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Re: fixing antique chairs

Posted By: Greg Scholl <beatkat@adelphia.net> (ct-waterbury1b-56.wtrbct.adelphia.net)
Date: 4/8/4 00:28

In Response To: fixing antique chairs (sven)

Hi Stephen..you've discovered one of the most challenging aspects of this craft..I've spent a lot of time making sure all my hard work ...can't be seen..LOL. First of all, I don't think I would sand these chairs much if at all...My aproach would be to do all your repairs after determining that you've got your hands on the best match of wood you can find. Make an extra spindle or at least a sizeable scrap to take through the finishing process to act as a test piece.Treat it to all the processes you take the chairs through, and it will make matching old to new much easier.You can test stain and finish on the scrap before committing it to the actual chairs. They are probably white oak, but many of this furniture actually mixed Ash in too, especially around the depression.After completing all the necessary repairs, and allowing the glue to cure a few days, I'd strip the chairs with a good stripper coating all the new repairs as well, and making sure to spred the slurry of stripper, dirt, and old dissolved finish all around the chairs and new parts with steel wool, then clean them off well with rags and scrub them dry with clean pads of steel wool and a scrub brush and let them thoroughly dry.After they dry, I usually follow up with a wash down with turps, alcohol or Wilbond. Be careful with any water washing , as it will tend to raise the grain on oaks, which isn't a good thing if you're trying to avoid sanding. At that point you'll need to evaluate the next move based on the difference between your new pieces and the old...and using your sacrificial scrap you can proceed with testing stains and/or methods for blending the old and new parts. Shellac is probably the first choice for chairs like these, although standard off the shelf Orange shellac can be a bit too orange for oak,...I like dewaxed Garnet followed by Superblonde together in lieu of typical Orange shellac, rubbed down with 4 "0" steel wool and paste waxed with a dark paste wax (Fiddes, Briwax..). If you've never used shellac, varnish would be a good second choice, and there are some good paste varnishes on the market as well. You could also use a wipe on poly, Tung oil, or just paste wax.. We could go on and on...but let us know how you make out...and we'll back you up...I'm sure there will be much more help here to come...

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