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July 18, 2013

Refinishing and Restoring A Vintage 1940s Heywood Wakefield Extension Dining Room Table

By Sara In AZ

Sooooooo, last week I showed everyone the Heywood Wakefield dining room table that I picked up at the thrift store for $15…………


…………..Mom knew it would fit in perfectly in her time capsule condo kitchen. She already had a kitchen table, but it kind of overwhelmed the space…..this table really was the *perfect* size.

I found a picture of Mom’s new/old table in my Heywood Wakefield book – looks like it is a C3950G from the early 1940s! Wow!


Let me tell you, this table had seen better days….WAY better days!!!! I know it looks OK-ish from the above picture, but trust me the finish was shot and way, way scratched and I am guessing someone had been sitting in the middle of the table…..as there was a definite slant inward from both ends thus making it hard to pull the table apart and put the extension in.

Here are some “before” shots detailing the destruction.

In addition, someone had tried to re-varnish the top at one point so there were all these horrible drips all over the edges of the table. uggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. 



Here is the original “Champagne” stain mark on the bottom of the table.

OK, so here we have the table mostly disassembled and are ready to start sanding.

Here is a nice shot for y’all – one side perfectly sanded and one side still to go!

Should I just leave it this way???? hee!!!!!

You can really see how scratched up the table was on the side that still has the old finish.

I cannot stress enough that you must remove ALL of the old finish when you are refinishing a piece of furniture….I wanted to take this picture as an example. You can see toward the top of the pic how white and clean the wood looks and where my sander is you can see a brown-ish haze – the brown haze is the old finish that has seeped into the top grain of the wood. You must sand all of that out and get the wood to look as clean as possible otherwise when you go to apply your new stain the color and finish will be greatly compromised.

Now we are onto the staining.

If you would like to see an in-depth look at my staining process please see the post Refinishing Our Heywood Wakefield M328 Desk Bookcase…….The Definitive Post on Refinishing! – that post will give you all the in’s and out’s of my refinishing process.

I always use the same Wheat ‘Heywood’ stain I get off of a seller on E-Bay. There is a seller on there, needful useful things, who mixes stain to match Champagne and Wheat finishes of Heywood Wakefield blonde furniture. It is a stain and topcoat all in one so you do not have to worry about a lot of steps. I have always had really good luck with his stains, and he will mix custom colors for you if you need that as well. Here is a link to his E-Bay store needful_useful_things . He is a really great seller who is super nice to deal with and is really customer service orientated as well! Check him out!!!

All of the bottom surrounds getting stain… you can see I taped off the bottom of the table, as I did  not want to get a large build up of stain there.

Table legs also getting stain.

The table top is now getting stained – this is the first coat….you can see I taped off the bottom surrounds now because I do not want those sections to get any more coats of stain than they already have.

So, so close now……………………..

And whoo- hooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here we are all refinished and looking good again!

Mike worked his magic on the table too……now it is all nice and level on the top and the extensions pull apart so super easy!

I am happy to report that Mom LOVES her Heywood Wakefield table and is thrilled with the results!

Stay tuned…..more Heywood refinishing projects coming up in the near future!

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33 Responses to Refinishing and Restoring A Vintage 1940s Heywood Wakefield Extension Dining Room Table

  1. deb Reply

    July 18, 2013 at 5:22 am

    Looks perfect!

  2. Sherree Reply

    July 18, 2013 at 8:20 am

    That looks wonderful Sara! Great job.

  3. Lassie Reply

    July 18, 2013 at 8:30 am

    What a great job, the table looks marvelous!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      July 18, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks for the very kind words Lassie!

  4. Desirae Reply

    July 18, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Would love to see it in its space when it is all set up.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      July 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      Sorry I did not get a pic of it all set up in the kitchen Desirae. When we dropped it off (the day I took the “finished” pics above) Mom’s other table was still set up in the kitchen….so these pics were the best I could get. I will try to remember to take pics the next time I am over there!

  5. Betty Crafter Reply

    July 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I’m so impressed – you don’t waste ANY time! That thing would have sat, as found, in my garage for a year, until the mister would eventually make me get rid of it. It looks amazing!!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      July 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      Wow, thanks Betty! Since Mom was clamoring for the table to be finished ASAP I knew that I could not let it sit for too long….but in all honesty it probably took a month or so from start to finish.

  6. Andrea Reply

    July 18, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Gorgeous! See, that table really was meant to come home with you. You did such a fantastic job restoring it, and it’s the perfect size for your mom’s place. Awesome!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      July 18, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Thank you so much Andrea! And you are right…..everything worked out just like it really was meant to be!

  7. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    July 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Girl, you are absolutely amazing! The patience and attention to detail that you put into these pieces just blows my mind. The table looks so pretty. How did you fix that huge hole shown in the first picture? Putty?

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      July 18, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      Well, thank you for all the kind compliments Ms. Eartha Kitsch!

      If you mean the hole in the first pic right after I said…….

      “Here are some “before” shots detailing the destruction”

      the hole right under that black spot……that is actually where one of the table legs gets attached. There are slots at each corner and the table legs kind of “peek” out of them. You might be able to get a better idea of how it works by looking at the first pic where I am staining – the table is flipped over and you can see the slots a bit better.

  8. AtomicVault.etsy.com Reply

    July 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    What an awesome job!! We’re having our two Heywake surfboard tiered end tables redone currently (found em on the curb sporting baby blue house paint!). But I wimped out and am having a pro do the re-finish 🙂

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      July 18, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      Thank you very much AtomicVault! And wow, I just cannot believe that you found H-W by the curb…..stunning…..and LUCKY you! I am super glad you rescued them….and I’d love to see pics after they are refinished!

  9. Silvercat Reply

    July 18, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    That poor table was so beat up. Great job!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      July 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Thanks Silvercat! And yes, it was SO beat up! eeks!!!

  10. tammyCA Reply

    July 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    I would’ve thought the Heywood was beyond help, but you proved that wrong. Excellent recovery!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      July 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      I think my husband thought the same thing when he saw it Tammy…he was kind of like “what have you dragged home now” 🙂 I guess I just can’t help it, I have a compulsion to help all mistreated H-W furniture! Thank you!!!

  11. Jen Reply

    July 18, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Oh, it looks marvellous! Great job! It is cool to see this smaller table…No doubt so near the Depression and the war, people were living in smaller places, and I suspect this was aimed at younger couples and empty nesters, because it’s perfect for two and four in a pinch.

    Also, I have two darling and in-pretty-nice-shape-really (really) side tables I’ll be sending to you with $100 and a box of brownies. Just send ’em back when you’re done. ;D

    Your mom must be tickled!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      July 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      Thanks so much Jen!

      I agree – I think you are totally right about this table being designed for smaller spaces….most people didn’t really have big homes back then anyways. It really does fit in nicely at Mom’s condo!

      HA! Oh girl…if you lived anywhere near me I have you whipped into a frenzy about refinishing your tables and turn you into a refinishing machine! 🙂

  12. Charlotte Reply

    July 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    You and Mike are marvels at this stuff!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      July 20, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Thank you so much for the kind compliments Charlotte, it means the world to me!

  13. Kim Campbell Reply

    July 20, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Beautiful!!! And it gives me hope for finding a HW piece at a reasonable price.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      July 20, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      Thank you so much Kim, and yes…..never give up hope that you will find a piece of H-W cheap…..you just never know what will pop up out of the blue!

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  15. Paul Ilmer Reply

    September 9, 2016 at 3:24 am

    Thanks for posting this page, Sara. Looks like you did a lot of wonderful work to bring this table back to life. I own the exact table which I inherited from my aunt, who bought it back in the 40’s in Denver. Although it wasn’t in as bad a shape as yours looked when you got it, it too seriously needed refinishing. I refinished mine in 1995 and have used it on and off since as my primary dining table. I would’ve thought it’s the wheat color, except yours seems to be labeled champagne and looks exactly the same. I noticed that your leaf insert has one or both drop down aprons under the edge at the ends of the leaf that match those on the table. From one of the pictures it looks like they’re screwed into the underside of the leaf. I have no such aprons on the leaf nor are there any apparent screw holes that looks like there ever were such.
    Anyway, thanks for helping me finally be able to identify my table as a Haywood Wakefield with the model number.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 9, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      Really glad I could help you out Paul! The table was apparently originally champagne……since it was stamped as such….but it was in such horrible condition by the time we got it – with more than one coat of “new” varnish on the top and such…..it’s hard to say what that color really looked like. The color I refinished in was ‘Wheat’ however.

      OK, I am impressed….good eye on the drop down aprons Paul! I have a little secret to confess – the aprons were not there originally…the leaf was just like yours…apron free. I am not sure why H-W did not have aprons on this leaf, but it bothered me immensely to see that open gap. I kept looking at the aprons on my H-W dining table and thinking it looked SO much more complete. Mike and I got to talking about it and since the table needed so much work anyway we decided to add our own aprons….now was the time since I was totally refinishing the table. We carefully looked over our other dining table that did have aprons on the leaf and basically set out to copy exactly what they had done in terms of how the apron looked and how it was installed. We bought some birch and cut it down to size, rounded the corners a bit….screwing them down was the most terrifying part! I am very happy that we did the aprons and that it worked out so well in the end – if I saw this table in a shop I would never guess in a million years the aprons were not original!

  16. Claudia Reply

    November 22, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Would it be possible to order Champagne Stain ??

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 23, 2016 at 2:50 am

      Claudia – check out the seller I recommended in my post above – needful useful things on ebay…..here is a link


      he has both champagne and wheat available! I recommend you order his samples first so that you can get an idea of what the stain looks like in real life….Good luck!


    July 19, 2018 at 11:53 am

    I’m late to the party but I just bought what I think is the same table and I noticed that when the leaf is removed, although the two panels meet neatly in the middle with no gap, the side “skirt” does not. There’s a small gap on either side that makes it look like the table needs to be pushed in more. Is yours like that? Maybe it’s to allow for a smoother inserting of the leaf.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      August 8, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Anne, sorry for the late response……I guess its hard to totally say without seeing pictures. I know HW sometimes did not do a full skirt around all of the table bottom. And its hard to say why they did leave some gaps?? If the table does not appear to be missing any wood sections I would say really not to worry. This table did not have any gaps with the leaf out, as you can see in the very first picture. Sounds like you scored a great table at any rate! 🙂

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