Should I refinish this bureau?

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Old 08-27-07, 08:42 AM
C
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Should I refinish this bureau?

Hi,

We've got a nice old bureau from my grandfather for our son. The finish on every surface is very sticky and shows any and all finger prints, etc. Would anyone know what causes this (other than the recent humidity) and how this can be removed without a complete refinishing? It has never been refinished before; it was made in the 1940s I would estimate. Any ideas?

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-27-07, 09:01 AM
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There is a better than even chance the finish has deteriorated to the point that refinishing is necessary.

The surface can be cleaned using murphy's oil soap and a plastic mesh scrubbee - (not the 3m pads). Be warned the finish may come off, but it will only come off if it has deteriorated. Any 'solid' finish will stay put.
 
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Old 08-27-07, 03:26 PM
J
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What you describe sounds like OLD shellac and years of dirt. Thoroughly clean as suggeted above, TSP works well. If you still have the gummy mess, wipe a hidden spot with denatured alcohol, that is a solvent for shellac. It will smooth and remove the old finish...if I am right. Once the top layer(goo) is gone, you can finish with polyurethane.
 
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Old 08-28-07, 05:49 AM
C
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Excellent, thank you. I'm going to hit it with the denatured alcohol, but wanted to ask if there is anything else I should use; if I'm going to do it I just want to do it once and right. Is the den alco strong enough?

Also, one other issue; the draweres have plenty of 'play' in them, but they're still a bear to pull open. I've tried the candle wax on the runners. Any other suggestions to improve the sliding of the drawers?

Thanks again.
C.
 
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Old 08-29-07, 03:46 AM
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There are teflon or nylon glides that go at the corner of the drawer opening. These will make things slide easier. Not sure if big box stores carry such things. Check Rockler on the net.
Alcohol is a solvent for shellac. It will dissolve and smooth the old finish. The more you wipe the more it will remove, but caution, the more you wipe the worse it will look. Start in an out of the way spot until you get the hang of it. But it should cover nicely with polyurethane.
 
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