Q: My old gate-leg table has a label that says it was made by the John D. Raab Chair Co. The finish on the table is a bit worn and marred. I have been considering refinishing or painting it, although I think this would decrease its value. What do you think?
A: The John D. Raab Chair Co. was in business in Grand Rapids, Mich., from 1906 to 1924, when it was taken over by the Furniture Shops of Grand Rapids. If you like the table and plan to use it, go ahead and refinish or paint it. “Brown furniture” pieces like your table are not selling for much money today, and many people are buying them at bargain prices, then refinishing or painting them to either use or resell.