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G Plan - to refinish or not?


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New member
5 May 2020
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I inherited a G Plan dining suite from my grandparents about 5 years ago. I guess it dates from the 1970s.

It's generally in good shape, but the chairs are wobbly as the glue has started to fail quite badly. I've taken one chair apart already and will start to source some supplies to reset the joints (I'll probably post about that separately). Whilst I am doing so and the chairs are apart, I am wondering if I should also think about sprucing up the finish on them and, while I'm at it, the table and sideboard.

Initially, my plan was to strip or sand the finish back and then refinish. However, on closer inspection, the condition of the original finish doesn't look *that* bad to my (untrained) eye. So I am wondering what people who know a bit more about these things than I do might think.

Could I for example clean and then apply wax or oil on top of the existing finish and "get away" without stripping/sanding? Would that cover up the water marks and occasional scratches shown in the photos below?

I realise that I might be stuck with the dents (there aren't that many of them) without refinishing and filling them in some way, but I suppose I can live with that as they're part of the 'history' of the furniture.

I'd prefer not to strip and do a total refinish if I can avoid it as I would have to do it in the back yard (no shed or garage) and there is of course a risk of various mishaps (especially as I believe we're talking veneers with this vintage of G Plan). Also, I suppose it would be nice to somehow save/preserve the original finish if I can.

I'm afraid I've no idea what the original finish is, but Google seems to suggest it's probably some kind of urethane finish. It looks like my grandparents looked after it quite well, although I'd be surprised if they ever oiled it or anything like that - more likely they regularly polished it with Mr Sheen or similar (which I believe is a no-no).

I'm no expert on any of this, but have done some amateur guitar refinishing in the past with nitrocellulose with reasonable success, so I don't think I'm totally out of my depth.











Hand Plane

Established Member
11 Oct 2013
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Fife, Scotland
You will find my own experiences with a G-plan table - raised here on this Forum - in this link.

Rubbing down the table top is not difficult, just take your time. Don't be too aggressive. I rubbed it down by hand using a cork block with probably 180 grit initially, and finished with 320 grit.


I am still very happy with the result.
We also have G-plan chairs - different style to yours, and still more comfortable than anything we have come across on the market, and it is the intention to refresh the wood parts in the same manner as the table.


Established Member
20 Aug 2008
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If you can possibly live with the current finish then you should absolutely leave well alone.

G Plan is one of the very, very few parts of the antique/used furniture market that's actually going up in value. But the quickest way of turning your appreciating asset into a pile of valueless firewood is with some enthusiastic but uninformed re-finishing.

The chairs are a different matter. Once one joint on a chair fails then it throws added stress on the remaining joints, and before long they too will follow. The risk with any wobbly chair is that it's easy to break a component with the chair flexing in use. But unless you're very experienced then the repair of a broken component will almost certainly be pretty obvious and the value of the entire suit will collapse.