Saturday, 11 June 2011

Wilson's Original Devon Wood Oil for Renovating Light Ercol Finish


Original Ercol finishes were sprayed on at the factory and this is outside the scope of amateur renovation. An alternative which can be used for the light natural finish is to use a wood oil. I have used Wilson's Devon Wood Oil on several projects around the house to seal oak veneered chipboard doors and a veneered MDF window seat. A single coat as used in the pic above produces a satin finish enhancing natural grain. My project to strip and re-finish a pair of dark colour Windsor chairs had got the first frame down to bare wood so a trial area was treated to check the finished colour on beech wood. The result is a touch paler and less yellow than the original light cloured kitchen chairs which I have but to my eye a great improvement on the worn out dark original.




There are some advantages to using oil over some form of varnish. There are no drips or brushmarks and any future wear marks can be re-treated to make an invisible restoration. The frame was given a single light coat, just enough to brush in well and cover any bare areas and was then rubbed down with a soft cotton cloth to remove any excess.

Wilson's Original Devon Wood Oil boasts that it is made from only natural ingredients including real turpentine which gives it a pleasant pine smell which disappears in time. It has recently been awarded a Royal Warrant and carries the coat of arms that says it is By Appointment to HM the Queen who no doubt uses it to polish Pholip's Wooden leg. (Here comes another superinjunction!).

13 comments:

  1. Hi, I'm so glad I've found your site - thanks for the very useful tips, especially wrt to gluing Quaker chairs. I wonder if you could expand a bit more on your process for converting dark coloured furniture to light. I have 3 dark coloured Quakers, and a set of six pale ones. I'd like to make the 3 dark ones pale, and my thought (after stripping one today) is to use wood bleacher to remove the remnants of dye/stain. What do you think? The alternative is to sand a fair amount of the top surface off, but I'm loathe to do this.

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  2. Hi Jason, The dark chair which I had stripped by a non caustic process still had a dirty stain and felt slightly soft so has needed a lot of sanding. I can only suggest trying a non visible area and trying it out. There is plenty of "meat" in the chairs so sanding isn't a problem other than the time it takes! I have found though that dark stain often hides dark grain and knots as wood for blond chairs was specially selected.

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  3. I'll give the bleach a go on an inconspicuous area as you suggest. Do you tend to do your sanding by hand or machine?

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  4. Sanding was done with a Lidl detail sander where possible, otherwise by hand. The lookout with power sanders is of getting carried away and "flatting" rounded section like a leg.

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  5. Hi Anthony, fingers crossed you're still keeping an eye on this blog. We're in the process of taking our ercol light elm plank dining table back to bare wood. Would you recommend using this oil on it? I'm completely new to restoring and looking for any advice.

    thanks

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  6. Hi Will, I would use it myself but usual caveat. Try it on a small section first to see if you like it, you can always sand it off and start again. Don't drown it but start with a light dressing rub in well allowing it to dry fully. I stick to one coat but you can build it up. Let us know how it works. I'll publish before and after pics if you can do them.

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  7. Many thanks for the tips! I've just sanded down a dark butlers table to a light finish and used the Devon Wood Oil. Unfortunately I got carried away with excitement and didn't read to the end of your post because I layered the oil on quite thick and now the table looks reasonably dark again (perhaps 'Golden Dawn' colour)!

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  8. I am part through an overhaul of an Ercol Day bed. I have used Devon Wood Oil as recommended and I am very pleased with the results.
    I also have to say that I am very impressed with Skiddaw Upholstery and their replacement rubber strap service. Very fast delivery and superb quality in the straps made up to the requested lengths. Good work out to fit them, but that's not such a bad thing.
    Looking for recommendations for replacement cushions now. Has anyone got any good contacts?

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    1. I found your comment while browsing around for advice. I don't know if you ever found a cushion supplier - but try these people. Seem to get good reviews... http://www.safefoam.co.uk/acatalog/Lounge.html

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  9. Hello can some one help I have an Ercol breakfast small table need complete sanding and there are cracks.
    First question the cracks do I use glue?
    Second do I apply oil onto an elm top?
    Third what would be the process after sanding? Just put this oil on or wood dye or beeswax or all I can email pictures

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  10. About 50 years ago I used a lot of Danish oil to renovate furniture and also to give a nice satin finish to other woodworkings. Easy to apply.
    On another note: How would you replace a door handle on a Windsor sideboard?

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  11. Search for Ercol Windsor handle on Ebay. No experience of any sellers or product, they may be replicas? Fitting depends, some are screwed, some glued and wedged, some improvisation may be necessary. Just take care removing the stub of the old handle.
    Any pics or feed back will be helpful to anyone else doing this let me know how you get on.
    Good luck

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