Mimicking Amish Finish - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

 
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-22-2012, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Mimicking Amish Finish

I'm building a small taboret and a bookshelf out of quarter sawn white oak to match the crib and changing table that my grandmother-in-law purchased for my new daughter.

I've purchased a can of matching stain (Acres, a light cherry color) from a local Amish furniture store, but I need some advice on the top coat: I'd like it to match the existing furniture as closely as possible, which is top coated with a satin coat of some variety, applied thinly such that the pores can still be felt with one's finger.

I think I'd like to try something I can wipe on rather than spray so I can make sure it goes on thinly and also because I do not have spraying equipment and have had mixed results with spray cans in the past. Will I have better luck with lacquer or varnish, or should I be considering something different than those two? I'll have scraps to test on, but I'm not sure where to begin on deciding what to test.
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post #2 of 17 Old 03-22-2012, 02:08 PM
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Start by killing your electric then your ready to analyze there finish. Good luck
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post #3 of 17 Old 03-22-2012, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilgaron View Post
I'm building a small taboret and a bookshelf out of quarter sawn white oak to match the crib and changing table that my grandmother-in-law purchased for my new daughter.

I've purchased a can of matching stain (Acres, a light cherry color) from a local Amish furniture store, but I need some advice on the top coat: I'd like it to match the existing furniture as closely as possible, which is top coated with a satin coat of some variety, applied thinly such that the pores can still be felt with one's finger.

I think I'd like to try something I can wipe on rather than spray so I can make sure it goes on thinly and also because I do not have spraying equipment and have had mixed results with spray cans in the past. Will I have better luck with lacquer or varnish, or should I be considering something different than those two? I'll have scraps to test on, but I'm not sure where to begin on deciding what to test.
post a few pics of what your matching to show the finish ok?
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post #4 of 17 Old 03-22-2012, 06:03 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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Huh?

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Start by killing your electric
then your ready to analyze there finish. Good luck
Back away from the smart phone..... this makes no sense...

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specfic. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo
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post #5 of 17 Old 03-22-2012, 06:14 PM
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Back away from the smart phone..... this makes no sense...
Amish - electricity = joke, lol
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post #6 of 17 Old 03-22-2012, 09:01 PM
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There must be a difference in the finishes used in different Amish shops. The last Amish furniture I looked at looked to be sprayed quickly over sawdust covered wood.
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post #7 of 17 Old 03-22-2012, 10:20 PM
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This is from an amish plans book that I have but I have seen them do this and these follow closely to how they would do it:

A very pretty finish and one easily put on even [21] after the parts are put together is obtained as follows: Take a barrel and stuff up the cracks or paste paper over them so as to make it as near airtight as possible. In some out-of-the-way place put a dish with about 2 oz. of strong ammonia. Set the tabouret over this dish and quickly invert the barrel over the tabouret. Allow the fumes to act on the wood for at least 15 hours. Remove the barrel and allow the fumes to escape. Polish with several coats of wax such as is used upon floors. Directions for waxing will be found on the cans that contain the wax.. This produces the rich nut-brown finish so popular in Arts and Crafts furniture and is known as fumed oak.

This also is out of the book
WAX FINISHING
In wax-finishing hardwoods, use a paste filler and shellac varnish to get a good surface. Of course, the wax may also be rubbed into the unfilled wood but that gives you quite a different effect from the regular wax polish, says a correspondent of Wood Craft. With soft woods you first apply a stain, then apply a liquid filler or shellac, according to the quality of work to be done. The former for the cheaper job. The usual proportion of wax and turpentine is two parts of the former to one part of the latter, melting the wax first, then adding the spirits of turpentine. For reviving or polishing furniture you can add three or four times as much turpentine as wax, all these proportions to be by weight. To produce the desired egg-shell gloss, rub vigorously with a brush of stiff bristles or woolen rag.

Let me know if this helps
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post #8 of 17 Old 03-22-2012, 10:21 PM
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You can also do the fumed oak before it is put together to make it easier
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-22-2012, 10:27 PM
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You can also do the fumed oak before it is put together to make it easier
That is the best way if possible, it wil also show you what pieces still need more fuming to blend in with the darker pieces, then if needs be, you can apply a weak solution of tannic acid [1 oz per gallon distilled water] to allow for darker coloration to bring everything to a close matc.
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post #10 of 17 Old 03-22-2012, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Here are a few pictures with flash and without flash, attached. Hopefully the compression on them after upload isn't too bad.

Is fuming done in lieu of a stain? I already procured the stain that matches that used on the other pieces, but if it is a combo I could try it out.
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post #11 of 17 Old 03-23-2012, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilgaron
Here are a few pictures with flash and without flash, attached. Hopefully the compression on them after upload isn't too bad.

Is fuming done in lieu of a stain? I already procured the stain that matches that used on the other pieces, but if it is a combo I could try it out.
Looks like water base. Water base shows more depth of grain but isn't as durable IMO
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post #12 of 17 Old 03-23-2012, 01:09 AM
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Not fumed at all, if you look closely at the pic that shows the flake [quartersawn] medulary rays they are light in color, fuming turns them dark.
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Last edited by chemmy; 03-23-2012 at 01:11 AM.
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post #13 of 17 Old 03-23-2012, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Alright, good to know regarding the fuming! Maybe I'll try that next go around with QSWO when I'm not trying to match anything I've already got.

As for this, then, I know the stain I've got will match because it is an Ohio Certified Stain, which is one of the standards that the Amish use. My thinking is that whether it is oil or water base, it'll age the same as the other furniture so they should stay matching so long as they're colocated.

I could call up the Amish shop to see what they used as the top coat, but I was posting here to get recommendations for imitating that look while compensating for finishing not being my strong suit presently... I've got Flexner's book on finishing, which is very informative, but with there being so many different kinds of top coats I'm not sure which to select for comparison testing.
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post #14 of 17 Old 03-23-2012, 01:59 PM
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If I were you I would use General Finishes Arm-R-Seal. Satin. It's very easy to wipe on and gives a good clean result, for a beginner in finishing it's hard to beat.
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post #15 of 17 Old 03-23-2012, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilgaron View Post
Alright, good to know regarding the fuming! Maybe I'll try that next go around with QSWO when I'm not trying to match anything I've already got.

As for this, then, I know the stain I've got will match because it is an Ohio Certified Stain, which is one of the standards that the Amish use. My thinking is that whether it is oil or water base, it'll age the same as the other furniture so they should stay matching so long as they're colocated.

I could call up the Amish shop to see what they used as the top coat, but I was posting here to get recommendations for imitating that look while compensating for finishing not being my strong suit presently... I've got Flexner's book on finishing, which is very informative, but with there being so many different kinds of top coats I'm not sure which to select for comparison testing.
Do you spray? if so then the feilds wide open, understand everone on here is going to reccomend the prefference of coatings and reasons why possibly. I would have you use acrylic or nitrocellulose because of it fast drying and long term proven abilities, other to use mixes of oil/urethane and poly, others poly by itself,, waterbased, etc.. and the list goes on. so if you can spray call them up as you said and find out what they use ok?

If you don't spray, then take other reccomendations offered .
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post #16 of 17 Old 03-23-2012, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input! I don't have spraying equipment, so I'll try the Arm-R-Seal since it has some good reviews and let you know how it looks.
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post #17 of 17 Old 03-23-2012, 03:35 PM
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Sherwin Williams.....

Water White conversion varnish. I asked a furniture shop in Walnut Grove (Amish Country) what they used and he gave me directions to their finishers shop. He explained to me what he used and how they sprayed it and even gave me the % of catalyst he used (4%). Thinned with toulene. This was a few years ago and I did a few kitchens and a lot of trim with it. They now have a lower VOC of the same product but I haven't tried it. Might check with Sherwin Williams to see if they have anything thats brushable that would be comparable.
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