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Forum topic by Walter posted 06-07-2018 02:23 PM 591 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Walter

23 posts in 3371 days


06-07-2018 02:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing refurbishing veneering question identifying wood

Hello everybody, after looking around the forums I’ve been unable to find just what I’m looking for and was hoping that some of you restorers and refinishing pros might be able to lend a hand. My niece is wanting me to restore an old “antique?” chifforobe for her and it will be the first refurbish/restore I’ve done with veneers. I just can’t seem to confidently identify the species of wood and was hoping for some help. I’ve include pictures with and without flash but can take more if needed. I’d also be interested in hearing your thoughts on the refinishing of the piece. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Walt










10 replies so far

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1846 posts in 2490 days


#1 posted 06-07-2018 02:46 PM

Looks like African mahogany veneeer with generic wood for the solid wood sections. That’s common for that style of furniture. Be prepared to do some color matching after stripping because the two types of wood won’t take stain the same way.

Pictures are small so I can’t be 100% positive about the veneer species.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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Rich

3752 posts in 762 days


#2 posted 06-07-2018 03:17 PM

What’s your goal? It’s difficult to gauge the repair needed from the photos, but it looks to be in pretty good shape. Probably the biggest challenge will be the beading along the foot, and even that looks pretty easy.

I’d start with some naphtha and clean all of the surfaces. A non-woven pad will help with any heavy grime. That’ll give you a better idea of what you’re starting with.

Again, a lot depends on what you hope to achieve. You can go anywhere from a full veneer replacement, to a refinish to just a cleaning and patching, either with veneer or fill.

It likely has either lacquer or shellac on it now, and you can determine which by testing a spot with lacquer thinner (or acetone) and denatured alcohol.

A couple of excellent online resources that will help you are the youtube videos by Tom Johnson of Thomas Johnson Antique Restoration, and those put out by the Mohawk finishing company. Mohawk has dozens of great videos on repair with fills and coloring agents. The videos by Tom Johnson have titles that give you a pretty good idea of which ones will have info that pertains to your situation.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Walter

23 posts in 3371 days


#3 posted 06-11-2018 01:16 PM

JAAune, I appreciate the input. Sorry for the picture size, I seemed to have a difficult time getting them to upload so out of frustration made them small just so I could put references on at all. I have some old cherry flooring from around the 50’s and it looks really close in tone and even figure in places so the African mahogany I’ll have to look into.
Rich, thank’s for the info. Sorry for not being more descriptive with my goals although they weren’t really nailed down at the time of my posting. Now we know that she wants to refinish and the original veneer and not replace it. There are a few places where the veneer is missing (not pictured) that I’ll have to find as close of a match as possible and cut in some patches. That’s one of the reasons I wanted help to identify the species. I’m pretty sure now that I’ve done some testing that it’s a lacquer finish. I went through the phases of testing from boiled linseed oil to acetone then finally denatured alcohol and the results seemed pretty clear. I will definitely check out the videos you suggested because you can’t ever get enough information.
I’ll post pictures once I’ve gotten into it and of the end result (fingers crossed). This is a get to it when I can kind of project so not sure when that’ll be. Any information based on further description is always appreciated!

View msinc's profile (online now)

msinc

557 posts in 677 days


#4 posted 06-11-2018 01:25 PM

Some close up photos of the veneer would help. It looks like it possibly could be english walnut. Too far away to tell. English walnut was a very popular wood in days of old, both solid and as veneer. It is rare and hard to find these days, so be careful. Veneer is an easy thing to undo on an old piece of furniture. It never did grow or come from England, but two world wars in Europe left the rest of the worlds supply pretty much decimated. If that’is even what it is.

View Rich's profile

Rich

3752 posts in 762 days


#5 posted 06-12-2018 01:23 AM

I did a blog post a while back that may be useful. http://lumberjocks.com/RichTaylor/blog/121721

In places where you can’t get a good veneer match, that technique will work, and often will blend better than real veneer when the patch is in the middle of a board. Even with a perfect fit for the patch, the edges are really hard to disguise unless you have a good supply of veneer to allow you to pick the perfect spot to cut the patch from.

It should be an exciting project. I’m sure you’ll do a great job. Feel free to PM me with questions, or post them to the thread.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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JohnDi

56 posts in 1607 days


#6 posted 06-12-2018 09:32 AM

I would clean the entire piece with warm water and dawn dish detergent using a green scotchbright pad first. That will help you determine if you need to strip the piece. Stripping a veneered piece can get ugly, as it is very easy to sand through the veneer. I would strip it as a last resort.
If the finish is in decent shape after cleaning, I would wax the entire piece with Howard’s bee’s wax and orange oil polish. I saw this in Thomas johnson’s videos and the stuff is amazing. Blends minor surface scratches so well they disappear.
I’m with Rich on looking at Thomas Johnson’s channel. He is really talented and you can learn a lot of clamping techniques for furniture that has curved areas that need repair.
Post some pics when you get it done!

View Walter's profile

Walter

23 posts in 3371 days


#7 posted 06-12-2018 01:37 PM

MSINC, I’ve attached some closeups as suggested so hopefully this helps anyone else who happens to read this post. The English walnut is a thought but that’s part of the reason I’m on here. Helping me find my way in the wonderful world of wood!
Rich, Your blog post was really well laid out even for the novice type and I’ve added it to my favorites so thanks! I did want to ask if you knew of a good place to find old veneers for this a possible future projects?
JohnDi, I had already given the piece a good wash with dawn as suggested so the closeups are after that. Hopefully these help the LJ’s more accurately identify the species but let me know if anything else is needed.
Thanks again to all you LJ’s for the help!

Here is the top left face and I think it shows that it will need to be stripped and refinished. I believe as mentioned previously it’s a lacquer finish so there will be much time spent with denatured alcohol and some good music on this one!

Here’s a shot of one of the patches I will have to do. Not sure at this point if I’ll try Rich’s epoxy trick or not but it’s looking likely depending what veneers I can get my hands on.

Here’s the foot that’s partially intact. The other is completely gone so I will have to recreate both…Yay for me!

Lastly is a picture of the top right face which shows the grain the best of all the pictures.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

3134 posts in 1654 days


#8 posted 06-12-2018 02:18 PM

Walter,

I would definitely avoid water as its very possible the veneer is glued with hide glue.

If its really old its likely shellac was the original finish, but more than likely its been refinished at one time, so you’ll have to do some testing to see what you’ve got.

I would try denatured alcohol, acetone, lacquer thinner or naptha. Use steel wool or a scuff pad. All else fails, go straight to a stripper.

I think the biggest issue you will have is finding veneer to match. You’ll need find a veneer source that will work with you on identifying and matching the veneer (looks like walnut to me also). Also, be aware the veneer you buy to day will be much thinner than the existing veneer and you may need to back it up with one or more layers of veneer.

Check out this YouTube channel there is a lot of good information about furniture restoration, and, its really fun to watch.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Rich's profile

Rich

3752 posts in 762 days


#9 posted 06-13-2018 04:24 AM


Walter,

I would definitely avoid water as its very possible the veneer is glued with hide glue.

If its really old its likely shellac was the original finish, but more than likely its been refinished at one time, so you ll have to do some testing to see what you ve got.

I would try denatured alcohol, acetone, lacquer thinner or naptha. Use steel wool or a scuff pad. All else fails, go straight to a stripper.

I think the biggest issue you will have is finding veneer to match. You ll need find a veneer source that will work with you on identifying and matching the veneer (looks like walnut to me also). Also, be aware the veneer you buy to day will be much thinner than the existing veneer and you may need to back it up with one or more layers of veneer.

Check out this YouTube channel there is a lot of good information about furniture restoration, and, its really fun to watch.

- rwe2156

This is precisely why I grouse about people not reading the threads on here…lol. I can fully appreciate one’s desire to help, but to repeat — point by point — everything that was already written in the thread shows they didn’t bother.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Walter's profile

Walter

23 posts in 3371 days


#10 posted 06-18-2018 06:11 PM

I agree totally Rich.

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