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Refinishing Nightmare ... HELP!

Posted By: Valerie <vipgems@aol.com> (cache-dtc-ab03.proxy.aol.com)
Date: 8/25/5 22:30

All you conservators and professional refinishers out there ... HELP!!! .... I have the nightmare of all NIGTHMARES refinishing disasters imaginable! Here we go....

I acquired a truly magnificient German oak winged griffin library table from ca 1700s to early 1800s about ten years ago. The feet of the table have winged griffin accents, drawers and side skirts around table top have griffins that surround a coat-of-arms.

Ten years ago, I didn't realize the significance of keeping the tables original finish in tact so decided to commission a professional refinisher to strip off the original dark stain/shellace and stain it light with a lacquered finish. I KNOW ... STUPID MOVE!!! So now you think that is the worst thing imaginable ... WRONG!!! I recently contracted a different refinisher to do a full restoration. I wanted to make it look like it did before I stripped it ... dark stain and shellac. I was thinking that if I stain it dark and put back the finish it was intended to have, it will help to restore some of its lost value and beauty. Well, the "professional" refinisher, charged me for a "full restoration" based on approximately 48 man-hours at $50 per hour factoring in a tiny discount for a total before tax price of $2300 ... ugh! I know that is about 2x more than he should have charged but expected paying a slightly inflated price would encourage the person to do it correctly. WRONG! My table came back to me last Friday with a BLACK LACQUER SPRAY PAINT OVER THE OLD FINISH ...YES! SPRAY PAINTED BLACK LACQUER OVER THE OLD LIGHT STAINED LACQUERED FINISH!!!

What I want to know is, did the refinisher caused any irreversible damage? Additionally, how long do you anticipate it will take me to strip off all the mess myself? If I had to strip off only the light stain and lacquer, not the new spray paint job too, how many hours would it have taken me? I know I have to hand strip it. Everywhere I read and everything I was taught about refinishing always starts with the basic concept ... START WITH A STRIPPED, CLEANED and DRIED surface. I am not happy!!!!

The irony of the story is I should have done it myself in the first place!


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