Furniture Repair gloat

When I bought my house, there were three pieces of furniture left by the previous owners. They were, to use the proper Anglican term for them, utter shite, mainly because they were usually covered with brush-maimed strokes of thick paint. One of these was a bureau which sat in my basement for a few years. The drawers were missing knobs, and they slid in and out at odd angles. At one point, I used it as a stand for my table saw, and even gouged some small holes in the top with a drill.
A few months ago, on a whim, I dabbed some paint stripper (Peel Away 6) on the top to see what was underneath, and found a fairly nicely-grained cherry veneer under some goo that was once a nice finish. So, I began taking the paint off. After a few weeks of on-and-off labor, I managed to reveal a bureau that, well, had some potential. It wasn't perfect, but with the right stain and finish, well... So I laid in some sandpaper of different grits, picked up some wood putty, some small cans of Minwax finishes and clear polyurethane, replacement knobs, and set to work.
I tested the finishes on the inside of one of the drawers, where the wood _looked_ as though it was the same as the veneer on the front and top. They looked nice when I first applied them, but when they dried, they looked, well, drab. But then I applied some polyurethane to the patches, and learned that poly makes the stuff look as wet and lush as it did when first applied. (Yes, I'm a novice at this.) Sedona Red had my nod for the color, so on it went.
The one problem that arose was the top, which I'd wanted to look nice and smooth and clean. First coat went on. Went over it with sandpaper, did a second coat... and half an hour into the drying, I spilled a handful of sawdust on it. Cleaned off that whole layer, reapplied it. Then I noticed that the rear corner was, well, less glossy, and even a bit bare and grainy. Couldn't apply just a small patch and make it blend into the rest, so a third coat had to go on. This time, I _experimented_, by diluting the polyurethane with mineral spirits; I figured, with thinner poly, not only would the bubbles rise and pop faster, but the contours of the brushstrokes would even out better. Net result was one very smooth tabletop.
(Next time, I will experiment with diluted poly and a hand-pump spray bottle, to apply it in a fine mist, for a nice, even topcoat.)
The bureau is now doing duty in my dining room as a buffet. I'll have to line two of the drawers with felt, mainly to cover the crummy wallpaper the prevous owner'd laid down in there. And there are some odd drawer-corners where the veneer is chipped. But the thing looks really nice.
And like I said, there are two more pieces in the set.
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Another option to the hand spray is Preval units with rather small jars for finish a charged component for spraying. Might be too small for your efforts.
On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 09:57:15 -0500, Brian Siano

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Brian Siano wrote:

Kinda like a flashback. Check out my "hutch thing" on the projects page:
www.geocities.com/Paris/Rue/5407/projects.html
That's what I did with my formerly painted, novice refinished dresser. It doesn't look fabulous, but it looks pretty dang decent. Especially compared to what it looked like when it was covered with chalky white paint. That was one of my very first projects, back when SWMBO was merely my girlfriend. (I had to marry her to keep the dresser.)
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(Next time, I will experiment with diluted poly and a hand-pump spray bottle, to apply it in a fine mist, for a nice, even topcoat.)
I would be interested in knowing if this works BUT I don't think the internal works for most of these sprayers will not stand up to the solvents. I tried it once with laquer and the spray bottle worked for less than 5 minutes.
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Tchswoods wrote:

Well, I was thinking of using a cheap sprayer from a glass-cleaner bottle-- the sort you'd find in a supermarket product. They're cheap, and practically disposable. I figure that if the pump is disposable, then I wouldn't have to worry too much about cleanup or jams. I used one with denatured alcohol when I did some paint stripping, and it worked OK. And similar sprayers come with some methylene chloride strppers, though I wouldn't recommend spraying something that nasty.
However, I hadn't thought that the plastic parts might melt enough to contaminate the stuff I'd be spraying on the wood. If I get a chance, Ill give it a try, and report back to y'all.
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