Rosewood Dragon Bench Restoration

  • Advertise with us
Project by Eric M. Saperstein posted 01-23-2012 06:30 AM 2093 views 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

OK – this project was “fun … ?” ... well it came out nice in the end but WHAT A PAIN!!! Have you ever run into one of those acrylic or epoxy finishes that just would NOT come off not matter what you did?

This bench was falling apart when we picked it up, the glue was failed on every joint. It was pegged, but the joints shrank it was entirely loose. The whole thing was just coming apart. We disassembled it entirely, broke it down to every last possible component. Drilled the old pegs and cleaned up all the old glue.

The finish was chipped and peeling in spots but horribly well bonded to the wood. Fortunately it is some kind of crazy rosewood, not even really sure exactly what kind but it’s hard as a rock. We tried every stripper we could the standard like methylene chloride and tululine did NOTHING. Acetone, not a dent. Alcohol, of course no point but we tried anyway. Just for fun, gas/kerosene – NOTHING.

We finally ended up using Eaco Chem’s paste stripper and it broke the barrier – we STILL ended up power washing the piece. That stuff is amazing though, it is like crisco but it’s a stripper you can stick your fingers in and it won’t burn. Environmentally friend, etc. Fortunately it’s such a durable wood, it just took the pressure and cleaned up back to bare wood. It took us two months of messing around with different options to get this thing stripped.

We then reassembled the piece with urethane adhesives. Set new pegs, and sanded everything to prep for finishing. The power washer already cleaned out every nook and cranny so it wasn’t necessary to pick at it.

We also replaced the panels holding the marble in place, those were just for some reason dried out and totally shot.

Finish is Waterlox tung oil, there’s no stain it just jumped up that amazing natural color.

All in the end – it turned out very nice and the finish apparently bonded very well as the client remains happy. This was done about five years ago.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

7 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117243 posts in 3727 days

#1 posted 01-23-2012 07:13 AM

That’s a major restoration .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2842 days

#2 posted 01-23-2012 07:26 AM

Well, you have it looking fine once again. I believe you when you said it was a pain. I think having to do the same thing to some dining chairs is a pain, I couldn’t imagine messing with that.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3397 days

#3 posted 01-23-2012 07:30 AM

Yeah definitely a pain … if you have similar pieces to restore I highly recommend getting the stripper paste from Eaco Chem. You put it on thick and cover it, it sits and takes 24-72 hours depending on the temperature and humidity to work but IT WORKS!

That stuff seems to break away anything. Goes through paint, oil finish, latex, acrylic, and some epoxies. We don’t need it often, but when we do need it!

It also traps lead paint!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2558 days

#4 posted 01-23-2012 02:00 PM

Amazing job. This is a definite head-turner and one of those benches you just want to head on over and sit on.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View randomray's profile


111 posts in 3174 days

#5 posted 01-24-2012 03:05 AM

Wow , the before picture looks like it should be thrown in the fireplace . It looks wonderful now .

-- Anybody can break something it takes skill to make or repair stuff .

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3256 posts in 3862 days

#6 posted 01-24-2012 06:56 AM

That is one incredibly beautiful piece of furniture and the restoration looks fabulous. I would love it with the marble replaced with brocade upholstery and a loose brocade cushion across the bench.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3397 days

#7 posted 01-24-2012 08:08 AM

It’s not the most comfortable bench – marble or upholstery the carving is kinda awkward to sit on, but it does really make a nice entry foyer display piece.

It was such a mess when we found it – definitely an amazing transition!


-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics