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how to fix/remove this

1608 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Steve Neul
The wife purchased this and it looks to be yellow pine. There is a metal tag that says 1830.

If you look at the second pic there is this black stain on the fold out desk part. It look to be like spilled ink or even liquid shoe polish or something. I am thinking this has leaked into the pores of the wood so just sanding won't do anything.

1) anything you think i should try to minimize it? I don't mind a little character

2) if i was to replace the folding desk piece (the one attached to the desk really isn't bad) how the can i blend in new yellow pine with stuff that almost 200 years old? I can try distress etc but the color is going to be very difficult to even come close to a match.

Any ideas on either one?


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find some old barn siding

I recently came into a small amount of 100 yr old pine siding that was on the inside behind another layer of pine on the outside of a red painted, weathered old barn.

That's the only way you will get old growth pine like that that I know of. :blink:
The picture is a bit fuzzy. I don't think it's stripped enough to be yellow pine.

If you are concerned about the value of the piece I would leave it alone. Anything you do will diminish the value of it. It's your piece though and if you don't want to live with that spot I would remove the hinges and refinish just that side of the top. Before you go down that road you might determine exactly what kind of wood it is and take some of the same kind of wood to a real paint store such as Sherwin Williams and have them match the stain color with the desk lid. It takes a lot of experience and supplies to match a color and they are better equipped to do that. When I refinish a piece like that I charge for 2 hours labor to match the color and I've been doing it for about 30 years so it's a pain for anyone. The old wood will take the stain different but having a near correct blend of stain is a good start. You would probably have to thin the stain some for the old wood. Once that is done strip the top and lid and thoroughly sand it. If it is pine you will need to use a wood conditioner to keep it from going blotchy. Try the stain on a little spot and see if it needs to be modified. If it looks alright go ahead and stain it and let it dry. The old finish has yellowed over time. If you finish it with a clear coat it will have a look different to it. I normally start with at least one coat of an amber shellac to yellow the new finish. Then coat over the shellac with a clear coating. If you have the means of spraying you could finish over the amber shellac with clear shellac or a lacquer. If you are brushing the finish you probably should tract down a de-waxed amber shellac so you could topcoat over it with a polyurethane. Neither oil based or water based poly will adhere to standard shellac because of the wax content in the finish. An oil based varnish will adhere to standard shellac.
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What Steve said.
The picture isn't clear enough to see the species of the wood, or to make a determination of how old the furniture really is. Can't see the hardware, which would be a big help.

There's always the comments about not to change anything because it will affect it's value. What are those people thinking they will do with a piece that may have some value? Will they enter it in antique shows? Are they intending in selling it? If in fact that the piece is that old, it may have some value, but in that condition, I would say not much. Furniture should be kept and used and appreciated for what it is. If the stain is objectionable, there are a few fixes.

Both of those sections have stains, and would have to be addressed the same. You might try stripping with an MC based chemical stripper. You could try bleach. You could try sanding. The pieces themselves could be replaced. They could be veneered.

Matching up a stain, is more than just taking samples to Sherwin-Williams. You need a sample of the furniture, and samples for them to experiment with. Just coming up with a stain won't do it either. A stained piece of wood looks different when a topcoat is added. So, you may not know what that is.

Since the exact manufacture date is up in the air, and the possibility of it being refinished at some point in it's life, the finish could be just a waxed finish, oiled, shellac, or some kind of varnish. If actually newer, it could be a lacquer. So, if trying to match up a wood/color/finish, is a bit more difficult than perceived.

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The comment I made about the antique value was based on many years of working with antique dealers and doing restoration for the public. Antiques are like any other commodity, many people buy them as an investment as well as for use and the less you do to them the better. I always give a warning when someone brings an antique to my shop for restoration. Probably 1 in 10 people then decided not to have the work done so they are out there. Personally I don't get it but that desk is worth more just like it is than if the top was professionally refinished. A knowable person can always spot repairs or refinished places.
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