Re-stain over tung oil?

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I have an oak armoire that was finished 20 years ago with just Minwax Tung Oil (no stain underneath). It has not been touched, retouched, reapplied, etc. since then. I'd like to give it a dark finish. Can I do this without sanding? Can I/should I use gel stain? A few coats of dark tung or tung mixed with a dark stain?
There's some carved molding that will nearly impossible to sand, which is why I'd like to avoid having to do so (in addition to sheer size). Everything I can find online seems to assume the tung-oil finish has been reapplied over the years or has been applied recently, and I don't know if time makes any difference.
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swimminginpaper_at_yahoo_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com says...

Over 20 years the tung oil should be thoroughly cured. Staining try in an inconspicuous spot and see how it takes, if it looks good do the whole thing, otherwise you have to either sand it down or go with something like Polyshades that is really a tinted clear topcoat rather than a stain.
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J. Clarke wrote: ...

...
Whatever you (OP) do, do _NOT_ use the above...it is a terrible excuse for a product.
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says...

I agree for most purposes, although it did a nice job of making the ceiling joists in the basement shop look like something other than the cheapest construction lumber the contractor could find. Still, if it won't take stain and can't be stripped and you want it dark, it works.
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So is Watco, which is thinned heavily, which is why it takes forever to build compared to the 1:1:1 homebrew oil:varnish:solvent mix. Minwax Antique Oil builds faster. Any of those oil finishes can be toned with artist's oil paints (earth colors work nicely on wood), or dyes if you want a more transparent "stain."
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Clean it well. It likely has an accumulation of dirt, grime, polish/ wax, etc. over the years. If the armoire has been in a nicotine environment, you will need more than just mild soap & water. Clean those carved areas really good, also.... use a stiff tooth brush, if need be, but clean those nooks & crannies.
Lightly sand all areas. You need something for the new finish to adhere to. Proper prep is essential for good results. I advise: Don't skimp.
I would use a TransTint dye, to color the new tung oil or whatever compatible finish is to be applied, and test a few blends to get the darkness I wanted. Test apply on an inconspicuous area, on the armoire, for proper color, before committing to the whole project. I am not a fan of gel stains, so I'll pass on commenting, there.
Sonny
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On Sat, 06 Nov 2010 15:52:19 +0000, swimminginpaper_at_yahoo_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (jmg) wrote:

When applying the new finish, you may first want to clean the piece of any wax or dirt or residual furniture polish.
I'd sand, lightly. You can use sanding sponges and 3M finishing padsin places where sandpaper doesn't go.

What would I do? I'd make test boards with some Minwax Tung Oil, apply 2-3 coats as directed on the can, let it cure for at least a couple of weeks, then try out some options you are considering.
First I would try the tung mixed with stain. I'd wait on trying the gel stain.
== "Tung Oil Finish" is a term used by the finishing industry to refer to something that gives a result that "looks like" Tung Oil (with some degree of success). But easier to use.
Minwax Tung oil finish is 65% thinner, 34.x% is a (secret) ratio of oil and varnish, and 0.2% Cobalt 2-Ethylhexanoate (a finish drier).
The oil *could* be tung oil, but probably is something cheaper, and they aren't saying what. Often Boiled Linseed Oil (really raw linseed oil+solvent+drier) but unlike real Tung Oil, BLO will darken over time, so other oils may be used that don't darken.
A traditional oil/varnish mix is 33% thinner (mineral spirits), 33% oil, and 33% varnish. This provides a finish that gives more protection than oil alone, but not as much surface build as a varnish. It dries somewhat soft and doesn't provide "protection" as a topcoat finish like varnish does. But many people like it, and you can easily touch it up as needed.
So, "Minwax Tung Oil finish" is a thinned oil/varnish mix, presumably to "penetrate deeply", "strengthen the wood" and "protect from inside the wood".
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"jmg" wrote:

------------------------------------- If the piece has any value, invest in the services of a commercial furniture stripper.
They hang the piece in a fume bath and strip back to bare wood without affecting the surface or attacking the glues.
Any DIY process will not produce equal results.
Lew
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Well, sure, stripping the whole piece is the optimum procedure, but there is a way of achieving excellent results without stripping everything to bare bones, even assuming the piece is a genuine antique. I don't think the piece is an antique.
1) Cleaning the piece, thoroughly, is paramount to an refinish, no matter what age it is. Beyond that, prep the piece, ie., sand it down properly, after cleaning.
2) Blend the proper color match with whatever is the proper compatible finish. Test the blend(s) for the color or color match you want.
3) Don't look for an easy way out. Don't skimp on any of the appropriate procedures for refinishing a "previously finished piece". If the piece is in horrible shape, then, essentially, stripping it to bare bones and starting from scratch may be warranted, otherwise, do a proper prep to refinish it with properly colored and compatible finish.
BTW, I'd stay away from Minwax stains, for refinishing, especially, a "previously finished piece", as they have changed their blends and 1) it takes forever for their stains to dry properly (7 days plus).... they now contain aliphatic hydrocarbons (parafin), which, also, isn't 2) agreeable with many topcoats, unless specific for even some!!!! Minwax topcoat products - polycrylic (see above posts re: polycrylics/ polyshades).... i.e., their stains 2.a) aren't compatible with previous finishes, nor are they 2.b) no longer compatible with many refinishing topcoats.... *
*Re: 2, 2.a, 2.b - Unless you want to use dewaxed shellac between applications.
If you want a preferable color toner, I would recommend TransTint dyes or Old Masters stains, for color correctness, with a compatible topcoat finish. Many, typical, topcoats don't work well with Minwax's new blend, because of the parafin.... lots of problems with topcoats adhereing properly. *Read the labels on Minwax's stain cans and understand what they are saying, before using these stains, especially when refinishing a "previously finished piece".
Also, again, lots of folks like and work well/do good work with gell stains. They do work well, but I, personally, don't like using gel stains. *Reason: They are like paint, somewhat, in my opinion. I prefer not to "paint" nice wood or furniture pieces. Though I don't like them, a gel stain may be a good/reasonable solution to your specific needs.
Sonny
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"Sonny" wrote:

------------------------------- I hate stripping furniture, especially when the wood detail requires the tooth brush approach.
Thus my suggestion of a commercial stripper.
I recognize that this is probably a hobby piece but even hobby time has a price.
If you use $7/hr, which is about minimum wage most places, and estimate 40-50 man hours to prep the piece, $300 from a commercial stripper starts looking very attractive.
When it comes to finishing, I'm a total klutz; however, I've become very fond of white oak and BLO. (33% BLO, 67% Turps, I like the smell of turps)
Makes a great looking item, IMHO.
If you want a shine, 10-12 coats of shellac, rubbed out, should get the job done, but me, I still like au natural.
Either of the above gets a paste wax job.
As far as stain is concerned, I try to avoid it like the plague, I just don't possess the skill or patience to work with it; however, have used Wood Kote out of Portland, OR a couple of times.
Found it back in Cleveland more than 40 years ago.
In any event, good luck to the person who has the task at hand.
Lew
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Lew, my last post seemed to be critical of your comments, but that was not my intention and I appologize if I seemed rude, that way. You did have a valid points.
Additionally, if I may: Stripping may not be as troubling, these days, as in the past. For those in the business, they are set up for stripping large pieces and many of them, in as short of time as possible. Old stripping techniques was and is a messy and sometimes tedious job. In some cases, these days, it may not be so bad, nor as messy, nor as time consuming..... especially for DIYers. In the past, many folks, including myself, hated the idea of stripping a piece, also.
Today, there are a few strippers that cleanup with soap and water.... much easier and not as messy a job as with a stripper that requires mineral spirits cleanup. Don't be dissuaded by the idea of using water as part of the cleanup process. A little water on wood will not damage any reasonable wood, but one does have to be careful with veneers and other laminates. Nor will water, at this stage, affect subsequent stain or finish applications.
Another idea: Don't look at a stripping job in whole. Viewing the whole project will sometimes overwhelm you and your plan of attack. An analogy: When making/building a cabinet from scratch, each small task is performed, in turn, and before you know it, it is complete. Attack the stripping task in the same way, i.e., not one big task, but several small ones. It'll be much more manageable.
For your next anticipated stripping job, try KleanStrip spray stripper, the soap & water cleanup kind. The spray gets into nooks & crannies much better than a liquid stripper. It sprays on as a foam and stays liquid longer than other strippers, hence, it will work for a longer time, without drying out while you wait for it to work. It is of good chemical strength for stripping most finishes, without having to apply multiple/subsequent applications of stripper.
For a chair size project, your work area need be only a scrap half- sheet of plywood or a large (appliance) cardboard, or something similar. Tools: Medium to large stiff scrub brush, a small scrub brush, a roll of paper towels, a hand towel size rag/cloth, a 5 gallon bucket of dish-soapy water and a handy trash can.
Spray half the "chair", allow ten minutes, then scrub the piece. Once the finish has been lifted, wipe off the sludge with paper towels, then alternately wash the piece with the rag/cloth and, if need be, scrub some areas needing wash-scrubbing. Wash and scrub the piece as you would your auto tires. Rinse with fresh water. Wipe dry and spray the remainder of the "chair" and repeat the process. Not counting the waiting time for the stripper to work, a chair size project will take 15 minutes to scrub, wash and rinse. Compared to mineral spirits cleanup, used paper towels won't be so toxic, sludge won't be so toxic, wash waste overflow onto the driveway, on your lawn or whereever won't be so toxic, cleanup is a breeze.
For a large furniture piece: For large flat areas, work about a 10 sq ft area at a time. For intricate areas or turnings/spindles, work 3-5 sq ft at a time.
Sonny
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"Sonny" wrote:

------------------------------------- Rest easy, your comments were not considered critical, but rather an explanation of techniques you have used that work.
--------------------------------------

------------------------------------- At this point in my life, I don't plan on stripping anything, except maybe my clothes under the right conditions.<G>
Lew
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SFWIW
This past vweekend, they ran a "Norm Festival" on CREATETV.
One of the episodes featured a black walnut dining table.
It was finished with BLO that was allowed to dry 4-5 days followed by 10-12 coats of orange shellac, applied one coat per day.
Only the last coat was rubbed out.
Interesting way to get uniformity of color without the hassle of stains.
Any of you finishing gurus care to comment?
Lew
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Norm's shop is likely temperature controlled and he/someone may have made sure the BLO was completely dry. Our cooler temps, these days, and especially in a non-heated shop, I would recommend, for this time of year, allowing the BLO to dry maybe at least 2 weeks, to make sure it is properly dry.
Sonny
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On Mon, 8 Nov 2010 12:07:06 -0800, "Lew Hodgett"

Shellac would go to hell with the very first strong alcoholic drink spilled on it, would scratch from most placemats, and would ring from any cold drink set on it. I think it's a totally bogus finish for a dining set, with all the wear and abuse they get daily. Feh!
Any colored varnish (oil-based or waterborne) would have accomplished the same thing without sacrificing durability.
Waterlox that puppy next time! ;)
-- Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling. -- Margaret Lee Runbeck
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"Larry Jaques" wrote:

------------------------------- That's why dining tables usually have pads made for them along with sets of table cloths and matching napkins.
Without them, hot/cold serving dishes become a problem along with whatever liquids that are being served.
Lew
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On Mon, 8 Nov 2010 20:12:10 -0800, "Lew Hodgett"

If that's the case, why put FINISH the table?

Kin ewe say "trivets?
-- Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't. -- Pete Seeger
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There is a lot of strange opinions floating around in this thread. While I may not be a finishing guru, I do get paid to do it, and haven't ever had a dissatisfied customer.
Cliff notes:
Strip? Yes.
The whole piece? Yes. Unless you like two toned woods.
Stain over a **previously cured** finish whose exact formulation is unknown? Trying to account for the level of coating deterioration due to air exposure, age, unknown contaminants, etc., then going forth to color match? No. I am surprised at the comments.
****************
As for Norm (who has suffered the slings and arrows from everyone I know that finishes for a living)..... Ouch!!
BLO needs 21 days or more if it is BLO. If it is just Linseed Oil, you are screwed and should take it off with a good thinner. BAD LO, BAD!
Shellacking the surface of wet BLO is trouble. Dry to the touch does not mean dry. It simply means it isn't sticky anymore. BLO must air cure, and it needs all the air it can get to do it.
A fast buildup of shellac will allow only so much of the shellac to dry, (no, it won't resolvate correctly either as a monolithic finish) and the first coats will not outgas properly. Remember, shellac does not cure, it simply dries up.
The amount of coats isn't the problem, it's the amount of material. When I spray my hotter than hell conversion lacquer recipe, I can recoat in 20 minutes. The key to buildup? Lacquer thinner is much hotter (higher V.O.C.s) than the alcohol based shellac carrier. So it dries faster. And you put on coats of about 2-3 mil (sprayed) at a time, lengthening the time between coats as needed. This 2-3 mils gives you a dried coating finish out of about 1 mils, thin enough to outgas properly and to resolvate easily.
I usually won't shoot more than 5 - 6 coats a day, aiming for a 3 - 4 mil finish.
I have no doubt that Norm padded or brushed his shellac. That would probably put him at about 5 - 6 mil at application. This needs time to set up, and to start outgassing properly. You will know this by the thumbprint test, not by simple timing. How he got that many coats on in one day is impossible for me to fathom unless he just slammed it on. The application thickness is simply too thick.
And that many coats of **orange** shellac? Was he building a toys for children?
He will be able to see the true results of his work in a few months when the smooth finish begins to distort because the under coats (and the BLO) are still working and shrinking.
As far as rubbing out a green finish? Right. No finisher worth his salt would rub out a finish such as shellac or lacquer in less than 21 days, and would feel safer with 30.
Norm has done a lot of really great stuff. But they should have brought in a professional finisher to help him out years ago.
I got to the point where I would quit watching the show when he started his finishing because it was too damn painful. Well intended no doubt, but some of the things he did were just invitations to disaster. Oddly, there were times when doing it correctly would have been easier!
Robert
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I wrote:

------------------------------------------
There is a lot of strange opinions floating around in this thread. While I may not be a finishing guru, I do get paid to do it, and haven't ever had a dissatisfied customer.
Cliff notes:
Strip? Yes.
The whole piece? Yes. Unless you like two toned woods.
Stain over a **previously cured** finish whose exact formulation is unknown? Trying to account for the level of coating deterioration due to air exposure, age, unknown contaminants, etc., then going forth to color match? No. I am surprised at the comments.
****************
As for Norm (who has suffered the slings and arrows from everyone I know that finishes for a living)..... Ouch!!
BLO needs 21 days or more if it is BLO. If it is just Linseed Oil, you are screwed and should take it off with a good thinner. BAD LO, BAD!
Shellacking the surface of wet BLO is trouble. Dry to the touch does not mean dry. It simply means it isn't sticky anymore. BLO must air cure, and it needs all the air it can get to do it.
A fast buildup of shellac will allow only so much of the shellac to dry, (no, it won't resolvate correctly either as a monolithic finish) and the first coats will not outgas properly. Remember, shellac does not cure, it simply dries up.
The amount of coats isn't the problem, it's the amount of material. When I spray my hotter than hell conversion lacquer recipe, I can recoat in 20 minutes. The key to buildup? Lacquer thinner is much hotter (higher V.O.C.s) than the alcohol based shellac carrier. So it dries faster. And you put on coats of about 2-3 mil (sprayed) at a time, lengthening the time between coats as needed. This 2-3 mils gives you a dried coating finish out of about 1 mils, thin enough to outgas properly and to resolvate easily.
I usually won't shoot more than 5 - 6 coats a day, aiming for a 3 - 4 mil finish.
I have no doubt that Norm padded or brushed his shellac. That would probably put him at about 5 - 6 mil at application. This needs time to set up, and to start outgassing properly. You will know this by the thumbprint test, not by simple timing. How he got that many coats on in one day is impossible for me to fathom unless he just slammed it on. The application thickness is simply too thick.
And that many coats of **orange** shellac? Was he building a toys for children?
He will be able to see the true results of his work in a few months when the smooth finish begins to distort because the under coats (and the BLO) are still working and shrinking.
As far as rubbing out a green finish? Right. No finisher worth his salt would rub out a finish such as shellac or lacquer in less than 21 days, and would feel safer with 30.
Norm has done a lot of really great stuff. But they should have brought in a professional finisher to help him out years ago.
I got to the point where I would quit watching the show when he started his finishing because it was too damn painful. Well intended no doubt, but some of the things he did were just invitations to disaster. Oddly, there were times when doing it correctly would have been easier! -------------------------------- Robert, time out.
That cigar is getting to you.
Please go back and re-read what I wrote.
Norm was told to allow the BLO to cure before starting shellac.
I added the 4-5 day cure time (Me bad), maybe it was longer.
The shellac was applied one a coat every 24 hours minimum.(They didn't say what cut was used)
How much time was allowed after the final coat before rub out was undefined.
The orange shellac was not Norm's idea.
The whole BLO, orange shellac process was the brain child of a cabinet maker/furniture restorer down in Georgia.
BTW, the BLO was cut with mineral spirits.
They didn't say by how much, but the directions on the can I have reads 1 part BLO, 2 parts mineral spirits.
Hope this clarifies things.
Lew
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