Homestead Finishing Products
Repair and Restoration - Antique furniture
Tim Leahy - Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:54 pm
Post subject: Antique furniture
I have a chest of drawers that is quite old (c.1892) that is made of oak with maple burl drawer fronts and a marble top. A slight cleaning shows a beautiful piece. It sat in water and has heavy white water stains all around the bottom. I want to sell the piece. Is there any resaon to leave it in such bad shape, I want to restore it and show the beauty of the wood. . . .
jack warner - Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:16 pm
what is the finish on it now. i depends on the buyer. some may want to do the finish themselves. and some may want it restored.
most antiques have an oil finish. if you put a poly on it it may ruin the value.
for me i would have to see the piece to see how bad but im sure it can be fixed.
Tim Leahy - Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:53 pm
Not much finish left, it is pretty dry. A quick wipe with mineral spirits shows a very nice honey color on the oak and especially the maple burl. I definitly won't use poly on it, perhaps a good cleaning, remove the water stains and blend that area and apply a true oil or a coat or two of shellac. There are a few areas of burl that are bubbled up. What is the best way to soften it and then glue back down, as it seems quite brittle. I'll try to get my act together and post a picture.
Bob, Pennington is now my starter. . .I am gonna drink heavily!!
jack warner - Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:45 pm
i would def go with an oil. and then buff the top only with a good wax .
i think what i would do inject a glue in behing the bubble. if its brittle like you say, i would take a piect of terry cloth ( just the size of the bubble ) and get it just damp, put it over the bubble and put something with weight on top. check it often to see if getting soft. then have a suringe ( needle ) with glue and poke one hole put plenty of glue in. then clamp it down, leaving the small hole un covered so the glue can escape. i like gorila glue. for this i would use the non expanding type. put some wax paper under your clamping block to protect the wood.
long story short----i had to re lam a piece once cuz the block stuck to the veneer and shreded it when i tried to remove it. i was pissed.
R Boardman - Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:47 am
Thoughts and comments.
The more work you do the more you can "mark up" the work when you sell.
As to veneer:
- Veneer expands and contracts at different rates than the underlying substrate. For this reason you want a flexible glue like the hide glue that's most likely under the veneer now. Hide glue can be reactivated with steam or hot water. I'd proceed similar to what Jack says with a bit of variation.
1) Apply a moist cloth over the area & let it sit for 10 mins (use lint free cloth otherwise you get "hairs" melted into the finish).
2) Take a clothes iron, fill with water turn it to "steam" setting. With even pressure, iron the piece of cloth. Do this for 1 -2 minutes & inspect results. The combo of steam and pressure will soften veneer and usually reactivates the hide glue. If poor results goto 3
3) Use an existing hole or tear in the veneer, or make a slit over a bubble, in direction of grain, with razor knife. Use syringe, eye dropper, wet Q-tip, artists brush, etc. to get s few drops of water under yhe bubble and surrounding area. Repeat step 2. It doesn't hurt to put down wax paper and clamp or sit a weight (pot full of water works well) over the area as soon as you complete step 3, and then wait 5 mins to inspect.
4) If these steps don't work then inject hide glue under slit, and place a weight over the area. (Jack, I likl Gorilla glue for certain uses, but veneer's expansion/contracting rate relative to the solid wood underneath require an expandable adhesive).
- Depending on how brittle the veneer is, you can soften it by wiping on glycerin (even the type sold with rose water in a cosmetics section) and proceed as above.
- An easy way to "dress up a pig" before selling it is either a coat of shellac as you suggest, or something like a coat of Howard's Restora finish. Both are "reversible" so the buyer can choose how they would like to finish the piece, while also being able to see the beauty of the wood.
Lastly understand the Pennington concerns - king of the 8 yd pass. Hopefully Carpenter's foot will give you an edge. Also Tenn may have to start Collins
jack warner - Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:12 pm
all good advice boardman, i have issue's with steaming though. you may be opening a can of worms with that. steaming with an iron may loosen up the surounding veneer,
with this piece being over 100 yrs old i dont think your gonna re activate the glue , but i could be wrong.
R Boardman - Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:23 pm
You masy/may not be able to reactivate it, but hide glue, unlike any other dried gliue, sticks to itself. This is one of it's unique features, esp. for veneers. The standard protocol is to first try and heat existing glue, then try introducing moisture, then intorduce new hide glue.
Heating may loosen up surrounding veneer, but hide glue has a very short open time. Placing a heavy ibject on the area quickly solves that issue.
Don't get me wrong - there are a lot of disadvantages to hide glue (and uses for Gorilla and other types of glue), but for veneering (or dealing with a 100+ year old antique), hide glue is the glue of choicer. It's cheap, reversible, and authentic to the piece.
Don Stephan - Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:42 pm
Repairs by one not an expert may remove any value the piece might have to collectors. At the same time, restoration may not be financially worth while. My suggestion would be first to have the piece appraised, if you think it may have importance.
With all due respect, wiping oil on top of an existing old finish can temporarily give a piece a wow factor, but if the oil is able to penetrate in places through cracks or chips and soak into the underlying wood a blotchy long term appearance may result.
If the piece has no value to collectors, might be easiest first to strip the existing finish. Then easier to add moisture to the bubbles so they'll lay down, and to soften the old hide glue underneath. Just my two cents.
jack warner - Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:34 pm
makes perfect sence to me boardman, i will give that a try next time.i repair furniture for funriture medic ( large company ) so most of my repairs are to fully finished pieces so i have to be carfull not to mess it up.
now when i glue veneers i use contact cement because it stays plyable is that considered a hide glue?
preeng2 - Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:13 pm
Contact cement is not hide glue. Hide glue is just that, made up from animal skins and other animal parts. Contact cement is made from chemicals. Hide glue is some really amazing stuff and there are things you can do with it that you can't with modern glues. You should do a web search on hide glue, I think you will find it interesting to know some things like hide glue is over 4,000 years old and it is still used today.
jack warner - Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:38 pm
i know its been around for a long time, im sure my gg and ggg grandfathers probably used it, they were both furniture makers back in ohio ( 1790-1860 )
my grandfather was a furniture finisher for 60 yrs. alot of what i know is from him. i personaly dont build furniture but have been restoring antiques and other furniture for 30 yrs, thats probably something i should know about, and will def look into.
what would you use hide over modern glues for? im interested.
Tim Leahy - Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:37 pm
Excellent advice all around. . .thanks a lot. There are some small areas of loose veneer that I can practice on to see if I can get it to lay down before I tackle the big bubble. I won't have to strip the remaining finish, I am going to bring everything up to the color of the remaining beautiful finish that is on one side and partial front.
Down goes Pennington
Down goes Henne
Down goes the Tequilla
R Boardman - Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:36 am
But up go Carpenter & Thigpen & you get a big win
Wood Finisher - Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:41 pm
Post subject: Glue
The best time to use hide glue is when the furniture pieces that came apart were originally hide glued - you can use hide glue over hide glue without scraping down to bare wood.
Also hide glue is good for hammer veneering large surfaces that you can't clamp - or curved surfaces that can't be clamped.
Don Stephan - Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:36 pm
If your question was why hide glue on new construction, it grabs quickly, doesn't show glue stain as severely, allegedly has more internal strength than white/yellow, . . . There's lots of articles on hide glue. It does take some getting used to, and isn't as convenient for small glueups.
jack warner - Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:58 am
ive always used contact cement for veneer, ive never had a lift.
i did have a miss placement that cost me time, and a new sheet.
if i gotta get used to it what advantage's are there ?
Don Stephan - Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:41 pm
Personally I would never use contact cement with raw veneer. I've seen it form large bubbles on veritical surface exposed to morning sun. Read more than once that solvents can penetrate the wood and soften the contact cement until bond fails. The backing of paper backed veneer may reduce chance of this
jack warner - Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:15 pm
something to keep in mind, although ive never had either of those happen.
i usually do use backed veneer in fear of the glue bleeding, but i spray the glue for a perfectly even coat, and it doesnt get compressed into the wood. then after proper set up time i compress it in a vacume bag.