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Forum topic by Zor posted 12-24-2012 01:55 AM 940 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Zor

16 posts in 665 days


12-24-2012 01:55 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hey all. I’m a relative novice to woodworking and have found answers to previous questions here on lumberjocks in the past. I figured it was high time to start an account and maybe put some pictures on here now and again. I’m limited on skills in the woodshop, originally a motorcycle mechanic by trade and somehow ended up in a power generation. Suffice it to say I’m a knuckle dragger who is working on being patient with a material much softer than steel or aluminum. Really, I’ve just been wingin it on the woodworking stuff, but would like to remedy that.

On to the meat and potatoes of my question: I just picked up an old rolltop desk from craigslist for nearly nothing. I’ve tightened up and squared all of the drawers and have a plan for squaring and stabilizing the top so that the tambour tracks stay aligned. Luckily the canvas on the back of the tambour is in fairly good shape so I don’t need to get into that. I’m stumped however on what to do about the finish. I’m pretty sure it’s oak (I told you I was wingin it right?) and the top of the desk has some water marks and the finish is nearly worn off in some places. I know it’s not a high value item, but I’d like to maintain it’s patina while improving the damaged areas. I do not want to strip it and have it look like new when I’m done. I tried waxing it with some SC Johnson’s paste wax. That didn’t do much to improve things. Do those “miracle restorers” work? BLO? Homemade beeswax/BLO/turpentine paste? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The last picture is where it is now. The top is not fastened down, I was going to try to help the finish first. In the first two you can really see the issues.

Thanks in advance,

Zor


15 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

5068 posts in 1262 days


#1 posted 12-24-2012 02:05 AM

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Zor

16 posts in 665 days


#2 posted 12-24-2012 02:10 AM

I read that thread earlier. Are you implying that I need to sand it down and re-finish it? I was hoping to avoid that and keep the character of the desk in tact.

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waho6o9

5068 posts in 1262 days


#3 posted 12-24-2012 02:16 AM

Depends on the look you want.

Personally, I’d sand it down and start over, but that’s just the way
I would do it.

Maybe pick up a book on refinishing, or look on you tube.

How do you want it to look?

View Stargazer's profile

Stargazer

49 posts in 1625 days


#4 posted 12-24-2012 03:03 AM

It’s not going to be easy to try to match an old finish where it’s hard to tell. I’d say try some tung oil FINISH (not tung oil) only on the places that need it, see how that works.

But being a mechanic you’ll understand you can’t repaint a 10 year old car door and have it not stick out compared to the rest of the car. Just experiment, you might end up with something that works out.

Rick

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Zor

16 posts in 665 days


#5 posted 12-24-2012 03:05 AM

Thanks Rick.

Any thoughts on Howards Restor-a-finish or Fromby’s?

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1473 posts in 1046 days


#6 posted 12-24-2012 03:12 AM

DO NOT SAND!

1. Scrub the hell out of it with naptha and maroon scotchbrite, followed by a coat of raw tung oil thinned with naptha. If it’s still too grubby…

2. Strip it with an MEC or citrus stripper, and return to Step 1.

DO NOT SAND!

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

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waho6o9

5068 posts in 1262 days


#7 posted 12-24-2012 03:15 AM

With all due respect Mr. Clint Searl

don’t you mean MEK?

methyl ethyl ketone

View Straightbowed's profile

Straightbowed

717 posts in 983 days


#8 posted 12-24-2012 04:33 AM

yep that MEK is some stout poopy

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View kizerpea's profile

kizerpea

746 posts in 1053 days


#9 posted 12-24-2012 01:58 PM

I would remove the outer finish…formbys furniture refinisher..then put a new coat of zinsser SHELLAC back on then buff with steel wool then the pastwax…will not b glossey but smooth as a babys but!!!!

-- IF YOUR NOT MAKING DUST...YOU ARE COLLECTING IT! SOUTH CAROLINA.

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Clint Searl

1473 posts in 1046 days


#10 posted 12-24-2012 03:09 PM

waho609….No, MEC, methylene chloride is the stripper. MEK is used to fuse join acrylic plastic.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Zor's profile

Zor

16 posts in 665 days


#11 posted 12-24-2012 10:13 PM

I’m going with kezerpea’s method. Thanks for all the suggestions. I think it’s original finish woulda been shellac so I think that’s what it deserves. I’m one coat in, waiting to steel wool it, then another coat and we’ll see about waxing. I’ll have a finished picture up here in a few days.

Thanks again and Merry Christmas LumberJocks!

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Straightbowed

717 posts in 983 days


#12 posted 12-24-2012 10:31 PM

yep shellac is easy to put on with a pad Ive just started using shellac and its a great finish and you can build layers up quick using a pad I really was afraid of shellac till I watched Peter Gedry finish and its just a feel but its just beautiful when its done watch peter on UTUBE its a great video on finishing

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

5068 posts in 1262 days


#13 posted 12-24-2012 10:34 PM

Thank you Clint for clearing that up.

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Zor

16 posts in 665 days


#14 posted 12-26-2012 02:56 AM

Thanks for the YouTube recommendation. I wish I would’ve watched it before I started. Oh we’ll, shellac seems pretty forgiving. I made a cheesecloth pad like in the video and gave it one final coat this morning. It all came together. I just need to repeat the process on the rolltop portion and then I’ll take a finished picture.

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Zor

16 posts in 665 days


#15 posted 12-29-2012 09:09 PM

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