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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I went to my finishing/refinishing supplier. I needed some more NGR Stain - Red Mahogany and VanDyke Brown for possible new work. Cant think of any offhand, but it's cheap enough - $14/ Qt. to just keep on hand.
Anyhoo, there were only a few bottles left. I commented on that and that turned into a big conversation. Normally they carry a large compliment of just about everything. This is not a fly-by-night outfit. They have 2 Houston stores that I know of and one near/in Dallas. They used to carry alot of refinishing supplies. They can still get it. but not carrying much of that in stock. Anyway, it is a family owned and run business. The young man I spoke to was telling me that there are always trends. For about the last 5 years or so, refinishing is only about 30% of what it used to be in their humongous refinishing building. The same goes for the refinishing chemicals. The new trend is PAINT!. Everyone wants everything painted including 150 year old antiques, plus cabinets and other used to be refinishing items. He is supplied to the hilt in paint in all of their warehouses. Mainly white but other colors also. I guess every generation has different likes and dislikes. Today's generation - it's paint.
 

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Today I went to my finishing/refinishing supplier. I needed some more NGR Stain - Red Mahogany and VanDyke Brown for possible new work. Cant think of any offhand, but it's cheap enough - $14/ Qt. to just keep on hand.
Anyhoo, there were only a few bottles left. I commented on that and that turned into a big conversation. Normally they carry a large compliment of just about everything. This is not a fly-by-night outfit. They have 2 Houston stores that I know of and one near/in Dallas. They used to carry alot of refinishing supplies. They can still get it. but not carrying much of that in stock. Anyway, it is a family owned and run business. The young man I spoke to was telling me that there are always trends. For about the last 5 years or so, refinishing is only about 30% of what it used to be in their humongous refinishing building. The same goes for the refinishing chemicals. The new trend is PAINT!. Everyone wants everything painted including 150 year old antiques, plus cabinets and other used to be refinishing items. He is supplied to the hilt in paint in all of their warehouses. Mainly white but other colors also. I guess every generation has different likes and dislikes. Today's generation - it's paint.
Similar but different...having recently redone my kitchen...its like everything marketed is white/grey. How boring! So I went with a color hot in the 70s, Hickory cabinets (left natural), and mock river rock for counters and backsplash. Yeah...was tempted to put down orange shag carpeting but went with Silver Quartsite slabs leveled in cement. Hopefully the trend swings back around the time I want to sell or my kids want to sell....but right now behind-the-times works for me. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Have to laugh at your mention of orange shag rug. My first and only orange shag went into my 1969 VW Kombi Station Wagon (VW Bus). It was usually cheap and readily available. Orange shag was 'in'.
 

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Today I went to my finishing/refinishing supplier. I needed some more NGR Stain - Red Mahogany and VanDyke Brown for possible new work. Cant think of any offhand, but it's cheap enough - $14/ Qt. to just keep on hand.
Anyhoo, there were only a few bottles left. I commented on that and that turned into a big conversation. Normally they carry a large compliment of just about everything. This is not a fly-by-night outfit. They have 2 Houston stores that I know of and one near/in Dallas. They used to carry alot of refinishing supplies. They can still get it. but not carrying much of that in stock. Anyway, it is a family owned and run business. The young man I spoke to was telling me that there are always trends. For about the last 5 years or so, refinishing is only about 30% of what it used to be in their humongous refinishing building. The same goes for the refinishing chemicals. The new trend is PAINT!. Everyone wants everything painted including 150 year old antiques, plus cabinets and other used to be refinishing items. He is supplied to the hilt in paint in all of their warehouses. Mainly white but other colors also. I guess every generation has different likes and dislikes. Today's generation - it's paint.
That is understandable. Antique furniture as become out of style. Modern furnishings is what is in style now. Then since the government has banned methylene chloride not many people are getting into the trade. It used to be a person could start a refinishing shop in their garage before leasing a building. For me, I quit doing it because it always took more work to do than I could charge for. That and at the time it was more lucrative to paint street lights and patio furniture and often the wind would change directions in the building and coat the furniture with overspray.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The Government HAS NOT banned Methylne Chloride. It's just sold in places that a soccer mom wouldnt look in.
It's no different than buying hypodermic needles in an agricultural store like Tractor Supply.
No permits and no ID requiered OR even asked for.
 

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To me, its simple - the vast majority of furniture is mass produced and not worth fixing. The few pieces of what we people might call "real" furniture a lot is inherited, and like the general public, many of those people value it for nostalgic reasons and have no real appreciation for, nor knowledge about classic fine furniture making.

I live near a metro area of over 1 million people. A Google maps search for "furniture refinishing" turns up 20 results. I have no idea how busy they are, how many are even still in business. But I'm willing to bet a lot of what they do is structural repairs to chairs, etc. Maybe I have a jaundiced view.

I have spent a considerable amount of time exploring the idea of a retirement woodworking/cabinet shop business, and I really think it is doable. No kitchens, just refaces, custom built-ins, vanities, bars, etc. If slabs were a thing, I'd get a CNC for flattening.

But refinishing furniture would never be a focus, probably b/c I stink as a finisher :confused:.
 

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I've done a bit of antique restoration and chair rebuilding and regluing and I totally enjoyed it!
The latest were 3 spindle back chairs for a buddy. All the joints were loose and I took them apart sanded them and reglued them.
It was a PITA to get them all back in their respective hole when regluing the spindles. I waited for my son to help and that made it much easier.
I would take on most projects in that venue if I were interested in the extra income and the extra work. It requires some skills, but not as much as building from scratch.
The chairs involved sanding down the seats to bare wood and then trying to match the existing color and finish on the spindles and arm rests, NOT an easy task.
I tried various combinations of spray on stain/varnishes and straight out wood stains and clear top coats. It took me a week to figure it out.
Next time around I'll go straight to the Mohawk finishes.
The antique dresser repair for a friend:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Refinishing takes a whole lot of different skills than building. When building from scratch, you set the parameters. In Repair and Refinishing, the parameters are already set and you have to work within them. Also about $1,000 or more just in touch-up and repair chemicals. That dont count a 5'x10' stripping tray and another 5' x 10' rinsing tray.
It is not as easy as one might think it is. Repair and refinishing, like any other business, you want to make at least $70/hour. You have to know quite a bit to keep those hours reasonable. Color and finish matching is quite tricky and that takes experience.
Most successful refinishers also have a woodworking business out of the same shop.
The problem with the smaller refinishing businesses is they always look busy and messy and crowded. Those places rarely if ever get the good jobs. Way more than once have I been into a small refinishing shop where I saw a spindle repair nothing more than a plain, simple dowel.
My last few commercial shops were in commercial/industrial locations with marquee and I never even put up a sign. They found me on the internet. A "woodworking" sign is an open invitation to local woodworkers and retirees wanting a place to hang out.
My first introduction to a very well qualified Interior Designer started with a phone call from her when she saw my website. The very first thing she asked was "Can you take a full room of furniture all at once?". My answer was "Yes, but I would like you to come to my shop first" and she did. That sealed the deal.
 

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Today I went to my finishing/refinishing supplier. I needed some more NGR Stain - Red Mahogany and VanDyke Brown for possible new work. Cant think of any offhand, but it's cheap enough - $14/ Qt. to just keep on hand.
Anyhoo, there were only a few bottles left. I commented on that and that turned into a big conversation. Normally they carry a large compliment of just about everything. This is not a fly-by-night outfit. They have 2 Houston stores that I know of and one near/in Dallas. They used to carry a lot of refinishing supplies. They can still get it. but not carrying much of that in stock. Anyway, it is a family owned and run business. The young man I spoke to was telling me that there are always trends. For about the last 5 years or so, refinishing is only about 30% of what it used to be in their humongous refinishing building. The same goes for the refinishing chemicals. The new trend is PAINT!. Everyone wants everything painted including 150 year old antiques, plus cabinets and other used to be refinishing items. He is supplied to the hilt in paint in all of their warehouses. Mainly white but other colors also. I guess every generation has different likes and dislikes. Today's generation - it's paint.
Exactly. I work for a home builder. We do everything from spec to customs. 10 years ago everyone wanted Cherry, mahogany, maple, stained maple. Then it went to glazed woodwork being the craze. 5 years or so ago everything went white, white on white, or white with white cabinets and a white back splash, with a little white for accent. Then GRAY took over, doing the same gig as white, but now shaker doors became the craze. The trend I see now is white or grey, with select cabs, either lowers or island cabs, being a contrasting dark color such as black or dark green. My guess, real stained wood cabinets will be back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@B Coll

If you live to old age, it seems that eventually everything comes back. Its like it skips a generation or 2 and crops up again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@Kudzu
I only stripped and refinished 1 'antiquing'. It was a blanket chest made in the 1930's IIRC. It was a Lane and the date was underneath it.
It was antiqued. I spent almost a full day stripping it in my flow-over system. That stuff, like enamel paint, just wont come off without a fight. Neither myself nor the owner had any idea what a gem was hiding under that crap. Turned out is was well worth the effort Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Gas
Shelf Wood Table Cabinetry Drawer
Furniture Table Wood Pedestal Drawer
Wood Table Pedestal Rectangle Bench
Furniture Musical instrument Wood Flooring Wood stain
 

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The Government HAS NOT banned Methylne Chloride. It's just sold in places that a soccer mom wouldnt look in.
It's no different than buying hypodermic needles in an agricultural store like Tractor Supply.
No permits and no ID requiered OR even asked for.
I just meant it was banned for retail sale. There are places that if a person claims to be a professional refinisher they can get it and without a background check.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@Steve Neul
You dont have to claim to be a refinisher,
You dont have to show ID
There is no background check
There is no limit to how much you buy
Where I go, they have everything in stock from 1 Gal., 5 gal and 55 Gal Drums
And I'm sure there is a place near you.
What city/town are you near?
 

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@Steve Neul
You dont have to claim to be a refinisher,
You dont have to show ID
There is no background check
There is no limit to how much you buy
Where I go, they have everything in stock from 1 Gal., 5 gal and 55 Gal Drums
And I'm sure there is a place near you.
What city/town are you near?
The nearest place to me is wood finishers source in Sunnyville, TX . It's east of Mesquite. It's located in the Jot-em-down antique shop. They also sell Mohawk products including the NGR stains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wood Finishers Depot in Grand Prairie will have all the MC you want. Liquid for flow-over systems and paste for vertical surfaces and hand stripping. It is owned by a family business in Baytown and Houston.
I have never been to the Grand Prairie operation.
 

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Like re-upholstery, refinishing is out of favor due to the cost, and more importantly style. Why refinish when you can just buy a better condition peice for pennies.

Otherwise it just gets chalk paint and distressed to be in style.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Most of my customers refinished because either they liked antiques or it was handed down from the family and has sentimental value. Obviously price was not a factor.
Now if a designer or decorator is involved, that's a whole nother story.

New furniture today means something different to the younger generation. back in my day, we bought furniture to last. Today, one can buy a much lesser grade and change out every so many years and always be in style. Actually, it may be the better way to go.
 
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