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ANTIQUE FURNITURE RESTORATION DISCUSSION BOARD

What finish on this antique english mahogany desk?

Posted By: Edwin Hermans <e.e.hermans@wanadoo.nl> (ipd50aa834.speed.planet.nl)
Date: 10/31/2 04:21

I am restoring this ca. 1880 english mahogany bureau, but do not know how to finish it. See pictures at: http://home.planet.nl/~e.e.hermans/

Its construction is still sound, but its finish has always been in pretty bad shape with dirt and cuts and deep bruises all over. Also it has faded considerably with age as you can see from the picture showing where the original wooden(?) knobs were. I have cleaned it steel wool and alcohol and treated parts with Langlow old wood reviver. When I wet the mahogany with thinner it temporarily shows its original beautiful glowing colour.

Probably the best solution is to restore it to its original finish, but...

Does anyone have an idea about its precise origin and date, and how it was finished originally?

I tried colourless beeswax and polishing: the result is a pleasing mellow shine, but I'd like a bit more reddish and darker mahogany colour. Also applied a thickish coat of (clear) shellac with a fad to get a feel for what a proper french polish might look like. The result is better, but still no real mahogany colour. Same with prior staining with potassium dichromate. This makes it slightly darker, but more brown than red.

Grateful for any suggestions. Edwin

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