Another Old Foot Soldier
I was impressed with your recent video series “STEP-BY-STEP REFINISHING” where you take a small oak table and restore it for day-to-day service. Your comment about it being a “good little foot soldier” seemed especially apt.
I’ve been assigned (by my family) the task of repairing and refinishing another one of those old “foot soldiers,” in my case an antique oak pedestal table for my niece and her young family. When it’s finished I hope it will be a reliable dinner table for another 100 years or so.
Here’s my question —
In my case I’ve got some pretty serious repairs to do before I start the refinishing process. The entire base and feet below the pedestal must be rebuilt from scratch. This means a lot of brand new wood that will have to blend in with the older wood.
The good news here, is that the process you describe in the video series (strip, prep, shellac, varnish, rub-out) is the process I was already planning. BUT … I’ve never tried to finish/refinish anything with this much old and new wood side by side. Are there potential problems I should look out for related to this? Is there anything I can do to head off the problems before they become unbeatable?
Thanks for the good work on the video series, I count myself lucky to have it available for reference as I work on this project.
First off, thanks for the kind words. You'd be surprised how much work goes into making the videos.
The two most important criteria to consider are the wood selection and color. As long as the wood is the same and the grain patterns are close , you can make it disappear with the color being correct.
You'll notice in the video, I didn't have to use any color in that table. If you are matching to an existing color and finish, you'll need to make some samples.
One of the easiest ways to get old and new wood to blend is to use a combination of a dye first followed by a stain. Don't let this scare you either. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how simple it really is.
One way most of us blend new to old is to introduce some golden tones underneath. A medium yellow is a good start. W. D. Lockwood has a medium yellow dye I use quite a bit for this purpose. It is a powder that you mix with water. If you want you could also use a dye concentrate like TransTint which is already in liquid form. This will be the glow underneath your stain.
They are very easy to use, just follow the directions. Be sure during your sanding of the wood, say after you sand with 120, wet the wood to raise the grain, let dry and then proceed with your finish sanding. This will prevent it from raising when using a water dye.
Next you can use a stain to further enhance the color and develop the grain. A gel stain would be very easy to use in this instance. Which one is always the question. It's hard to pick one by the name on the can.
Here's a suggestion; go to a good paint store (not a big box) and bring a couple of paper plates. The personal service will be much better. Explain(briefly) that you are doing a match and you'd like to get an idea of the color of a few stains. Most places will let you open a can and do a small smear onto your plate. When you do this put a dab down and pull your finger through it. It will allow you to "look through" the color and see it's characteristics I:E: is it on the greenish side, orangey, yellowish etc. This will help you make an educated choice. Also come prepared; have a paper towel or two in your pocket to wipe off you fingers as well as a plastic bag to put them in. The staff will appreciate it I assure you. Don't forget to wet them down before you throw them away.
Now, make samples with a finish on them BEFORE you do the base. This way you'll know exactly what you have to do beforehand.
Also, check out some of Jeff Jewitts books on finishing and read some more . It will be the best time you can spend.
Good luck and keep me posted on progress.
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