Corner Cupboard Tragedy............. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-13-2009, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Corner Cupboard Tragedy.............

Hello all,
I hope you don't mind if I drop in here for a little bit of advice.
I am an absolute novice when it comes to woodworking and wood refinishing.
I have an antique corner cupboard that has some finish problems.
While out of town my housesitter wiped down the cupboard with what I think is
a premade wax/polish. It has altered the finish drastically.
I'm not sure what species wood the cupboard is made of, I think
it is a mahogany of some kind.
It seems as though whatever was wiped on his lifted part of the original finish.
I tried putting a couple different types of oil on and the wood did not seem to take it.
It got a little brighter but not much. I tried applying a paste wax over the oil
and it turned very, very flat again. So it seems, that the wax is contributing to the problem.
As I said I have no knowledge whatever of wood finishes and I'm hoping
these little clues may be relevant to someone on the board.
I'm going to try to attach a photo, maybe that'll help clarify the problems at hand.

Happy for any input,
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post #2 of 5 Old 06-14-2009, 12:01 AM
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That's a nice looking piece. Too bad you have a problem. You might first just use a mild soap solution to see if it will remove what ever was used. If that doesn't solve the problem, a damp wipe with mineral spirits will remove the wax.

As to what to go to from there will depend on what remains.

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post #3 of 5 Old 06-14-2009, 06:20 AM
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If you haven't fired the housesitter

Just ask her to "point to the stuff you used on the cabinet" if they can't tell you what it was they used. That will get you started in the remedy. Was it alcohol, mineral spirits, water, acetone based? Then you'll know possibly what the original finish was: varnish, shellac, lacquer, varnish stain, etc. Let us know what you find out. bill
You don't have Formbys or lacquer thinner sitting around do you?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #4 of 5 Old 06-14-2009, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks very much for the replies.
I tried hitting it with some lacquer thinner and I think that removed
some old wax and dirt. The funny thing is there are some areas that
still have a somewhat glossy finish and some areas where the finish
has clearly been lifted. I suppose we can infer that whatever was used
(she is unavailable to clarify) must have cut the original finish somewhat.
I wonder if I should use lacquer thinner with a little fine steel wool in order to
get everything down to the same level and then applied a new finish.

I'm way out of my depth here and I appreciate any further ideas you may have.
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-16-2009, 09:13 AM
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You may be faced with removing the old finish completely in order to get to a good starting point. In that case I would use one of the newer friendly strippers that don't generate a lot of toxic fumes. They are safe to use indoors, and would remove the old finish much faster than steel wool and lacquer thinner. [Lacquer thinner is not exactly the safest material to use, as it is highly toxic, and extremely flamable.] Once you see what's left you can decide how to proceed to restore the colour and finish you want.

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