At MidModMen+friends, the pleasure of offering mid-century modern furniture to new generations of customers comes in two ways. First is the discovery of smartly designed and thoughtfully built furniture that’s stood the test of time, even when there’s acute evidence of 50 or 60 years of use.
That leads to the second pleasure: restoring vintage modern pieces and bringing them back to the look and feel – or at least the spirit – of their origins.
A recent restoration project was a rare coffee table from Lane Furniture’s iconic Acclaim collection. This particular piece – called the Plateau coffee table because of its large surface area – was built in 1959, Acclaim’s first year of production. We found it in fair condition. There was heavy wear to the tabletop, moderate wear to the leg structure and wood veneer chips on the pass-through drawer.
Because Lane built their furniture so well in that era, the piece was structurally excellent. So the emphasis was on recapturing the look of the original. Like other projects, we took it through a multi-stage process of cleaning, sanding, smoothing, staining and finishing to achieve our result. We replicated the mellow (not contrasting) two-tone look of the walnut and fruit wood combination, and even repainted the signature black leg tips.
MORE ABOUT THE LANE ACCLAIM COLLECTION. From the Lane Furniture catalog: “Although contemporary in classification, these tables have a distinct hand-crafted quality that gives them unusual warmth and mellowness. Edges are softly rounded and suggest patient hand-working, rubbing, more hand-working and rubbing to achieve the soft sculptured contours. The figured walnut tops have a mellow “gunstock” finish accented with fruitwood borders that are joined to the walnut in large exposed dovetails, that add to the rich, hand-crafted character of each piece. So precise are these joinings that your finger-tips, brushing across the surface, cannot detect them.”
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Hello! I have A lane acclaim coffee table with some damage to the finish on top. Can you advise me on the proper way to refresh it without completely refinishing it? Is this possible? Thanks.
Robin: Each piece has it’s own approach to restoration. It depends on factors like (1) the nature of the damage or wear, (2) the type of finish that’s already on the table, i.e., oil, polyurethane, wax, etc. and (3) the condition of the rest of the surface. We recommend that you look into a product called Restor-a-Finish. It’s designed for light duty restoration. Some final advice: (1) watch a few YouTube videos specifically about rejuvenating Lane Acclaim, (2) always start with a clean surface (we use a diluted solution of Murphy’s Oil Soap), (3) go easy rather than aggressively because you can always do a second round if the first isn’t enough, and (4) follow product instructions. Hope this helps.