A crazed finish on antique/vintage wood furniture looks like cracking lines all over the surface. Some woodworkers refer to a crazed surface as allorgating. Crazing prevents you and your guests from seeing the beauty of the wood that lies beneath the damaged finish. Crazing usually happens when the wood furniture dries out and the wood shrinks, but the finish is not flexible and cannot shrink in correlation to the wood. If the antique/vintage furniture is stored in an area that is hot and dry such as an attic or in direct sunlight, crazing will likely happen. Crazed surfaces feel rough, appear cracked and look terrible.
Repairing A Crackle Finish
Place the furniture on top of a tarp, thick layer of rags or newspapers in a garage or outside on a nice day.
Mix 1 teaspoon of dish soap into 4 cups of cool water and stir well to blend. Fill a small bucket with clear, cool water.
Wad up a large piece of cheesecloth and soak it in the soapy water. Wring out as much soapy water as you can. Scrub the surface of the table. Wet a second piece of cheesecloth with the plain water and wring out as much water as you can. After scrubbing the surface with the soapy water, scrub the surface with the plain water. Dry the furniture with a chamois cloth.
Wet a paintbrush with denatured alcohol. Paint a very thin layer of the denatured alcohol onto the crazed surface of the antique-vintage furniture. Make sure you follow the grain pattern of the wood and move the paintbrush in only one direction. Don't move the paintbrush back and forth, in circles or across the grain.
After three to five minutes, paint on another thin, light layer of denatured alcohol, following the wood grain and moving the brush in only one direction. After waiting another three to five minutes, paint on another coat of denatured alcohol, moving the brush in one direction while following the grain of the wood.
Look at the crazed finish after five to 7 minutes, if the finish still looks craze
d, paint on another coat of denatured alcohol using the same technique as you did with the first three coats. Look for changes after five to seven minutes. If there are no changes, add another coat, wait for five to seven minutes. Repeat this pattern until the crazing lines disappear. Depending on the how bad the crazing is, this process may need to be repeated up to 12 or more times.
After the crazing disappears, let the antique-vintage furniture finish dry overnight. If the furniture is outside, bring it inside. Avoid leaving the furniture in a cold or damp garage, basement or shed.
Apply matching colored paste wood wax to the antique/vintage furniture with a piece of folded cheesecloth. Wait a few minutes and the wipe the wax off the surface with a chamois cloth before the wax dries.
If the furniture is valuable or expensive, consider bringing it to a profesional for restoration.
If small pieces of the finish have chipped off the surface, this repair method will bring fix small chips, but not large ones.