Furniture restoration

I have an old White's sewing machine. Some say to strip it and redo it. I'm more for a light sanding, some staining and dark staining of gouges and then a light finish coat of clear. Or two.
Either way, this brand is not going to be significantly improved in value with a full on restoration.
My wife's hall tree wood hat/coat rack needs some work, both straightening and finding one missing hat/coat hanger. It's very sentimental to us, and I'd like it to look nice, yet keep it looking old, as to make it new would destroy it's ambience.
When it comes to furniture restoring, where's the line?
I see all the time where TV shows say that "restoring" furniture devalues it sometimes by 75%.
Steve
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If it is a serious antique, yes, it can be ruined monetarily. If it is just an old piece of furniture, it may take the value from $5 to $20. If you suspect it is a Chippendale or the like, get it appraised first. If it is flea market quality, just move on as you see fit.
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Always fully restore properly. A half ass job will devalue. Furniture should be kept up to the best possible condition. Especially if it is valuable. But properly restored.
If it is just sentimental, do it yourself. If it is a valuable many 10s of thousands, bring it to a restorer if you can't properly restore it.
On 12/20/2010 1:23 AM, Steve B wrote:

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I wouldn't worry about an old White's sewing machine cabinet. Circa 1950's, perhaps? I know there were some nicely made machine/cabinet combos out there at that time.
The problem with just sanding is that you don't get the contaminants away from the new finish. If is almost surely old lacquer of some sort, and that means it will crumble into dust when you sand it. You can clean all you want, and you probably will still have those nibs in your finish.
My second concern would be the contamination of the new finish itself. Back until about the 70's, "fast dry" lacquers were used in finishing items such as tables, chairs, cabinets, etc.
My personal experience has been that if you don't remove them entirely, they will re-dissolve into your new finish. Today's newer finishes have strong, powerful combinations of solvents in them that will allow them to actually dissolve old finishes. This will cause discoloration, streaking, etc., in your newly finished cabinet.
Strip it, sand it, finish it. Done.
Besides, those old finishes are so thin you would spend more time doing a great sanding job than just stripping it off. Some of them will bubble up directly behind the applicator!
Good luck!
Robert
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On Mon, 20 Dec 2010 10:07:35 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

and many others built very similar cabinets) MANY were finished with shellac and can be "refinished" using nothing more than Methyl Alchohol and pads of clean burlap.
Or you can use Circa Furniture Finish Restorer.(at about 10 times the price)
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca says...

Do you have a reference for that product? I can't seem to find it with Google. I can find a bunch of "Circa 1850" brand products but not a "Circa Furniture Finish Restorer" and searching without "Circa" gets a huge number of hits that aren't it. The "Circa 1850" web site doesn't have anything by that name either that I could find.
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Probably a Canuck product that isn't sold in your parts. It is found almost everywhere here.
I have found this to be very true, usually in the opposite sense. USanians can buy all kinds of chemical products the Canuckistanis can't. Look for equivalents.
Do you have a reference for that product? I can't seem to find it with Google. I can find a bunch of "Circa 1850" brand products but not a "Circa Furniture Finish Restorer" and searching without "Circa" gets a huge number of hits that aren't it. The "Circa 1850" web site doesn't have anything by that name either that I could find.
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On Tue, 21 Dec 2010 07:54:28 -0500, "J. Clarke"

Looks like the Circa product is no longer on the market.
The Minwax can I have says it contains acetone, toluene and methanol IIRC the Circa stuff was a little "hotter" and worked a bit faster. I bought my last can of Circa about 2 or 3 years ago, and this can of Minwax when I ran out in the middle of a project. About $12 a liter back then.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca says...

Thanks.
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I would first clean it with denatured alcohol and keep cleaning it until the cleaning rags come up clean. After it drys do a test sanding and see how much of the old finish is left. If the paper gums up then strip it and then sand it. Old and new sewing machines, require oiling with the oil bing spilled dripped etc. all over the place. More than likely pledge or something similar was used on it. I would recommend useing an anti fisheye product in any stain, sanding sealer and clear finish.
Good luck Joe M.

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