Any woodworkers/furniture restorers in the house?

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11/17/2017 6:24 PM
Edited Date/Time: 11/17/2017 6:25 PM

Picked up a very old Hamilton Mfg. printers chest to make my wife a jewelry box out of. Twenty one drawers with all the original matching handles and an angled top for her to lay things out on. Should be pretty cool, I hope, when done. Looking for info on what the absolute best paint/ varnish stripper available is and any tips for getting the best surface ready for fresh stain and satin clear.

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Next up is the hardware. Removed the cast iron handles and all the screws and tossed them in Evaporust for a day. Upon removal I have scrubbed any remaining residue off of them with two different wire brushes. A brass brush leaves a nice bronze sheen to the cast iron and a stainless brush leaves a natural fresh cast iron finish. These will be clear coated with a matte finish automotive grade urethane clear. Question for the hive would be which one looks best?

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Next question, what do I need to know about wood putty for repairing small holes and imperfections on something I plan to stain?

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11/17/2017 6:51 PM

Best thing I ever did was pay a professional furniture restoration person to restore a ww2 desk I picked up on Craig’s list. I planned on doing it myself. Really lack of time and knowledge prevented me from doing myself. Desk turned out better then I ever expected.

Can’t wait to see how yours turns out. Looks like a great start!

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11/17/2017 7:41 PM

TXDirt wrote:

Best thing I ever did was pay a professional furniture restoration person to restore a ww2 desk I picked up on Craig’s list. I planned on doing it myself. Really lack of time and knowledge prevented me from doing myself. Desk turned out better then I ever expected.

Can’t wait to see how yours turns out. Looks like a great start!

I have had my 1920's solid mahogany office desk professionally stripped and refinished. All the brass handles and feet I polished up. It looks really good. Trying to find me a period correct nice chair to match it at the moment. Unfortunately my go to guy for this type of work is booked for the next year due to the recent floods. He even built an additional on site warehouse to store all the projects in until he can get to them. Will grab a few pics.

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11/17/2017 7:47 PM

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11/17/2017 11:22 PM

Very nice. I’ll snap a few pics of my desk in the morning. Really dig those brass accents you have.

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11/18/2017 9:57 AM

Newmann you do the coolest shit.

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-OC
"Feed The Bull"
Twitter: @ocscottie | Facebook

11/18/2017 10:05 AM

TXDirt wrote:

Very nice. I’ll snap a few pics of my desk in the morning. Really dig those brass accents you have.

X2. The brass looks great!

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11/18/2017 11:56 AM

Newman, furniture ain't like bikes, more like old/vintage/milsuro guns and can be greatly devalued by restoring, Se if it has any real collector value that can be harmed by restoring.

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The older I get, the faster I was.

11/18/2017 12:19 PM

Go ride that 150 newmann.

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11/18/2017 1:46 PM

captmoto wrote:

Newman, furniture ain't like bikes, more like old/vintage/milsuro guns and can be greatly devalued by restoring, Se if it has any real collector value that can be harmed by restoring.

I fully agree but when it is to the point that it is filthy and disgusting the value is usually nil to begin with. When I found the desk in an old used furniture warehouse nestled amongst all the rusted up steel desks from the refineries it was black and gummy. You couldn’t even tell what kind of wood it was. The printers chest has cracks and holes in the exterior and wobbles from side to side like it is about to fall apart. It’s going to take some work and I do want it to look nice among the other new furniture in the house as we never really had any real antique furniture to begin with. Nicely done, not over done...smile

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11/18/2017 1:48 PM

ocscottie wrote:

Newmann you do the coolest shit.

Unfortunately I have been forced to do a lot of it lately...sad

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11/18/2017 1:58 PM

mxb2 wrote:

Go ride that 150 newmann.

Working on it. Had a few things ready to ride before the hurricane shit show arrived and fugged up my plans. The 150 is fresh and ready again though so as soon as the house is wrapped up my buddy and I have a ride day planned. Hanging blinds, lights and ceiling fans today. Appliances are arriving and a whole house worth of furniture is scheduled for delivery Monday along with all the tables and stuff for the wife’s sewing room. Then it is time to clear out the garages and get those lined out. Still a bit of a mess but a whole lot of progress has been made in a few short months!

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11/18/2017 2:25 PM

Looks like a nice save in the picture. I restored an old Hutch one time, that was enough for me.

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11/18/2017 2:39 PM

mxb2 wrote:

Go ride that 150 newmann.

newmann wrote:

Working on it. Had a few things ready to ride before the hurricane shit show arrived and fugged up my plans. The 150 is fresh and ready again though so as soon as the house is wrapped up my buddy and I have a ride day planned. Hanging blinds, lights and ceiling fans today. Appliances are arriving and a whole house worth of furniture is scheduled for delivery Monday along with all the tables and stuff for the wife’s sewing room. Then it is time to clear out the garages and get those lined out. Still a bit of a mess but a whole lot of progress has been made in a few short months!

Nice, braap

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11/18/2017 3:29 PM

Today’s project, getting the dining and living room clean and trimmed out. Only thing left is curtains and boxing in the two columns to match the cabinets in the house which should be done Monday.


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11/18/2017 5:33 PM

I bought this desk off Craig’s list for $75. It was absolutely hammered and been sitting in some guys garage for 40 years. Even had cement crusted across the top from buckets stored on it, but it had good bones. My intention was to refinish it myself. Man if I had a nickel for every good intention....

About 10 years went by and I just never had the time. So at that point we were getting ready to move and I was really just considering putting it out to the trash. It’s Heavy. And I didn’t want to move a hammered desk to the new house which was 4 HRs away.

I kept it.

I decided to pay someone to refinish it and wanted it stained darker to match most of our other furniture.

I paid a mint. Make no mistake.

But it turned out better then I ever thought possible. Thing is a frickin family piece to be passed down to my kids. Just turned out great.

You cann’t find this quality and size in any furniture stores.

I’m happy I kept it. And yeah I paid a fortune to restore it but I think it was worth it.

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11/19/2017 9:51 AM
Edited Date/Time: 11/19/2017 9:52 AM

Test a spot on it with denatured alcohol. If that works, then the finish is shellac and alcohol will work well. If that doesn't work, use a bit of lacquer thinner. If that works, then a 50/50 mix of lacquer thinner and denatured alcohol is your best bet. This is what our resident experts in my woodworking club use. If it was finished with varnish or something more modern, then you're stuck with the commercial stuff.

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11/20/2017 12:02 PM

I love the wood grain in that mahogany. They quit exporting mahogany from Honduras and it's a shame. I have some African mahogany and it definitely doesn't have the same depth and grain patters as the stuff from Honduras.

Wish I could get good enough at dovetail to make some drawer fronts like those.

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11/20/2017 12:19 PM

Love the idea Newmann! However, I will not go that route for my wife because I do not want to spend all the money to fill those drawers. She has expensive taste when it comes to jewelry.

Interested to hearing the ideas. I'm pretty excited because I was informed by my grandmother she is giving my great grandfathers desk. Just have to make my way to Georgia to pick it up this weekend. It has "character" like the "accidental" cigar burn from my grandfather, but I haven't decided if I want to restore or leave the history.

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11/20/2017 2:04 PM

IWreckALot wrote:

I love the wood grain in that mahogany. They quit exporting mahogany from Honduras and it's a shame. I have some African mahogany and it definitely doesn't have the same depth and grain patters as the stuff from Honduras.

Wish I could get good enough at dovetail to make some drawer fronts like those.

The real mahogany was Cuban. Not commercially available since the 50s or so. I have a few pieces from an old wooden desk for some future project. I have a few large quartersawn boards (10/4 x 16") of Honduran as well. Some folks were lucky enough to have snagged some smaller Cuban mahogany trees after the last hurricane or two in the Florida area. I wasn't one of them.

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11/20/2017 5:02 PM

IWreckALot wrote:

I love the wood grain in that mahogany. They quit exporting mahogany from Honduras and it's a shame. I have some African mahogany and it definitely doesn't have the same depth and grain patters as the stuff from Honduras.

Wish I could get good enough at dovetail to make some drawer fronts like those.

Foghorn wrote:

The real mahogany was Cuban. Not commercially available since the 50s or so. I have a few pieces from an old wooden desk for some future project. I have a few large quartersawn boards (10/4 x 16") of Honduran as well. Some folks were lucky enough to have snagged some smaller Cuban mahogany trees after the last hurricane or two in the Florida area. I wasn't one of them.

Yeah I’ve never seen Cuban mahogany. It’s crazy how much it changes after you get a coat of poly on it. The stuff I got almost looks holographical.

I’ve seen some people stain mahogany which begs to question, why didn’t you just use pine and stain it whatever color you wanted.

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11/20/2017 5:09 PM

Yes to what Foghorn said on the stripper. When it comes to the finish, I would stay away from the waterbased urethane. I used it on an oak coffee table and it looks nice but I can dig my fingernail right through the finish. I'm sitting at my computer desk which I built 30 years ago and finished with the old oil based urethane. No fingernails going through this stuff. Hopefully Texas hasn't gone too green and you can still get the good stuff. There are many variables to the finish coat though and you can get a more antique appearance with some of the other materials. I'm sure you will research the options.

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