Advice for cabinet? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-08-2017, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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Advice for cabinet?

Hi there. I was hoping I might find some advice here for restoring the wood of a china cabinet. My wife and I have only recently married and we have just started to acquire some inexpensive furniture. We found this china cabinet at a thrift store and I have been trying to get some advice on restoring the wood, but have thus far been pretty unsuccessful. Should I just sand it down and re-stain the whole thing? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated (I am very much an amateur when it comes to these things). You can find a link to some pictures below. Thanks so much.

https://goo.gl/photos/GrGW7Zk5g9ZZQTKM6
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-08-2017, 01:48 PM
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Anytime you refinish wood start with a paint and varnish remover. Sanding tends to get what is on the surface and leaves some of the finish penetrated into the wood. Then when you stain it some of the spots are sealed and the finish goes blotchy. The best over the counter remover I've used is Klean Strip. Brush it on liberally and let it soak for about 15 minutes adding more remover to places that seem to dry out. Then as quickly as possible scrape off the old finish and remover and rinse the residue off. If you have a power washer which can be adjusted to 1200 psi or lower that would work good. If not you can use lacquer thinner to rinse it with frequently changing rags. All removers contain wax to cut down on evaporation so it's important to thoroughly rinse it off.

After it has dried do a thorough sanding and stain and finish it as though it was new wood. Hard to tell what kind of wood it is from the picture. Some woods like maple or poplar tend to go blotchy when you stain them so a wood conditioner should be used. Maybe after you get sanded and ready for stain you could post some pictures and we could help you with what kind of wood it is.
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-09-2017, 10:24 AM
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I'm sure Steve Neul will check in on this, along with some other experts. I'm not one, but I do know what Steve says to not do. If you refinish the piece, he says that you do not sand first. Do strip first to remove the finish. Sanding comes later.
I only jump in here now to tell you this to encourage you to wait for "those that know" to check in.
I grew up listening to my dad saying "Do something, even if it's wrong.". That's not always good advice. So wait for the experts like Steve, Randy Reed, et al.
Jay C. White Cloud will give you a whole 'nother perspective.
Congratulations on your marriage!


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post #4 of 4 Old 06-09-2017, 10:50 AM
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Looks like a nice piece...

First I would ask what..."you want"...as your final goal with the piece?

I would also suggest that if this is an actual vintage piece of value (some great finds of great value are still bought "dirt cheap") you may well destroy its heirloom and collectable value if you refinish it...depending on how old it actually is? That original patina and finish has value and can't be replaced...

If you like the look of vintage/antique furnitures in general, this piece may respond very well to just a simple cleaning with warm soapy water with a bit of citrus oil added...then toweled off to let dry.

After that process. A light "rubbed in" simple traditional oil finish over what is there already may well bring back an underlying hidden patina without harboring ill effects to the current value of the piece. However this is hard to tell from just photos of what finish is currently on it?

Some will suggest (if choosing to completely refinish the piece within a modern context) a chemical refinishing method, of which there are several. I do not care for chemicals like this myself, nor see them warranted in most regard...especially on traditional work. Nevertheless, it would be a bit faster if going that route...follow the directions of the manufacture for such work and/or provided advice by those that use such methods...as these chemicals are harsh and the methods of use specific...

I personally would do the work with glass and metal scrapers...in concert with other traditional softening and removal methods...IF...refinishing was desired or warranted.

Good Luck!!

Last edited by 35015; 06-09-2017 at 10:55 AM.
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