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
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.
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
I've been doing this myself; the project's progress is readable at
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
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