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ANTIQUE FURNITURE RESTORATION DISCUSSION BOARD

Re: advise on restoring old metal and wood trunk

Posted By: James Schooley <furnitureissues@earthlink.net> (0-1pool247-170.nas2.sioux-city1.ia.us.da.qwest.net)
Date: 7/3/5 18:28

In Response To: advise on restoring old metal and wood trunk (Rhonda)

Here are a couple of messages I have written for others, if they are helpful to you great.

If the metal is heavily rusted then you could use Naval Jelly to de-rust the surface and repaint. I have removed light rust with Naptha, a brass bristle brush, and 00 steel wool, when light work is all that is needed. A fine wire wheel in a drill or hobby grinder will be a big help as well, always use a fine wire wheel so as not to scratch the metal too badly. The paint on these was almost like a very thin stain, and most likely had lead in it, so read a previous thread on that topic and wear good protective gear, a paint stripper is best for lead paint removal before stirring up all that dust and sending it into the furnace and all over the house. A metholenechloride type stripper (also bad for the furnace bad water heater) is most effective on oil base paint, read all the labels and follow them closely. I am using a leather dye to simulate the black or drown paint on these pieces so that a restoration of the original paint is possible there. The leather dye is so thin that one or two coats can cover the bare metal without looking like a thick new coat of paint. Then I cover the repair with a couple coats of spray lacquer or shellac depending on the nature of the remainder of the work. As I will often be glazing and staining and lacquering everything all together. You can find more about trunk restoration on my web site furnitureissues.com good luck, James.

Some trunks have been repainted and that may need to come off, especially if it is latex, can tell if the paint was latex by observing weather it is dissolved in alcohol. If the alcohol has no effect after five minutes on the surface it is probably an oil base paint. Put a bit of oil base paint on a spot and when it has dried check to see how well it has attached with a pointed object, if it seems to pop off then a surface prep is needed. A light sanding before priming or a paint softening chemical can be used for pre painting. Tape off the slats with a soft stick tape and test in an out of the way location to be sure the finish is not pulled off with the tape. Tape that sits for a long time can do a lot of damage and heat from a hair dryer can help relieve this problem should it happen. The method I use is involved with lacquer over oil base and involves glazes designed for that technique. I would go to the paint store in your area that has the most knowledgeable sales person and a good product line to go with the faux type paint process and avoid latex if possible, it is not as durable on metal and may not be the best thing down the road when someone decides to redo the paint like you right now are doing. If you are comfortable using lacquer products that will be the most convent and reliable, Woodworkers supply will have everything you may need. I am laying down a base color that will be the middle color after wiping. Then a coat of clear sanding sealer, followed by a glaze and this is wiped off to leave a thin dark paint in the low areas, for age. This is sealed with more sanding sealer, and more glaze can be applied now for example a lighter colored top coat lightly stamped onto the high spots using a block of wood with a flannel cloth over it. The flannel in several layers, is wetted with a glaze of the third color using a medium sized brush, work this around and stamp the block onto a test surface to see that it is lightly loaded with paint. A test surface is a good idea to check all the steps before going onto the trunk. The block should be small. 3x3 is as large as I would suggest. This glaze can be wiped off and redone over and over till you age satisfied, once the top glaze is all done and has dried seal again and when dry buff lightly with a scotch bright pad and begin applying the final coats of lacquer that will be the finish layer. Using other products can give the same results but I am not qualified to recommend any of those specific lines of products.

Terain all the original surfaces you can, preserve the paint and old paper if at all possible. Find out what are the problems and then we can go on from there. Trunks are complex and the answers will vary a lot from one situation to another. A trunk would be very helpful. You can visit other trunk answers at my web site; furnitureissues.com

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