refinishing furniture


I have a 51 year old seaform mahogany cedar chest which badly needs refinishing. The wood is scarred and it's just a mess. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to proceed or should I just throw in the towel and call a professional? Thanks for any help
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sandy


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Depends on your experience, condition of the actual finish on the piece and your level of patience. If you are looking at a full strip and refinsh it will requires some time, but results can be very rewarding. Many of the folks that hang around here are predisposed to doing this kind of work themselves. There are several good books on furniture refinishing and restoration. Check the library or book stores.
IMHO if it comes down to a strip-job, forget about the "friendly" strippers and go for a good, strong product. It will save you hours of work. However, DO READ THE CONTAINER CAUTIONS AND FOLLOW THEM. Not only can these products cause skin discomfort they can damage eyes and they are fumey.
RonB

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> cause skin discomfort they can damage eyes and they are fumey.
Skin discomfort is a very gentle and polite way of saying" Damn that smarts. Honey?? Call an ambulance."
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sandy wrote:

I wouldn't begin my refinishing career on something I really liked and prized. On the other hand, it isn't rocket science.
I would strip it first as sanding can take forever, and it will remove the wear marks and patina that would make nice character in a refinished piece, especially a chest. Make sure you have the right gloves, respirators (vapor rated) and an open area to strip in.
I would be more concerned if I were you on how to apply a new finish. Many don't realized that real mahogany is actually pink/blond/white/light red, and not the rich deep reds and brick colors that we see on classic furniture. What you put back on will be as important as anything you do to the chest, as that is certainly what most people will notice.
I agree with the above poster - hit the books on refinishing and finishing.
Robert
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Beyond the good advice given visit www.refinishwizard.com and look around. Consider specific questions there also.
wrote:

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sandy wrote:

I've been doing this myself; the project's progress is readable at http://www.briansiano.com .
My recommendations:
1. Experiment with 3M's Safest Stripper first; then Peel Away 6; and if they both fail, use methylene chloride and severe safety techniques.
2. Avoid Citrusrtip.
3. Tools: Brass bristle brushes, steel wool, dental picks, various sandpaper grades.
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