Refinishing Small Mahogany - Need advice - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-02-2013, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Refinishing Small Mahogany - Need advice

I bought a dresser for next to nothing as a learning project. I have separated almost every glue joint, replaced veneer, reglued veneer, replaced drawer bottoms, played with dovetails, filled huge gouges with epoxy, and purchased replacement knobs. It's been fun and the best part is coming - stain and top coat.

Here's where I need your help.
The drawer fronts and top are ribbon mahogany and I think the sides are also mahogany but I cannot ID the corners. The piece was originally stained (alcohol dye I think) with a shellac finish. The color came off the mahogany easily but I had to sand like a mad man to remove it from the mystery wood (still not all off).

I plan on restaining a dark red mahogany and top coating it hand rubbed satin poly.

Three questions for you:
1) What kind of wood is on the corners? Maybe Birch or Maple??
2) What tips do you have for getting all of the wood to take the stain the same way? The piece originally had a consistent color to all pieces.
3) It is currently sanded to 150 grit. Is that too fine for a nice dark stain?

Here are some pictures
top and sides stripped and sanded






drawer fronts stripped and lightly sanded



side (lighter wood is one of the "corners". This corner is a little wavy. The dark streak is a long indentation)


front of one of the corners - Very hard to get all of the red out



Another side shot of the corner - kinda looks like birch?


Shot of the other corner



Thanks,
Brian

Last edited by monty1975; 05-02-2013 at 11:23 PM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-02-2013, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Uhhhh, the thread title should say REFINISHING SMALL MAHOGANY DRESSER but you probably figured that out.

Here are a few more pictures as context

as purchased


Old crackled shellac top with a little denatured alcohol rub to bring out hidden treasure


shot of the sides to give you an idea of what they looked like before stripping. I rubbed a little alcohol on the lower portion here too.
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-03-2013, 12:57 AM
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The corners look like birch to me. When finishing mahogany I prefer to use a pastewood grain filler. It's normally done before the stain but still could be done if you haven't put a protective coating on yet. I normally stain everything with an oil stain first and if any secondary wood is too light adjust it with an alcohol based dye stain. 150 grit is not too fine. I normally sand to at least 180 grit. Anyway I wouldn't use the level of sanding to determine the color. If you use dye stains you can achieve any color regardless of how fine the wood is sanded.
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-03-2013, 02:26 PM
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To me it just looks like the solid wood is lighter than the veneer. That is very common. I would use a dye stain and pre-stain the light wood to match the darker areas. Once they are all the same color then you can proceed to stain everything the same. I like a paste filler on mahogany also. I would stain everything with dye stain first, apply a wash coat of sealer and then a dark tinted paste wood filler, wiped on with a rag and squeegeed off with a rubber squeegee like you use to wash glass. When dried the time required by the instructions, I would then put on a full coat of sealer and finish like the sample I have already made. (you have made one right?) I use paste wood filler made by Sherwin Williams they will tint it to whatever color you need and if thinned with VM& naptha will be dry in 4 hours and doesn't require sanding after it dries.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-14-2013, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Just wanted to follow up on this thread. Ended up using mahogany trans tint dye and it lived up to its reputation. It gave me great control in matching the solid birch and the mahogany veneer. Here are two pictures of the end result - one w/flash one without flash.


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post #6 of 11 Old 07-14-2013, 07:59 PM
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It came out very nice. Some Mahogany pieces finish for effect better without a paste wood filler. You can still get a nice smooth finish, and see grain variation. Some projects benefit from the feel and look that's not a slick gloss.






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post #7 of 11 Old 07-14-2013, 10:57 PM
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Looks good. What you need now is some wooden knobs. That is what was commonly used on an Irish chest.
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-14-2013, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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The chest and mirror not shown came with 10 mushroom shaped knobs. 6 were original face grain mahogany and 4 non original pine knobs the that were the wrong size. I was able to find replacement knobs in the exact same size but only in end grain birch. With the trans tint I can work the knobs to look like mahogany.... Or at least not to stand out as birch.

Always learning.........
Brian
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-14-2013, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monty1975 View Post
The chest and mirror not shown came with 10 mushroom shaped knobs. 6 were original face grain mahogany and 4 non original pine knobs the that were the wrong size. I was able to find replacement knobs in the exact same size but only in end grain birch. With the trans tint I can work the knobs to look like mahogany.... Or at least not to stand out as birch.

Always learning.........
Brian
I tried to look for a web site that had approiate knobs but my internet is working very bad tonight. This chest I worked on had the original knobs so I was looking for something like that. www.vandykes.com is a good site for reproduction hardware but I can't get it to open.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-15-2013, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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VanDykes is awesome but they couldn't help me this time. Awesome chest of drawers. I am a sucker for crotch mahogany (my favorite wood) and would like to work myself up to repairing it. Looks like you have plenty of experience in that department!

Brian
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post #11 of 11 Old 07-16-2013, 12:20 AM
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You might go to google images and look for wooden knobs. I've seen quite a few that look good to me but I can't get the websites to load.
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