods exposed to moisture. Feed-N-Wax brings out the original wood color and enhances the wood grain while it leaves a coat of water-repelling carnauba wax and beeswax to help protect the wood from moisture and occasional splashing.

16. Can I use your products on my outdoor furniture?

We have come out with a product called SunShield. SunShield was specifically designed for outdoor wooden furniture, especially teak and cedar.

17. Can I use your products on my teak wood?

For your teak wood, we recommend using SunShield. Traditionally with teak (and other oiled woods), waxes and other finishing oils are generally not used. More and more, the older the wood finish gets, the more it will benefit from an occasional SunShield or Oil application.

18. What should I use on my wainscoting and oak cabinets?

Feed-N-Wax, Feed-N-Wax, Feed-N-Wax...

19. How do I remove the lacquer coating from brass before I use Pine-Ola Copper & Brass Polish?

Any acetone-based lacquer/paint remover will take off the lacquer coating. Some products are even labeled Brass Lacquer Remover. Once you have exposed the raw brass, polish with Pine-Ola Copper & Brass Polish, using a soft towel.