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I want to clean a painted and lacquered whicker piece, but old paint is flaking off. Advice

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Forum topic by Canofworms posted 11-03-2014 03:30 PM 613 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Canofworms

103 posts in 965 days


11-03-2014 03:30 PM

This was a garage sale leftover that was free and I just couldn’t pass it up.
What I would really like to do is knock the dust off of it and just clear coat.
However, the checked paint on the top is fairly loose as is the black lacquer on the binding.
I thought that a light spray clear coat would hold the paint on and then I could try and clean up the rings on the top and maybe touch up the missing gold paint with a little gold spray paint and then put another coat of lacquer on it. for the most part on the sides and most of the weaving the paints on pretty good but I’d like to avoid knocking anymore off if possible. It looks like it has layers of gold paint with black lacquer and a clear coat over it on the top.
I tried wiping the top with mineral spirits and that took off some of the attractive gold paint so I won’t do that anymore.
For the binding I’m planning to spray, sand the bare spots a little, touch up then spray again.
I had some thoughts:
I noticed that saliva and a rag seem to work the best at taking the dust off without taking the paint off but it might just be that I have to be more slow and meticulous.
I read an article somewhere that painting restoration pros actually use saliva as one of their cleaning agents because it has a balanced pH.
I’m wondering if raising the humidity in the room would make the paint less brittle and, if yes, how long would I have to do that and how much humidity? Would a steamy bathroom be too much?
Another thought I had was to put danish oil with a little mineral spirits in a spray bottle and spray the thing down let it dry for a day and then I could spot clean without knocking the paint off of the rest of it.
Any advice on the type of finish? Poly, lacquer, shellac? I want something that will penetrate and bond to most finishes.


8 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4028 posts in 1814 days


#1 posted 11-03-2014 03:38 PM

If it were mine, I’d take it down to bare wood and start over.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Canofworms

103 posts in 965 days


#2 posted 11-03-2014 03:46 PM

Are you saying that because you think the piece is valuable or because anything worth doing is worth doing right?
Are you thinking just the top? I was thinking of doing just the top myself.
I’m aware of that, but there are a few reasons why I won’t do that.
1. I don’t have the time?
2. I don’t have any emotional or financial investment in the piece.
3. I’d be happy with it just looking good enough since I will just be putting a stereo on it that will likely cover the rings.

View ElChe's profile

ElChe

630 posts in 800 days


#3 posted 11-03-2014 04:11 PM

I’d go with shellac. It bonds to pretty much anything. If you have an air compressor maybe blow off the dust and the flaking stuff?

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

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Canofworms

103 posts in 965 days


#4 posted 11-03-2014 04:16 PM

I know this is not recommended, but I’m trying to keep the flakes on. So compressed blowing is not an option.
I’m trying to keep this from becoming a major undertaking.
But I will go for shellac.
As I was cleaning it I noticed a stale gas smell, I think this was in a garage….
I hope shellac bonds to that… Really though I know it probably won’t. But I guess I will find out.

What can you put over shellac? I may end up painting the top.

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DrDirt

4169 posts in 3206 days


#5 posted 11-03-2014 04:51 PM

Shellac is great, it sticks to most all finishes… (both directions) so it will seal the smell and lock down the flakes, and most other finishes are going to have no issue bonding to the shellac surface.

I would redo just the top – otherwise you will look at it, and say that 10 minutes you skipped with a palm sander weren’t worth it.
Sand it and shellac it.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

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Canofworms

103 posts in 965 days


#6 posted 11-03-2014 04:56 PM

Ok. So we’re going with shellac.
I’m gonna seal the piece before I do the top so it will be easier to clean after sanding.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4028 posts in 1814 days


#7 posted 11-03-2014 06:10 PM

Are you saying that because you think the piece is valuable or because anything worth doing is worth doing right?

I’m saying to strip to bare wood for 2 reasons one is that obviously the paint is flaking because it is not bonded well to the wood and covering it with another finish isn’t going to solve the underlying problem. It will continue to peel and flake eventually. The other is my personal bias against gold paint on wood, It’s repulsive to me.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Canofworms

103 posts in 965 days


#8 posted 11-03-2014 07:35 PM

I hear what you are saying.

What I like about the piece is the layers of paint showing through each other and the fact that it is both delicate and distressed. I look at the rings and wonder what was in the cans that left the rings.
I imagine some little old man in bare feet making it in the 1940s or 50s somewhere on the other side of the world.

It reminds me of a Rudyard Kipling novel.

Not that I support or glamorize British colonialism and exploitation of indigenous people.
I just like thought provoking pieces.
Like my roll top desk: It was made by a journeyman in the UK and was brought over to the south US. When I got it I had to partially disassemble it to glue the joints. I found a receipt for canine insurance from the UK in 1949 and a black and white picture of a very unattractive and ambiguous child. When I daydream I imagine that dog sleeping under the desk and playing with the ugly child while father fills a fountain pen.

I couldn’t find shellac, so I opted for a semi-gloss spray lacquer. It dries super fast.

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