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Discussion Starter #1
If you have done a project like this I would like to know if you were satisfied and plan to try it again or feel it's just not worth the effort considering the end result.
I have a mid-grade roll top desk constructed from flat sawn oak stained walnut under poly. Finish is in good condition,just darker than I prefer.
I like oak clear coated but I figure removing all the old finish and stain may be impractical. Were it a quarter sawn high quility antique that had been painted,I would probably have it dipped. I haven't considered having it dipped simply because I figured some stain would stay in the wood making for uncertain results.
Here's what I'm planing. Moderatly sand all surfaces that can be done with a random orbital sander to 100 not trying to remove all stain. Hand sand to 120 all areas ineccessiable to power sander. Agressivly sand everywhere you would expect to see wear on a two hundred year old desk attempting to reach unstained wood in areas that would have been most worn from use. The grain was not filled origionaly and I would expect quit a bit of open grain at this point after sanding. Fill with light(maybe even gold/yellow)grain filler. Hand sand all surfaces to 150 and clear coat. Job complete.
Some possiable tweeks include testing a yellow/gold dye,stain or other colorant in attempt to lighten walnut color and/or blend the overall piece to some degree. Orange shalac or clear finish like Polyshades,gulp, containing light colorant.
I appreciate hearing what you have to say and experiences good or bad.
 

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If you have done a project like this I would like to know if you were satisfied and plan to try it again or feel it's just not worth the effort considering the end result.

I have a mid-grade roll top desk constructed from flat sawn oak stained walnut under poly. Finish is in good condition,just darker than I prefer.

I like oak clear coated but I figure removing all the old finish and stain may be impractical. Were it a quarter sawn high quility antique that had been painted,I would probably have it dipped. I haven't considered having it dipped simply because I figured some stain would stay in the wood making for uncertain results.

Here's what I'm planing. Moderatly sand all surfaces that can be done with a random orbital sander to 100 not trying to remove all stain. Hand sand to 120 all areas ineccessiable to power sander. Agressivly sand everywhere you would expect to see wear on a two hundred year old desk attempting to reach unstained wood in areas that would have been most worn from use.

The grain was not filled origionaly and I would expect quit a bit of open grain at this point after sanding. Fill with light(maybe even gold/yellow)grain filler. Hand sand all surfaces to 150 and clear coat. Job complete.

Some possiable tweeks include testing a yellow/gold dye,stain or other colorant in attempt to lighten walnut color and/or blend the overall piece to some degree. Orange shalac or clear finish like Polyshades,gulp, containing light colorant.

I appreciate hearing what you have to say and experiences good or bad.
A picture would certainly be helpful. Will you be able to take the "roll" apart and individually sand each element?

Personally I think that 100 grit is rather aggressive for what you want to do.

George
 

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At one time I had a dip tank in my business. If you have ever seen what is does to oak you would never consider having your desk dipped. It turns the wood gray and makes the grain crack wide open. The dip tank is only suitable for closed grain woods such as pine. If you would find someone that has a flowover system, they could strip it with a methelene chloride remover that would strip the finish and remove much of the color with very little or no damage to the furniture. With a roll top desk there is always the risk of damage to the tambour if it is held together with a cloth material laminated to the back but I normally redo the cloth when I refinish a rolltop anyway. It is normally frayed and ready to fail anyway.

As far as finish I would use an oil based polyurethane. If you plan to use orange shellac you will have to use a dewaxed shellac if you are using polyurethane. Standard shellac and polyurethane are incompatible. Standard shellac is compatible with lacquer and varnish.

Personally I wouldn't go too light in color. If you make it too light it look like a reproduction piece rather than a antique. I haven't seen very many roll top desks done with walnut color so you could lighten it up considerably and still have it look authentic. In all likelihood the piece will retain enough of the walnut stain even after sanding you could just even it out and shoot it clear.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here is an accruate depiction of what it presently looks like. What looks objectionable to me is where the stain is darkest and accenting grain patern. That doesn't come close to looking like walnut nor fumed oak to me.
George,regarding paper grit,note that I'm useing 100 on flat accesable surfaces but they will recieve 120 then 150 before finishing. Are you saying the inital 100 sanding will remove too much surface or that scratchs would show after final finish?

Steve you are right about not going overboard with lightining. Light walnut or natural instead of gold filler and ditching the orange tint in favor of fruitwood or golden oak might result in a more authinic look. I have plenty semi-concealed areas to test on before commiting overall. The main objective is get rid of as much of the black in grain pattern as practical.
I am capiable of new tambour cloth if it becomes nessary to disassemble it.
 

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That color is called Jacobean. It is very common on oak. I believe if you just strip the finish off and lightly sand it you should be able to go clear with it, it will be light enough to look good but still authentic. If you have to sand it a lot it will need some stain to even the color back. Since the black is deeply embedded in the grain it would be necessary to use a two part wood bleach to get rid of if. I believe enough will come off with stripping you won't mind it. If you use water rinsing the stripper off, the piece wet will give you a good indication of what the desk will look like with a clear finish on it.

Sanding with an electric sander with 100 grit paper will leave swirl marks and will remove enough of the surface that it will definitely need to be stained. If you need to use that grit sandpaper to sand out some marks I would wipe the piece down afterwards with a wet rag to raise the grain and then finish sand with 150 grit sandpaper.
 

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Whatever method ya use, stay away from Polyshades :thumbdown:. That stuff is crap. I tried it (once) :no:.
Wanna know how I really feel?
Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Whatever method ya use, stay away from Polyshades :thumbdown:. That stuff is crap. I tried it (once) :no:.
Wanna know how I really feel?
Bill
Yea I should know better than mention it:bangin: much less try and use any. Chalk it up to lazyness creeping up on me while I wasn't thinking straight. Consider it left along.
 

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Everything Steve is saying is everything I have found to work well for dealing with refinishing oak. One thing I would add is try a card scraper to remove the finish film then sand with a 120 or 150 grit and see how that goes. If you can avoid strippers and bleaching and keep the process dry, I would.
 
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