Bookshelf Refinish

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Project by BinghamtonEd posted 06-27-2012 03:23 PM 1708 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a bookshelf that my grandfather-in-law built as a teen back in the late 30’s or early 40’s. It had been stained, shellac’d, restained, dinged, scratched, etc over the last 70 or 80 years. My wife wanted to keep it in the family, but wanted it to be refinished to look nice in our nursery (expecting our first, a girl, on Aug. 16th). I stripped the old finishes off, and scraped/sanded it to bare wood. New finish was a seal-coat of 1# cut dewaxed shellac, TransTint dark walnut dye, and MinWax Polyurethane. I really like the new look because the grain of the wood is no longer hidden. My wife is happy, which is what ultimately means success.

I don’t know exactly what the wood is. It looks like cherry, but isn’t anywhere near as hard. I was thinking red alder, but I don’t think that grows in NW Pennsylvania, and at the time it was made, they would’ve used what wood was at hand. There is a lot of nice figure to the wood, and one of the shelves has some nice curl to it, much like I’ve seen on the maple I’ve used before.

I wish I had taken some “before” pictures, sorry.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

4 comments so far

View Greg's profile


47 posts in 2831 days

#1 posted 06-28-2012 01:41 PM

Nice job, I have several pieces in need of refinishing but have been put off due to me having never finished before. I feel the same about bringing out the grain.

-- G

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2544 days

#2 posted 06-28-2012 01:45 PM

My last two projects have been refinishing furniture from my wife’s grandparents. I’m ready to go back to creating my own. Refinishing is worth it when its a sentimental piece that’s been abused, but it’s still a pain. Scraping the inside corners made me want to take a sledgehammer to it. It is rewarding, though, when everyone, including the original finisher, tells you it looks better than it originally did.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View DocSavage45's profile


8706 posts in 3017 days

#3 posted 06-28-2012 03:36 PM

I was asked to repair a family heirloom. When I saw it I thought..”she’s not going to want me to refinish it as I have to charge her for finish removal. Suggested she remove the finish and then bring it to me for repair. Whew! She agreed.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Ken90712's profile


17592 posts in 3363 days

#4 posted 07-16-2012 09:22 PM

Nice work, Should serve you well. Refinishing can be a real pain. Well done.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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