Please Help - Biggs Mahogany Harrison Table Refinishing

linda2007March 29, 2011

I hope there is member on this wonderful website who can help me. I own a mahogany table by the Biggs Furniture Co. For those of you who have not heard of Biggs Furniture, they were purchased by Kittinger Furniture Co of New York many years ago.

I purchased the Harrison double pedestal mahogany table used, in good condition structurally, but the finish is in bad condition. Biggs finishes were called the Gainsborough and Raleigh in lightone which was brown, deeptone, a darker shade of brown, and redtone, a cherry color. The wood was hand rubbed, hand shaded and the main difference between the Gainsborough and Raleigh finishes was the Gainsborough was a "filled" lacquer finish, and the Raleigh was a "fully filled" lacquer finish. I want to duplicate the Raleigh "fully filled" lacquer finish with the deeptone darker shade of brown color. I own a Biggs bedside chest with the deeptone Raleigh fully filled finish, and I love it.

I'm in the process of stripping the table now, but I need help in choosing stain and lacquer. Is there anyone on this forum who can tell me which stain, or combination of stains I can/should use to achieve the deeptone dark brown color? Also, would Sherwin Williams lacquer be a good lacquer to use. I own an airless sprayer and can spray the lacquer on, and rubbed it out between coats. I have refinish furniture before with wonderful results using Heirloom varnish, but I want to use lacquer. I realize that the finish will have many layers of lacquer and will need to be rubbed out to achieve the "fully filled" finish.

I know the Kittinger Co. does refinishing for the public, but the cost is beyond what I can afford. I would truly appreciate any suggestions from garden members who can recommend a brand of stain and lacquer to buy to get the finish closest to the factory finish. Thank so much.


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I can't possibly suggest a color of the final color depends on many things. But I think I would be looking at an analine stain.
And why do you want a lacquer finish? sure it will be asier to rub out each coat....but also easier to scratch and water mark and heat damage....etc etc. I would go with varnish or even shellac with a good wax coating.
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 10:03AM
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Instead of lacquer, I'd brush high gloss varnish (not poly) for a built up, handrubbed finish; I'd also use a shellac sealer coat between the stain & the varnish. I've done several pieces of furniture by the method & have been very pleased with the results.

FWIW, I'm in Richmond where Biggs furniture was made (& where they had a high end antique shop) and several decades ago, I was taken on an extended tour of the antique shop & restoration workrooms by one of the owners. Quite educational.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 3:02PM
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The woodworking forum may have some old posts or be a good place to ask.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 2:42PM
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