Need help refinishing antique furniture!


  #1  
Old 01-01-07, 09:25 PM
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Thumbs down Need help refinishing antique furniture!

I need advice refinishing an antique piece of furniture. It looks as though it is partially covered with a black lacquer. The black comes off fairly easily with my finger nail. The piece is very fragile and very old. My sister and I want to do the work ourselves. It is our mother's furniture, a piece from her childhood, and we want to give it to her later this year for her 50th wedding anniversary. Please help! We need advice as to what to use to remove the finish, how to remove it and recommendations for a new finish. Thank you.
 

Last edited by suxdby; 01-01-07 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 01-02-07, 07:32 AM
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The best way to remove the old finish is to strip the piece. If you mean that the piece is fragile because of loose joints and such, repairing these problems is be best done after the piece has been stripped, prior to finishing.

There are many products for stripping, ranging from the traditional methylene chloride to the citrus strippers. The strong chemicals tend to work faster, but are hazardous to use. The safer stippers take longer to work, but are more forgiving to accidental contact.
 
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Old 01-15-07, 09:19 PM
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The black look is more than likely the varnish that has aged. You can spend more money on name brands but Wal-mart carries a very good product in a one gallon can. You will need use the varnish remover (not for paint), plastic or cardboard to lay under the piece, gloves, medium to coarse steelwool, a glass bowl to poor the stripper into and plenty of old rags, old t-shirts work great. Remove hardware, hinges, etc. Apply the stripper with the steel wool in small areas, you will begin to see a change in color after a few minutes, rub the steel wool around in the varnish, as you see the wood grain, you can wipe off, if is still has varnish you can reapply. After the piece is completely stripped I use a clean rag and clean stripper and wipe it down completely, you can use a tool with a pointed edge wrapped with the rag to get into the edges or grooves. You will then need to lightly sand, fill any holes, cracks, etc, wipe down with a tack rag and you are ready to apply the finish. I have always preferred minwax products and I apply them with a cloth instead of a brush. Apply your sealer. If you have dust or debris in your finish you can use fine sand paper after it has dried, wipe down again and reapply your sealer. Hope this helps
 
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Old 01-16-07, 07:21 AM
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Minwax

" I have always preferred minwax products and I apply them with a cloth instead of a brush. Apply your sealer. If you have dust or debris in your finish you can use fine sand paper after it has dried, wipe down again and reapply your sealer. Hope this helps"

The input, partially quoted above, contains great advice. I don’t take issue with the Minwax suggestion except that I have seldom achieved great results from that product line though I too use it as a wiping stain. Though the shortfall probably results from my failings, I have achieved much better results from Bartley products.

With luck, you will achieve good color just by removing the old lacquer and sealing, perhaps with multiple thin coats, using a high quality gel lacquer.
 
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Old 01-17-07, 02:40 PM
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I agree with all the advice you have received already. In terms of a finish, I have had very good results using Formby's tongue oil. It is rubbed on and easy to apply and comes in both a high gloss and satin finish. Allow the stain to dry for 24 hours (or whatever the mfg. suggests) and apply a coat of the tongue oil. After the first coat has dried, lightly sand with fine grit paper or steel wool and apply the next coat. I personally prefer to apply at least 3 coats.
 
 

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