Refinishing

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  • #131088
    dborndborn
    Member

    Wife and I were out and about this past weekend and stopped by a garage sale for the local historical society and I came across these two pieces of furniture. They are in rough rough rough rough condition. And I realize these are not antiques by any means whatsoever. But I bought them anyway thinking I would try my hand at refinishing and furniture repair. I figured, even if I cannot refinish them, the $20 I spent, total for both pieces, will be a nice donation to the historical society. After examining the damage, I found the furniture is veneered, appears to be mahogany veneer over solid wood, maybe? But the kicker is the veneer is thick and might be two layers cross veneered over what appears to be solid wood. I thought it might be mdf or plywood, but I can see end grain. And the furniture is made with solid wood carcass. The drawers are machine cut dovetails, and appear to be made out of poplar wood. Anyway to date this furniture? No identification on the furniture anywhere as to where it was built. Here is the basic things about the furniture I have noticed. It’s veneered with thick veneer, machine cut dovetails, solid wood drawer runners, slotted screws, plywood back nailed with round head nails (not brads), typical machine markings from a circular saw or table saw, brass hardware and cabriole legs.

    Here is the junk I saved from the landfill and hoping to give it a second lease on life!

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Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)
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  • #131090
    dborndborn
    Member

    @dborn

    Here is more pictures

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    #131092
    dborndborn
    Member

    @dborn

    Here is more pictures

    This is where some of the finish wrote off and why I think it might be mahogany veneer.

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    #131094
    EdEd
    Participant

    @ed

    I’d grab a rag and wet it with solvent like naphtha and wipe it across the surface. Do an inconspicuous place first, but the reason for naphtha is that it generally will not dissolve either alcohol based finishes like shellac or oil based finishes. Wiping it across the surface will very briefly rejuvenate the appearance of the finish…for about 20 seconds, until it evaporates. This will give you an idea of whether the problem is largely in the finish (clear) coat, or whether it extends down into the color (dye, stain, etc.). You may be surprised, especially on the first, wider piece, and may find that you just need to fix up the clear finish. If that’s true, try a dab of alcohol someplace inconspicuous to see if alcohol makes it gummy. If so, it’s likely shellac and you might find that french polish will restore the whole thing. You’ll need to choose between repolishing and having a good looking piece that still has a few blemishes in the color and maybe scratches, vs. stripping completely, which could give you a “better” finish but will destroy some of the beauty of the original. If it is shellac and you decide to just polish it, look for “English Polisher” videos on youtube. They’re quite helpful.

    #131099
    David PerrottDavid Perrott
    Participant

    @dperrott

    Check out the book “the Furniture Bible by Christophe Pourny. I really like it. He has a prestigious antique restoration place here in NYC. The book is great for traditional finishes, and techniques. I really like it. Recently had the chance to hang with him and talk shop. It was a lot of fun.

    #131108
    dborndborn
    Member

    @dborn

    Thanks for the advice! I ordered that book, “The Furniture Bible”.

    I dug a little more into the disassembly of the furniture starting with damaged pieces that have to be repaired and will be inconspicuous. I removed the veneer you can see how it was veneered in two layers in perpendicular grain direction. I wiped down the top layer of veneer with alcohol it started to wipe away. Underneath the veneer is a solid piece if wood, can’t tell what kind of wood. You can see cracks in the wood that run in the grain direction and needs to be glued back together, easy repair! I’m thinking to re-attach the veneer I will just use hide glue the two surfaces look very clean!

    Pictures are sequential removal of the veneer and the cleaning of the veneer with alcohol. I didn’t have naptha on hand impatient. Also is a lot of over spray I to remove.

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    #131112
    David PerrottDavid Perrott
    Participant

    @dperrott

    You will like the book. He talks about veneer repair too. I think it’s a great book. I would wait to you get the book. There will be so many things you want to do to it. No I’m not working on commission!

    #131114
    dborndborn
    Member

    @dborn

    Hardest part for me is to wait before tearing into this project. I should hey this book by Friday and will stay reading through it. Would you consider this book more of a reference guide, like reading in sections that pertain to the process I’m working on or a read front to back kind of book? I’m going to definitely make notes of what I do with it. I measured the of% the top layer of veneer and it came out to .052″ and other veneers I have measured at .022″ so it’s more than double the thickness composted to newer “premium” veneer.

    #131139
    David PerrottDavid Perrott
    Participant

    @dperrott

    Patience! He gives an overview of styles, finishes, woods, hardware, care and everything. Then goes into real detail about using waxes, oil finishes, french polish and so forth. I love the book. I’m trying to find some pieces to work on.

    #131140
    dborndborn
    Member

    @dborn

    So, what do you think, think these are worthy pieces to refinish?

    @ed I really enjoy the English polsiher! I have watched all of his videos and his how to’s multiple times.

    #131157
    David PerrottDavid Perrott
    Participant

    @dperrott

    If you don’t refinish what would you do with it? Of course go for it!

    #131235
    dborndborn
    Member

    @dborn

    @dperrott I received the book on Friday and have been reading it. So far I like it! It is very concise and easy to read. I looked forward in the book and it seems like he gives step by step explanation of the process of refinishing. I feel I have a better understanding of antique/vintage, not sure what to call it, furniture is. Not that I really had any informed opinion of old furniture before. Now, I have a better idea of what to look for and some tell tale signs of different furniture from different periods…

    Thanks for the suggestion!!

    Dan

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by dborndborn.
    #131243
    David PerrottDavid Perrott
    Participant

    @dperrott

    @dborn Glad You like it. I think It is very good. I like how he explains how you can “fix” any issues that come up. This book and Flexner’s 101 book are my go to sources. Now I just have to complete a build so I can do the finish.

    #131280
    dborndborn
    Member

    @dborn

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about Flexner’s books, I will put that on my list!

    Dan

    #135167
    dborndborn
    Member

    @dborn

    First piece of furniture is refinished. I used a ruby red shellac finish, a pseudo French polish.

    Attachments:
    #135193
    Matt McGraneMatt McGrane
    Participant

    @mattmcgrane

    From the pictures, it looks like you did a nice job. Congratulations.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/

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