Renovating intarsia


I have a couple of tables with intarsia from 1930 - 1940 - something. The laquer has flaked off, partially, especially along glueing lines. I think this means the tables have been exposed to too much changing dampness and or temperature.
Anyway, I am aiming to remove the rest of the laquer, do some careful sanding and renew the layers of laquer.
How do I remove the laquer without risking to damage the intarsia? I suppose the pieces are glued into place, but how do I know they will not come loose when I remove the laquer?
Any pieces of good advice out there?
Bjarte
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It is unlikely that the laquer is the bonding agent ,more than likely it is hide glue . You could use Laquer thinner to remove the laquer finish if it was that .Of that period 1930 -40 the finish might well be shellac based .in that case it could be removed using alcohol. In any event I would reduce the raw remover with perhaps linseed oil to prevent it being too agressive.As far as the sanding goes I would take it very easy as many intarsia feature dyed woods for effect and overly harsh sanding may remove the colors ,perhaps all you ned in effect is a good reviver.....mjh
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I don't know about "good" advice, but I'm sure I'll be pulled up if I'm offering "bad" advice.
I wouldn't use a solvent of any type to remove the lacquer 'cos unless you know what type of glue was used there's a definite risk of the solvent seeping between the joints, weakening the glue and possibly causing problems with pieces working loose in the future.
For myself, if I valued the table and wanted to minimise risks, I'd do it the hard way... hand sanding with a sanding block and as fine a grit of paper as I can get away while still seeing reasonable results. I'll hazard a guesstimate of around 240grit to start with; a very careful eye will tell you if you should switch to a coarser/finer grade.
- Andy
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It is probably safe to assume that the glue is hide glue. In that case, lacquer thinner with cotton swabs or cloths will dissolve and remove the lacquer that has been applied. The real issue is to determine what the finish is using the usual tests. If the piece was not commercially made, you could be looking at varnish.
Good Luck.

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