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Thread: Antique Walnut Table

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Cincinnati, OH
    The cove edge appears to have grain pattern that is about 20 degrees out of parallel with the top which would indicate veneer surface. That is assuming that the darker streaks on the cove are grain pattern and not a darker finish.
    Rustic? Well, no. That was not my intention!

  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Lily Sorensen View Post
    I believe the appraiser I had look at it wasnít as familiar with the table as I had hoped. I posted a picture of the color difference, perhaps someone can give me a better idea of what I might be dealing with. Spraying seems like the best way to go at this point but Iíve been given quite a few option on what KIND of finishing I should do. Iíve got as much time as I need to finish this and donít mind waiting til I know for sure what would be best. The only thing is Iíd like to refinish it on my own, which has become tricky after finding out it was an antique, I was originally just going to stain it and do a drift wood look but I donít think it would do this table justice anymore.
    Unless someone is prone to set a sweaty glass on the table a lot about the easiest finish you could use would be lacquer. It dries very quick and very forgiving. Put two or three coats of a lacquer sanding sealer on first sanding between coats and then put two coats of lacquer on and you're done. In warm weather you could finish a table like that in a few hours. Lacquer will also work below freezing but it takes overnight drying between coats. Since it dries fast you can finish outdoors so unless it's windy you don't get dust and bugs in the finish. Just watch the humidity. At about 70% humidity it literally traps water in the finish and turns it cloudy.

    Another note refinishing an antique, often furniture polish is used on furniture that contains silicone. It's the aerosol polish that is the worst. It goes through the finish and into the wood and can cause problems with the topcoat. The first coat there usually isn't a problem because most of it soaks into the wood. The second coat if the finish seems to want to bead up like water on a freshly waxed car then stop where you are. It's called fisheye, caused by the silicone. Oddly enough the fix is to add silicone to the finish and then it will flow out. The additive is available at places that sell automotive paint. I use one called smoothie. Just remember if you get into using this it's silicone so watch what you might get overspray on and dispose of sandpaper and rags you used on this project. The silicone is easily washed out of a sprayer with normal cleaning. You just have to watch what you are doing so you don't contaminate something else when working it. I use to have a dozen or so of those tables in my shop finishing them at the same time and usually one or two would fisheye. I would put the additive in the sprayer and spray just the two tables just a couple feet from the rest and never have a problem. The sandpaper I sprayed the back side with red paint so I wouldn't use that paper on a clean table.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    One serious caution I'll make with Edward's suggestion of Lacquer is that this material requires great care for both personal health protection as well as environmental protection...respirator and significant ventilation. It's not a good material to use in one's home, for example. It is a very forgiving finish, but again, care has to be taken for safety.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    With no disrespect Lily, the best thing you can do is take that table to a pro refinisher. They will know how best to deal with it, and know what products to use and how best to apply them.

    My guess is top is walnut or more likely mahogany veneer. The molded edges likely are going to present an interesting challenge once the finish is removed unless they too are of the same wood, which I rather doubt. And the only good way to remove to finish from those molded edges is with a chemical stripper.

    Unless there is damage to the base of the table that's not shown I would leave it be. Stripping all those turnings is going to be quite a challenge and who knows what the wood underneath is, although I'll wager it's nothing pretty. I would just clean the base components with mineral spirits on a rag, followed by soap and water on a rag if the MS doesn't get everything off.

    If you really want to do the top yourself, chemically strip it. Don't sand it until you have removed the finish with stripper. You may need to use more than one type of stripper, too. Some are better at removing film forming finishes, others at removing embedded pigment fillers.

    If you've never sprayed finishes before, this is not the time to try it. And with all due respect to my colleagues here, there is no way you should even consider solvent based lacquer. A beautiful finish requires nothing more than a rag or brush, a good oil based varnish, just a little skill to apply it, and a whole lot of ambition to rub it out. If the edging turns out to be some other wood from the top (highly likely, I think) I would consider staining it a much darker color, something like the base color maybe, because there's no way you're likely to match it, and a match that isn't a match usually looks really bad.


  5. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    I agree completely with John on this. Just do the top and a little cleanup on the rest. On the rest, sand very gently the damaged spots then wipe on some dark stain. I like Minwax Special Walnut.

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