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Re: Antique secretary

Posted By: James Schooley <furnitureissues@earthlink.net> (0-1pool247-138.nas2.sioux-city1.ia.us.da.qwest.net)
Date: 6/24/5 04:00

In Response To: Antique secretary (Phil)

First, don't strip an antique until you have seen what can be done with a good cleaning and some wax. Many old finishes are salvageable and the value will be much better as well. You can start with a Naptha and 0000 steel wool pad, wipe off the loosened dirt and clean again, always work with the grain, laytex gloves and good light. You should see a marked improvement in the color and grain appearance. When the wipe cloth shows no more substantial dirt and wax loosening as you wipe off the Naptha, you are ready for wax. Buff the cleaned surface a bit and then apply a small amount of a toluene free wax (Briwax) and buff to a low sheen. If you like what you see then you can proceed to the worst area and if it turns out to be acceptable, then I would proceed to clean and wax the entire piece.

Should you want to refinish then you can use a liquid stripper like Old Masters TM1 and 000 steel wool. Work in a well ventilated area, away from any fan and out of the sun. If you are inside, avoid a gas flame as the fumes can give off a corrosive gas when burned that will damage a water heater, furnace or metal chimney. Allow the stripper to set on the finish in 1 or 2 Sq. Ft. areas for 15 minutes prior to scraping off the loosened finish. Choose a 1" and 3" putty knife with the sharp corners removed. Grind out the details with a sharpened stick covered with a coarse rag. Saw dust chips worked into the grain with some stripper will get you a fairly clean grain if it is open pored like red oak. Rinse the stripper off with lacquer thinner or Naptha and 0000 steel wool. Now a little sanding with 150 grit sand paper, dust clean, and you are ready to stain and finish. An oil stain will give you good grain depth and a shellac will be closest to the original finish, plus the results are fairly good and easy for an armature. Avoid the stain and finish in one type products, they are tricky and don't look all that good any way.

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