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Restoring finish on Heresy IIs


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Hello Everyone,


My situation is that I have a pair of Heresy IIs with a 1989 manufacturing date that came in raw birch.  I bought them used years ago and they've mostly been in storage but I'm starting to restore them.  One of the prior owners finished them in a blonde to light brown, and they look quite good, but they are faded in areas and do have a few small chips, mostly along a few edges and corners.  I cannot tell how they were finished, including whether they ever had a poly coat or were oiled or waxed.  I do generally like the color.


I have cleaned the surface with a lemon oil type wood cleaner and they already look better, and was thinking of now sanding them very lightly with 300 or 400 grit sandpaper and then 000 steel wool, and then either applying Howard's Restore-A-Finish OR Watco's Danish Oil.   I have used Watco's to great effect on a pair of Ohm Model Ls in walnut, but I'm just not sure if it's as suitable for birch.  Howard's gets great reviews too.


Do those sound like reasonable next steps, and which of the two products would you choose for a birch veneer with an existing blonde to light brown finish that's kind of a mystery?


Thanks in advance!




P.S.  It's been ages since I've been on this forum, but I actually used to be JoshT (and go by that on Audio Asylum).  The thing is that for years I couldn't remember my password or the old email I used for that profile, so at least for now I've rejoined as Bulkogi.

Edited by Bulkogi
Typos and missing info.
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Welcome to the Forum!

As far as restoring the shine to Your finish, You have to like it and as long as you don´t want to sand down the verneer to re-oil it, the restorer seems the t be the way. I have chips in my Heresys as well, i plan to use repair-wax to fill up the mising pieces. I guess, that is all one can do, apart from re-verneering the whole thing.


Concerning Your old account, maybe @Chad , our moderator can help You out.

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9 hours ago, jimjimbo said:

Watco is perfectly fine on birch.  Several coats will be nice.  Post a few before and after photos please.  Have fun.

Thanks!  Here are a couple of "before" pictures after some simple clean up with orange oil.  I do like the existing color and general look of the finish.  I'm leaning towards the neutral Watco Danish Oil.  I understand it will darken the finish a little bit, but am OK with that.  I'm thinking of avoiding the restoration type products unless the Danish Oil doesn't work out.




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2 hours ago, jimjimbo said:

Those look very nice.  I think you will be happy with the Watco neutral.

Thanks.  I'm going to test both the Danish Oil and Restoration Oil on the risers of one speaker.  That way I can see which seems to work better and look better.  I'm planning on stripping the risers anyway and either painting them black or staining them very dark.  I like how the Heresy IVs look with their contrasting risers.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's a bit of an update.


I decided to go with sanding the cabinets down with 220 and 400 grit paper followed by 0000 steel wool.  Enough to remove some, but not all, of the underlying finish applied by a prior owner, and also to get a really smooth surface.


I then went with the neutral Watco's Danish Oil instead of a refinishing or restoration oil.  Here is a picture of one after three coats that's a good representation of how they look now, and I plan to do one more coat.  I'm really happy with how lovely the birch veneer can look after such a basic approach.  I had no idea.  (Note that the oil has not dried in the picture, so the look is likely more representative of a glossier finish than when dried.)


Now the question is, what next?  I don't want to use wax, so my options appear to be (1) leave as is after the fourth coat, which is not a bad idea as Danish Oil has varnish included in the mix, so the finish is already smooth and hard (just not shiny or "wet" looking), (2) apply some coats of varnish, (3) apply some coats of poly, or (4) apply some coats of lacquer.


I'm inclined to either do nothing or apply poly as it seems to be an easier option and long lasting.  Then the questions would be, which kind of poly and can I use a water-based solution once the Danish Oil is fully cured (in a week or so to be safe)?  I'd rather not have to do more than about 3 layers at this point as fatigue is setting in, lol.


Edited by Bulkogi
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