oak serpintine front chest found in barn after 50 yrs

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Project by schmuck posted 10-15-2012 12:48 PM 2065 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

found this in an estate where it had been stored in a barn for over 50yrs.all original hardware an mirror intack,many many hours of rebuilding drawers to function properly reattaching veneer structurally repairing body have stained a golden stepped away,started feeling rushed,this 1 need to b rite not rushed,doing a few other projects to regain perspective,rather than polyeurothane as a finish coat thinking age appropriate oil of some sort,suggestions anyone?have done many many pieces still learning tho suspect that wont end

-- furniture r us

10 comments so far

View Blackbear's profile


137 posts in 2362 days

#1 posted 10-15-2012 12:59 PM

The “after” picture is a bit blurry but it looks like the project is coming out nicely. My mother refinished a solid tiger oak dining table a while ago and used a Minwax product called simply “Antique Oil”. The finish was beautiful and durable, I’d highly recommend several coats of the stuff.

View Wdwerker's profile


333 posts in 2377 days

#2 posted 10-15-2012 01:13 PM

Watco Danish oil has worked for me for many years.

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29870 posts in 2481 days

#3 posted 10-15-2012 02:06 PM

Nice work. Good reclamation.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View a1Jim's profile


117234 posts in 3720 days

#4 posted 10-15-2012 05:04 PM

Just because the piece is old doesn’t mean the finish should be, unless you are doing a true restoration . It looks like you did a beautiful repair job. Nice work.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Schwieb's profile


1869 posts in 3605 days

#5 posted 10-15-2012 10:19 PM

I agree the Watco Danish oil is the way to go. Nice restoration.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Grumpymike's profile


2310 posts in 2458 days

#6 posted 10-16-2012 12:27 AM

If the piece was built before 1900, it most likley had a shellac top coat. About 1900 laquer took the furniture industry by storm and became the top coat finish of choice.
Many oils and stains were used through time as the base coat. My Grandfather (died in 1950) built a cabinet during the depression and used motor oil from his model ‘A’ and mixed it with wood stove ashes for a base coat/ filler and top coated with shellac. We still have the cabinet.
So let the artist decide, and in this case you are the artist.
I would use a tinted oil, (Minwax or Watco is a good choice) and top coat it with something. a1Jim said it very’ planely’.
You have done a great job so far with the right attitude … don’t rush it.
IMHO ... Mike

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2833 days

#7 posted 10-16-2012 01:28 AM

That is a beautiful old chest and you are doing a great job restoring it to its former glory. The MW Antique Oil is BLO/Poly mix so you will have poly on it if you use that. Personally, I would probably go with shellac or lacquer in a satin finish.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2621 days

#8 posted 10-16-2012 04:04 AM

the piece looks to me to be after 1900 and so the right finish would be shellac but then i am with jim i WOULD TOP THAT WITH SOMETHING MODERN AND DURABLE I have had great sucess with many finishes but i like laquer a great deal and i like a wipe on poly as it is easy and durable then i use a finishing wax and rub till the cows come home. Check my projects I just did a refinish for a neighbor that people seemed to like. It was weird to me it was not a load of work but i got my first daily top 3 from it. I do not fear finishing i embrace it it is actually a lot of fun.

-- Please check out my new stores and

View schmuck's profile


10 posts in 2194 days

#9 posted 10-16-2012 04:24 AM

thanks guys!am new to this forum,the volume is overwhelming!have used the minwax antique oil in other works so well(as opposed to man y coats of polyeurothane )it feels like i am cheating!nad yes thedude50 refinishing is awesome,discovered this approx. 2 yrs ago still soooo much to learn,but returning an old piece to its former glory is very rewarding

-- furniture r us

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2621 days

#10 posted 10-16-2012 05:44 AM

Schmuk If you use the shellac you will get depth that oils dont give did you look at the cedar chest i did look at the top in the photo you will see what I am talking about. A good hvlp IS A BIG PLUS i USE THE Q 3 FROM fUJI It is the best HVlp I have used so i keep using it. although you can brush shellac as well

-- Please check out my new stores and

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