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Refinishing Heart Redwood Paneling

I purchased a home built by the owners in 1948. The Living Room is paneled in heart redwood. After much consideration I decided to honor the style of the previous owner and try to keep the paneling. With age, the paneling has aged in some places but areas under pictures, etc., are lighter and noticeable. In other places, someone filled nail holes with a putty-type material that has not changed color with the paneling. I'd like to remove the more obvious imperfections in coloration.

How do you refurbish the paneling? A light sanding followed by a coat of clear Watco Danish oil was advised.

Re: Refinishing Heart Redwood Paneling


Unfortunately, getting rid of the shaded areas from past pictures is just about impossible short of heavy sanding down to virgin wood. Of course, you could wait another 50 years for the shading to even out:) Any wood will darken with age and yours has had 50 years to darken.

The non-matching colored putty can be dug out and replaced with better matching putty or colored wood filler.

How you treat the paneling depends somewhat on what was used originally. If there is a varnished finish which has merely become dull, something as simple as a polishing with with lemon oil would bring back some luster. You could also re-varnish the paneling.

The original varnish was certainly not a urethane. I would stick with a conventional varnish to re-coat as urethanes are somewhat temperamental about what they will stick to.

If the original finish was just an oil finish, then Watco would be fine to brighten it up and give new patina. Also, if there is only an oil finish, one of the tinted Watco Oils might somewhat moderate the shaded areas as it would probably somewhat penetrate the surface and even out the coloration.

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