Refinished Legs

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Project by 007lab posted 01-28-2013 08:52 AM 1348 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was asked to refinish the legs on a 100+year old music cabinet for an organist. The legs had severe damage from insects.

7 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18380 posts in 3849 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 09:07 AM

Looks as good as new, Welcome to LJ!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View dustyal's profile


1299 posts in 3648 days

#2 posted 01-28-2013 12:53 PM

Well done… what was your schedule of coatings? I assume you refinished and didn’t remake?

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View ChuckV's profile


3175 posts in 3700 days

#3 posted 01-28-2013 03:16 PM

That looks great. I too am interested in some details of the restoration.

Welcome to LJs.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 2533 days

#4 posted 01-28-2013 07:20 PM

I’m interested to hear if you refinished instead of remade as well…that thing is seriously damaged…

-- Steve

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2349 days

#5 posted 01-29-2013 02:21 PM

Wow! Great restoration on the leg, how did you do it? It looks amazing.


View 007lab's profile


22 posts in 2120 days

#6 posted 01-29-2013 06:32 PM

Thanks folks! I did not remake the legs. I refinished them. One, because that’s what the client asked for.Two, because I wanted to see if I could do it. Because the client lives on a nearby island had him send me pictures of the rest of the music case. Of course it all depends on the settings of the camera, and the settings of one’s monitor as to whether or not I’d get to see the actual color of the piece. So, I refinished 3 of the legs and left one to match off off that had the best finish. Hopefully I picked one that was subjected to light and not one in the back of the case as those wouldn’t change color as much over time.

The finish looked like it had color in it as well as below it so I slowly sanded it back to discover what was below. I don’t remember if I sanded all of the legs or it I used my favorite furniture stripper: Multi-Strip (Made by Back To Nature, strong as heck if you put it on as thick as snot, and it rinses off with water!)

Oh, but first I tested the finish and determined it was shellac.

As I wiped it back I discovered it was more red than any garnet shellac I had readily available so I noted I’d have to add some transtint bourdeaux to the finish.

The rest of the colors seemed to be layered and separated by light seal coats.

Once I removed the finish I stopped the sanding schedule at 220g. I used Famowood h2o based wood putty to patch the holes. I like how hard it dries. Plus it seems to accept stain better than anything else I’ve used. I left the patches built high so they could be sanded flush when dry.

My first coat of color was transtint amber. I sealed that with a very light coat of shellac. Slightly less than 1lb.. Lightly sanded that once it dried.

Then I stained it with some other transtint colors I don’t remember that are in a notebook in my shop. I use water with the transtint to apply the stain. I like how much control it gives me.

Sealed that with a 1lb coat of shellac. Scuff sanded it with 320 or a grey scotchbrite pad, I don’t remember. Then I could see the color it was wanting to be. So I added a couple coats of bordeaux tinted garnet shellac. It wasn’t as brown as I needed it to be so I brought it up to par with some Behlen Master Toner, and that nailed it.

After that I added 2-3 coats of Behlen lacquer. That stuff lays out like butter! Once that was dry I brought down the sheen with 4/0 steel wool and it was a match.

I’ve read a ton of Flexner, Jewitt, and Dresdner. In the end I discovered I was just going to have to get out there and risk making those time consuming mistakes so I could learn. Fortunately I’ve had many more successes than failures!

View dustyal's profile


1299 posts in 3648 days

#7 posted 01-29-2013 08:14 PM

Thanks for the detail… much appreciated. I hope you were compensated by whatever means for those hours it must of taken to your sechedule to finish.

I am just learning this stuff… and had a few more failures than successes. Like, the end product was okay, but it didn’t achieve what I wanted at the start.

I also have experimented some with milk paint…

In the end, I simply appreciated what you accomplished to restore and save a nice piece of furniture.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

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