Furniture 'restoration'

On Mon, 21 Jun 2010 06:29:30 +0100, Me Here wrote:

I would NOT use a belt sander, they are far far too aggressive for veneer, even with the finest belt. They are not a tool for a beginner, IMO. You would get better results from a Random-Orbit sander and 240 or 320 grit. Take your time, watch carefully for the veneer being worn through, especially at the corners.
I would then use an acrylic varnish (water based) or if it's a high wear site (bedside tables are terribly open to cups of hot tea) a hard-glaze polyurethane. If it's in a wet area, or drinks get put on it (i.e. a bar top), you might find a formaldehyde resin is good, see Andy Dingley's post on varnishes in another thread.
There is also the problem of matching the newly sanded top to the uv- darkened carcase. You may need to use a stain before varnishing, and experiment on a bit of wood that isn't visible to get the right density/ colour.
R.
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wrote:

Michael Bennett's "Discovering and Restoring Antique Furniture" <(Amazon.com product link shortened)> By far the best furniture restoration book I've seen.
As to the rest of it, then SLOW DOWN! Most DIY workers do a lot of damage when "restoring" furniture. Many also work too hard at it, and do simply more work than an experienced restorer would bother with.
Second point, anything involving "varnish" is probably a Very Bad Idea.
It's too big a topic to even begin with a detailed answer.
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Thanks. There's a copy of the 1990 edition in the library so I'll have a look.

Fair point. All I want to do is rescue some things from the scrapheap, so I'm not expecting too much.

Hence my reason for enquiring :)
Theo
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FWIW, here's what I did to the first (plywood desk):
Try wire wool and white spirit, discover that white spirit wasn't shifting anything that abrasion didn't. I came to the conclusion the surface was polyurethane.
Try wire wool on its own. It got off the very worn varnish, but was fairly hard work on the stuff towards the back that was thicker.
Eventually gave up and got out the sander. Wire wooled the bits that were heavily stained/worn so as to get all the edges of varnish off, and power sanded through the thick areas. A few hours later I had all the surface clean of varnish.
Cleaned surface with a clean rag and white spirit, left to dry
Wiped with a rag with 4 coats of Liberon's Finishing Oil, roughly one per day.
It looks really great - apart from a few deep scratches and two huge water stains which are now just about visible if you stare at them, all the stains have gone. It's also not sticky.
I haven't tried eating my dinner off it, but it claims to be water and heat resistant. Just needs a re-wipe with oil once a year.
So thanks for all the advice... I didn't exactly follow all of it, but I ended up with a nice result in the end :-)
Theo
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Theo Markettos wrote:

Thanks for the reply. We are all better off for the discussion.
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Theo Markettos wrote:

Theo,
Nice to see that you were successful with the job, and thanks for posting the results of the work.
Cash
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