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ANTIQUE FURNITURE RESTORATION DISCUSSION BOARD

Re: Original finish on Chinese camphorwood chest

Posted By: Cullen Wilder <cbwilder@home.com> (c1124158-a.olmpi1.wa.home.com)
Date: 11/6/1 17:47

In Response To: Re: Original finish on Chinese camphorwood chest (Jim Cole)

I collect uncarved camphorwood chests and I often refinish those that I have found. I have never tried shellac and would be interested in knowing how it turns out if you go with that finish. I know a lot about these chests but I do not know what they orginally finished these chests with. I have never been able to identify it. I have been looking at this refinishing site for some time and I think Mr. Cole is a lot more expert in this area than I.

However, for your consideration, I have had good luck with a tung oil finish. As the first course I apply a pure tungoil without a sun inhibitor cut with about one quarter real turpentine, warmed. I let it absorb as much as it will then rub rub rub until it is pretty dry. I wait until it dries, usually a day or so, lightly sand and apply a small amount of tung oil rubbing with my hand or wet/dry sandpaper until it is dry. Do that a couple of times, the last time you can get a sheen by giving one last wipe with your open hand just as it dries.

Then wax it about 10 times. Each time apply just a thin sheen of wax waiting until it dries and buff it out. The wax mellows the shine and makes it deeper.

I think either the Shellac finish or the tung oil finish can be stripped off and you can start all over again, if you do not like the looks of it. Of course do not strip it back to bare wood if you are starting with any of the original finish and its patina. Preserve any patina you have at all costs.

I have a site that gives more information than you will want to know about camphor chests that you can get to or you can call me at 360 456 8285. My site is beachcrest.org/camphor/

I hope that helps you.

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