Is there an experienced furniture restorer who would like to offer some
Not too far from the top of my job list is the renovation of some
cane-backed dining chairs. The finish has worn off some of the wood,
some of the cross spindles are missing and a couple of the cane backs
have suffered from the attention of a cat. I think I can deal with the
last two but I don't know how to identify the type and colour of stain,
or to blend new stain into existing. The only information I have is that
they are about 30 years old, made in Singapore and might be Pecan.
On 03/01/2017 15:50, email@example.com wrote:
As to colour, there is no common high tech solution here - its just a
case of trial and error using individual finishes, or more likely,
combinations of them. Experiment on a bit out of sight, and see. I often
find that getting close with a spirit based wood stain, and then over
coating with a coloured film finish to adjust the final colour will get
something close enough.
Some finishes like shellac will go sticky if exposed to alcohol - so
apply a drop of IPA or meths, wait a moment, and then see if any finish
pick up on a small brush.
If its not shellac, then you could try a drop of lacquer solvent - again
lacquer finishes would soften a little.
Some water born finishes (quick drying varnish etc) may be touched by
more aggressive thinners like xylene or acetone.
If none of the solvents touch it, then it must be a fully curing varnish
or poly - although even some of those may soften a bit with acetone.
Oil based finish you can usually identify by just applying a drop of
oil. It would normally spread out and soak in on an oiled piece. On a
modern film finish it will just sit there in a bead.
Have a look at some of Tom Johnson's restoration videos, he demos a
number of techniques:
Our house has stained floorboards throughout. After we had our new kitchen
installed, some unstained areas of board were exposed. The only way we could
match the existing stain was trial and error. We bought a lot of sample
Today is Prickle-Prickle, the 4th day of Chaos in the YOLD 3183
I don't have an attitude problem.
There was a store here selling stains, varnishes, lacquers, spraying equipment,
filters etc. to the trade. One could drop off a bit of wood as a color sample,
and unstained wood samples. There was a faintly grouchy lady in back that would
mix up a tin of stain with a very close match overnight -- no computers or
colorimeters, just experience and a shelf of the full range of manufactured
colors. AFAIK it was only a nominal fee.
Alternatively, Clou (and others, probably) make a range of water-based stains.
Little sachets of powder that you dissolve in nominally 1/4 liter of water,
two-three Euros each. This makes it easy and cheap to get a whole range of
colors. Water-based is easy to dilute, and keeps indefinitely as a powder, and I
guess years once dissolved.
Wet water-based stain looks like dry varnished/lacquered stain, as a good first
approximation. So you can get closed by mixing, painting, looking, and repeating
immediately. Once close, let it dry and try it with the final finish. Testing
under natural sunlight, fluorescent, and incandescent is important. This is not
a job for a cellar workshop with a gas light:-)
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