Tiger Oak Veneered Table


  #1  
Old 10-11-06, 03:10 PM
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Unhappy Tiger Oak Veneered Table

Hello. I inherited an old (it was my Great Grandmother's), round oak table which appears to have tiger oak veneer.

The table is a bit battered. My Grandmother would wipe it off with a wet cloth...its original finish is long gone. Some of the veneer has disapeered from the edges and is faded. The veneer is ...for lack of a better description, tired looking. The veneer has burns from an old iron on it. In general, its very battered and worn.

I am not interested in making the table look new. What I want to do is preserve the existing veneer until such time as I can afford to have a professional repair it (they will probably recommend removing it and replacing it...they might even say the table isn't worth the investment As battered as this table is, I am extremely attached to it and cherish it.

What would I do to preserve the top? I was thinking I should wipe it down with mineral spirits and then apply some sort of varnish to it to help it regain some moisture?

Any advice anyone could give me would be so greatly appreciated! I want to both use and preserve the table and make many more memories with it, for my son.

Thank you!
 
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Old 10-11-06, 07:39 PM
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I am NOT a professional!

Please do not take my advice blindly for a treasured piece; I am sure that others better qualified will correct me if I am wrong.

I once restored a piece of veneered furniture with very fine steel wool and denatured alcohol. I lifted all the original finish [I think], and then oiled it. I have no idea what the original finish was. I think the piece was made in the early 1930's and had oak veneer.

There are lots of instructions on removing finish by hand and applying an oil finish. In brief:
Pour some solvent [I used denatured alcohol] into a glass or metal container; dip the steel wool [I think I used 200] into the solvent, and work in gently onto the piece; rinse and change the steel wool frequently. Continue until you hate the sight of the piece.

To oil finish:
Apply the oil with a lint-free cloth. Rub in a light coat over the entire piece. Repeat once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, and once a year for life. [I used simple linseed oil and got a finish like glass that aged to a finish like silk. Professional prefer other oils.]

Please don't let anyone talk you into replacing the veneer; every stain and scratch is a bit of family history.
 
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Old 10-11-06, 08:52 PM
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Thank You!

Your advice is greatly appreciated! I just need to reiterate that the table is battered. Where the table pulls apart to insert the leaf, the veneer (which appears to be a thin layer of tiger oak adherered over a thicker, older layer of wood, which is then adhered to the top of the table) is pulling away from the table top. This makes the top of the table have a noticeable crease down its middle. I think for this reason? a professional would recomend removing it? I don't know.

But for now, I will take your advice. I am hoping the oil will moisturize the veneer enough to prevent any further lifting.

I do have a guestion...when you say to 'rinse'...you mean the steel wool and not the table, correct? Also, there isn't any finish left on this veneer. When I received it, the veneer had faded to a gray color. I didn't even realize it was tiger oak until I used a lemon oil furniture polish on it. Then it sprang to life...but the oil fades and I believe I read somewhere that it's damaging to use that sort of stuff on unfinished wood.
So, basically, I would only be removing the polish. Is denatured alcohol gentle enough for that?

Please forgive all this rambling...I just love the table and am low on funds...so want to do this right. I don't mind its damage...I love the burn marks which are from my Great Grandmother's time...The table sits on these huge crude pieces of reddish oak that look almost primitive. The whole thing was set up on six wood wheels, which I took off to lower the height. The table's leaves are intact. All oak, but they don't appear to be veneered...but maybe they reflect how the table originally once looked. It's a great peice of history. I have a picture of my Great Grandparents sitting at that table and every family member on my mothers side down to my son sitting there as well. Sometimes that feeling of history just takes precedent over condition. So thanks again! I truly appreciate it!
 
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Old 10-12-06, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by dajax
when you say to 'rinse'...you mean the steel wool and not the table, correct?
You need to rinse the table. While you are "washing" the table with solvent and steel wool you are loosening the remaining finish. If you don't rinse this off all you have done is rearrange what finish/wax is on the wood. Using the same solvent and a clean rag wipe the table clean. When the rag no longer gets real dirty from wiping you will have rinsed it well.
 
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Old 10-12-06, 12:01 PM
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Talking Thank You so Very Much!

Thank you for being so helpful! It has made the project less daunting and I'm excited to get started.

I have one other question...what is the difference between linseed oil and tung oil? I have some tung oil...can I use that instead? The table base and legs seem to be red. Will whatever oil I use enrich the veneer's color; meaning naturally stain it?

If I use Tung oil, do I use the same process already described?

I can't tell you how glad I am to have found this forum. I did a search on veneer and gained a lot of knowledge and comfort .
I just hope I don't screw up and ruin it.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 10-12-06, 06:07 PM
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It is possible to re-attach veneer, but I have never done it, and I can't put my hand to the book that describes how to do it. I'll see if I can find it. Basically, you steam the wood soft and then flatten it by leaving a weight on it until it dries. I am sure it is much more delicate a process than I describe.

As for tung oil, yes you can use tung instead of linseed; and a Rolls will get you to work as well as an Escort. Professionals love Tung oil; I never use it because if linseed was good enough for my mother, it's good enough for me [it's also cheaper.]

Oh, WAIT, oily cloths WILL spontaneously combust! When you are done with them, toss them in a coffee can with water in it. [I've tried washing and re-using them; now I just throw the whole mess out.]

Can you use the table as a display piece instead of a dinner table? Dining can be rough on a table. If you need to use it for dining, use a sideboard or buffet for the hot serving dishes. [A linen tablecloth on any longish piece of furniture makes a great buffet, and you can find an old stained linen cloth for very little money at most yard sales; when you find one, post and I'll tell you how to clean it.]
 
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Old 10-13-06, 06:00 AM
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Exclamation

Originally Posted by jhomeowner
Oh, WAIT, oily cloths WILL spontaneously combust! When you are done with them, toss them in a coffee can with water in it.

This bares repeating!!!! Anytime rags are used to apply [or wipe of excess] stain or any oils the rags NEED to be disposed of properly. Storing them in a corner or box can lead to fire. The best place to put them is in a metal container with a lid. Obviously outside storage is better than inside.
 
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Old 10-25-06, 06:44 AM
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For what it's worth, these guys have an excellent book that may help you. http://www.furnitureguys.com/index.php
They had a great show on PBS out of Phila, but it is long off the air, sort of The Greatful Dead meet Pink Floyd in a furniture repair shop.
 
 

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