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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello to all, I apologize if this is in the wrong place (mods please move if need be) I'm very new to woodworking. I've done a few pieces in the past when I was younger with Minwax stain and polyoneverythane. I'm older now and really care about this piece. I'm putting a lot of time in it and don't want to ruin what I've done so far. So I need advice on a dresser that was in very bad shape but was gave to me. I don't even know what type of wood this is. I do know it is a piece from about 1880-1900 because of the dowel like drawer joints. I will include a few list of things I've done already and things I want to do for the finish. I need advice if it is possible. I'll also include a few pictures.

What I've done;
Stripped with a citrus based stripper
Cleaned with a cleaner plus mineral spirits
Done all repair work (used dap filler, later learned dap isn't good.
Sanded to 120 (plan to go to 220)

What I want to do;
Dye or stain (looking for a good reddish finish)
Stains, dyes I've looked at (Varathane's cabernet which I love, Gf's merlot <-(love) and cranberry, watco's Danish red mahogany).
Some type of wash(seal)coat. Looking at shellac or Gf's pre conditioner.
Something to pop the grain (blo?)
Some sort of topcoat. I want a hand rubbed look, something that looks original. Something that looks like it already has patina and not been redone recently. (looking at shellacs, deft's laquer, Gf's wiping finish.)
I originally wanted to dye the grain a yellow/orange with the prewash coat of dewaxed shellac and then sand back to apply the merlot, cabernet, or cranberry, then pop it with a blo and topcoat although I'm not even sure this would work. I'm doing this in an apartment so spraying anything is out of the question and preferably something with low odor but I can raise the windows for extended periods if it's worth it. I just need tons of advice. Thanks in advance to anyone who is willing to point me in the right direction. I know the handles aren't original and I'm not using that crown/backsplash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well after re-reading my post today I think I should've been more clear. Things I need help with.

1) What type of wood is this? Appears to me to be maple or birch except the apron, not sure on it?
2) What grit do I need to stop at?
3) Should I use a gel stain or a dye, maybe a combo of the two.
4) Has anyone used Varathane's gel stains? Opinions on those.
5) Has anyone used RustOleum's ultimate nano particle stains (oil)
6.) What should I use for a sealcoat/washcoat? CN's blotch control, shellac sanding sealer or laquer sanding sealer.
7.) What, if anything should I do to prevent blotch.

Can't really think of anything else as of now.
 

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The wood looks like birch to me. With the criteria you have I would use a pre-conditioner to prevent the blotching and use a pigmented oil stain. I think you would have a lot of trouble working a dye by hand. You might have to come back and apply pigment to the putty spots because the conditioner will seal the putty. Some of the wood looks like it needs more sanding. I'm seeing a couple of scratches in the top and the upper left corner of the left side looks like it has some kind of stain on it. You may have to start with 80 grit and stop at 220 grit. What you seal the wood with would depend on the topcoat you use. Sealcoat would work fine with a polyurethane. I wouldn't use a lacquer sanding sealer unless you are going to topcoat with lacquer. Lacquer is pretty aromatic so you might have to finish it a little at a time or use a water based polyurethane. If the color is going to be light a nitrocellulose lacquer or oil based polyurethane will yellow as it ages and looks bad on light wood. Medium to dark colors are alright.
 
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