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Thread: Refinishing dark dining table

  1. #1

    Refinishing dark dining table

    Hi All,
    I'm trying to refinish a dark dining room table. I stripped the finish off using Citristrip and too much stain came with it, so now I'm trying to match the stain to the rest of the table. It is a very dark brown stain. I don't want to have to sand and refinish the entire table, as the apron will be difficult to sand down. Here is a before picture of the top and one of the legs.
    table top.jpgleg.jpg



    I've tried to use a Kona stain (along with a GF gel stain) and it just doesn't get that dark. I sanded this to 150 prior to staining. Here is a picture of the stain on the insert of the table.
    leaf.jpg

    What would people suggest to match this color? I don't have any experience with dyes, I really just have used stains and poly for my finishes, but am willing to learn. I tried to use GF Van Dyke brown glaze and it just doesn't seem to match. It's brown, but not dark enough.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Wow, that's nice looking wood. Looks like mahogany.

    I know dye stains can be darkened by adding more coats, have you tried that?

    My only suggestion would be look at other tones.

    Its trial and error but I will tell you, the risk of creating a headache is pretty high.

  3. #3
    I have not tried a dye stain. Do you mean something like this:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003ELFJYY...ding=UTF8&th=1

    I agree about the headache. I don't have much room for trial and error anymore as I've used a lot of the underside of the table already for that

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    The original finish looks a lot like colored lacquer to me. If so, the best way to replicate that is by spraying toner coats of dye in shellac, lacquer, or even your clearcoat itself. It's usually best to spray several coats to build up the color to match the original.

    It once took me 35 finish specimens to match a finish so this often is not an easy task. I like using Transtint dye in Sealcoat shellac to create the toner. When I get the color right I clearcoat it with a waterborne topcoat. You have to carry the test specimens all the way through to the end, too, because the topcoat will shift the color and/or hue.

    You can do it by hand, too, it's just a lot harder.

    John

  5. #5
    I wouldn’t try to match it. Many fine antique tables have tops that are too light because they were exposed to sunlight. But they don’t get
    ”refinished” ,they get to be complimented on their “patina”.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    ... fine antique tables ... ... they don’t get
    ”refinished” ,they get to be complimented on their “patina”.
    Can't help but think of Keno brothers, on Antiques Roadshow:
    Owner says, "Got this from 3rd Uncle Cousin Mom, twice removed."

    Mr. Keno says, "This is fabulous example of (insert furniture of choice), built by (insert famous builder of choice), in Philly in (insert 300-odd year ago date of choice), and at auction expect its worth $35,000."

    Owner gasps and smiles.

    Mr. Keno continues, "But someone refinished it! If original, it would be $650,000 at auction."

    Owner gasps and....

    Sounds like you may have seen that episode(s) too?

  7. #7
    Yes, I do remember that ! Did you see me on the segment where the expert told me my Venus De Milo “would be even
    more valuable if I hadn’t put on the new arms ?!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    The original finish looks a lot like colored lacquer to me. If so, the best way to replicate that is by spraying toner coats of dye in shellac, lacquer, or even your clearcoat itself. It's usually best to spray several coats to build up the color to match the original.

    It once took me 35 finish specimens to match a finish so this often is not an easy task. I like using Transtint dye in Sealcoat shellac to create the toner. When I get the color right I clearcoat it with a waterborne topcoat. You have to carry the test specimens all the way through to the end, too, because the topcoat will shift the color and/or hue.

    You can do it by hand, too, it's just a lot harder.

    John
    Thanks John. I've not had any experience with dying shellac or a clearcoat. Would this be like a black dye added to the topcoat? I had planned to apply Varathane's water based polyurethane. So add some drops and spray it on?

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Acker View Post
    Thanks John. I've not had any experience with dying shellac or a clearcoat. Would this be like a black dye added to the topcoat? I had planned to apply Varathane's water based polyurethane. So add some drops and spray it on?
    It doesn't look black in the photos. But before we get to that take a good look at the finish. Does it look like it was done with stain underneath and a clearcoat on top, a colored lacquer with or without a clearcoat, or something else. Getting the color right is just one requirement in replicating a finish, or replicating it close enough to be acceptable. If the grain is obscured then it could be stain + clearcoat, or it could be a pigmented lacquer. If you can easily see the grain through the finish then it's likely a dye toner was used to get the color. The more confidence you have in how the original finish was achieved the closer you are likely to get in replicating it.

    With a transparent toner you would add dye to shellac or your topcoat. With WB topcoat you could add Transtint or Transfast dye, or GF's Dye Stain. Here's some info. on toners from General Finishes Website and covers both dyes and stains:

    Toning is the process of adding colorant (tinting), either dye or pigmented stain into a top coat and then applying over an entire piece in order to subtly deepen the color. All of GF water-based stains can be used: Stock base colors of RTM stains, Water-Based Wood Stains or Dye stains. If you are new to toning, we recommend starting with GF Dyes Stains, which can be easier to use as they only contain dyes and no pigments.
    All of General Finishes water-based topcoats with the exception of Conversion Vanish can be tinted to create lightly colored finishes for toning. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO TEST to your satisfaction before application to your entire project.
    There are limits anytime you add pigments or dyes to water-based topcoats. Toning should always be done in small increments to achieve the desired color. If you are starting with a light honey tone door and you want to create an Espresso color this will take multiple coats of color including base coat of stain followed by several toning coats. It is impossible to achieve a radical change in color in coat application.
    A good rule to follow when tinting is starting with a minimal amount of stain or dye, 5-10% by volume. Some colors work better than others. Normally 1-2 ounces or stain per quart of clear topcoat is sufficient to create a toner. Always test color first and strain material through a fine mesh filter to remove any undissolved particle of pigment. Once you have achieved the desired color tone apply a clear topcoat to lock in the color.
    Some tinting recommendations are:

    • Do not exceed 13 ounces per gallon. Excess amounts of colorant can create surface defects and decrease the viscosity (causing drips, sag, etc.).
    • Tinting a product black only requires about 6 to 8 ounces (based on strength of colorant).


    OK, the color. In your photos the color doesn't look black to me. If it is, OK, just get some black, but even black is almost never just black. The photo looks sort of dark olive to me. Whatever the actual color is you likely will have to mix two or more dyes, pigments, whatever, to get the color right, either together or as layers. Sorry I can't give you a simple recipe to success. It's just impossible to tell w/o being able to see it up close and even then it's still just an educated guess. So take your best guess, get some supplies, and experiment on the bottom, even if you have to strip it more than once.

    John

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