1956 Lane Table Set

Discussion in 'Furniture' started by HMB, Sep 21, 2018.

  1. HMB

    HMB New Member

    My girlfriend brought these home from an estate sale the other day and after doing some research I think she landed a pretty decent score.

    Lane coffee and side tables - 701/702
    Serial 654170 - Dates them to 07-14-56 from what I understand

    She got the set for $100

    Just looking for more info on the tables, only saw a few of the 702 side tables online, couldn't find anything on the 701 coffee table.

    Not sure what type of wood they're made from but they're pretty dense. Each table weighed 25 lbs. on our bathroom scale. If I had to guess, I'd say beech wood.

    She wants to paint the tables green but after realizing they're legit vintage Lane pieces, I would like to sand them down, stain a bit darker and finish with a lacquer coat. What is the best/recommended restoration method for these?

    Thanks in advance.


  2. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    HMB, for some reason one of your photos ended up sideways. Here it is for arhritic necks;):

    I guess you are still assembling the side tables. Would be nice to see them in full glory too, if you have the time to put them together.
  3. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    These appear to be a pickled oak veneer over a birch substrate. Since they have a color wash to them, your plan to sand and stain would be tricky to implement. You are just as likely to sand through the veneer as be able to get the color out sufficiently to take stain evenly. Besides, sanding and staining darker would not be true to the original intent and would not be considered a proper restoration. You would be just as well to paint them if you are going to change the look anyway. You could always try to stain them but use painting as a fall-back approach if you can't get a look you are satisfied with through staining.

    These pickled finishes are nearly impossible to restore. I have learned the hard way not to even try beyond some minor touch up. Your coffee table appears to have deteriorated beyond a minor touch up so think you can't really hurt these regardless of what method of refinishing you choose to employ.
  4. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Is What It IS!!!

    Hi and WELCOME to the site as well, HMB!!!!!
    HMB, i need help and judy like this.
  5. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    They're classic 50s living room. If the finish really is shot go ahead and paint them like Brad said. I'd lightly sand them first to make sure it "grabs" and pick a color you like. It's not like these are Nakashima or something.
    judy and i need help like this.
  6. AuDragon

    AuDragon Well-Known Member

    Welcome HMB.
    HMB and i need help like this.
  7. HMB

    HMB New Member

    Yeah not sure what happened with that picture.

    They were in 'full glory' when she brought them home but I like to take things apart and I didn't realize they were legit mid-century pieces until I had the legs removed and took the time to search the serial #s

    I will post pictures of them reassembled after I'm done doing what I'm about to do, wish me luck ;)

    Thank you for the info, looking at the chips missing I figured it was a veneer but it didn't look like an original finish to me. The spots where chipped seem to have the same dark brown color showing.

    Not a fan of the finish to begin with, I didn't think it was original, reminded me of some furniture my parents had in the 90s. I want a nice wood grain finish, this veneer almost looks like it was painted on.

    What do you think about steaming the veneer while using a putty knife to remove?

    Thank you for the welcoming!
    judy and Any Jewelry like this.
  8. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    Bad idea. The substrate may be solid wood in some places but not others.
    judy and Any Jewelry like this.
  9. HMB

    HMB New Member

    Thanks for the tip. If they were that high quality this wouldn't be a DIY project, but they are vintage American made pieces and that's enough for me to put the time in.

    A Lane restoration 'expert' on Instagram recommended using 80/120/220 sanding then using a dark walnut stain with poly or lacquer to finish. He claimed that Lane tables are all he has in his home.


    I don't really care for the current finish to begin with, it reminds me of furniture my parents had in the 90s. I just want a solid wood finish, is it impossible to achieve?

    From deterioration or design method?

    Would knocking around to listen for hollow spots reveal this before removing the veneer?
    judy and Any Jewelry like this.
  10. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    By design. Would not be surprised to see plywood or particle board under the tops. The frames would be solid wood but not the tops.

    I think the issue here is that these were never designed to be what you want them to be. The pictures shown in your link above are all of pieces from different lines created to show the beauty of the wood. Your pieces use veneers with a pickled finish to create a different look. Once done, it is hard to get a wood look back from that finish. The pigment from the pickling goes in to the grain and is nearly impossible to get out. If these were solid wood, I would say strip the finish and sand away. Since they are not, you run the danger of sanding through the veneers before you get the pigment out. Trying to strip the veneers off opens a whole new can of worms and really ruins the integrity of the piece.

    You could always try to refinish a top section of one of the pieces to see if you can achieve the look you want. If happy with the results, forge ahead. If you can not, they could still be painted.
    judy, Figtree3, HMB and 2 others like this.
  11. HMB

    HMB New Member

    Appreciate the info, I’ll post a picture after I start here in a bit.

    After further inspection last night I’m going to start with sanding as you recommended and see where that gets me. Stay tuned
  12. HMB

    HMB New Member

    Finally got a new finish on the tables, they were put on the back burner after realizing how difficult it was to get to bare wood without busting through the veneer work.

    After a careful balance of sanding and stripping, I started by using a black alcohol based dye.

    Following the dye, I applied black gel stain to reach the pores where the dye was unable to reach.

    For the top coat I applied 4 layers of oil based poly.

    After curing I polished it by wet sanding to 12000 grit, followed by buffing in some rubbing compound using the same 12000 grit padded disc. After buffing out the compound, I used paste wax to really make it shine.

    Wish I could show the original craftsman how his tables looked now, hope I did them justice!
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019 at 3:26 AM
    SBSVC, Joan, judy and 1 other person like this.
  13. judy

    judy Well-Known Member

    It looks good to me!!:cat:
    HMB likes this.
  14. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    They look great. Your diligent work has done them justice. I may even like this better than the original finish.
    HMB likes this.
  15. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    I think your tables are absolutely gorgeous. The way you did the black finish really shows off the parquet surface. I like it so much better than the original tables even if they had been in perfect condition.
    HMB likes this.
  16. SBSVC

    SBSVC Well-Known Member

    Well done, HMB! I hope you get many years of use out of them.
    HMB likes this.
  17. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    I agree with Brad; it looks better now than it did to start with.
    HMB likes this.
  18. HMB

    HMB New Member

    Thank you all for the kind words!

    Planning to keep them for myself as long as I can and hoping they'll be cherished and passed down for many years to come.

    I've seen the side tables online for $40-75 for just one, haven't seen 2 together anywhere and for the 701 coffee table, I have not seen one other one anywhere at all. Seems having this complete set is quite rare from what I've found.

    Curious though, could anyone give an idea on what value one could expect if they were to sell as a set?
    Any Jewelry likes this.
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