How to get that rosy glow on maple furniture

HrenMarch 23, 2013

I found a lovely Consider H Willett maple mini-buffet in someone's trash. It's part of the Golden Beryl line, and it's just adorable. The finish is flaked off but good, though.

I'm perfectly handy at stripping, sanding, staining, and shellacking. But does anyone know how to get that rosy, golden glow that this type of maple furniture usually has?

It doesn't look stained. It almost looks like it's just a wax finish. The picture I've attached is a sample of the finish I'm talking about.

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Most factory produced wood furniture is stained/finished with factory developed recipes. Those recipes can include several different stains, dyes, tints mixed in the finish, or other sometimes very involved techniques.

Using oil based finishes will give a soft warm amber tint to wood while water based finishes impart no color and can look washed out.

Shellac is similar, as there are several different shades and those can be mixed as well.

Furniture waxes even are made with tints and shades in the wax.

To add to that confusion, many woods and finishes darken with age.

Maple is much lighter than that in the picture. There is definitely a color added to that piece. The finish could be varnish, shellac, or lacquer, probably with a colorant as well.

The only way, save finding out exactly how that finish was done, to replicate it is to experiment with stains/dyes/finishes/waxes.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 8:14PM
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I've used Minwax Anitque Oil with very good results. It's a lot of work as each layer is hand applied and buffed. I like to put 4-6 layers to get a nice sheen. It does end up looking more like a wax finish, but is much more durable. It's what I've used on most of the woodwork in my house and after 8 years, it still looks good. You can touch up the finish at any time too.

This product does have a slight amber cast.

Here is some Tiger Oak and one Maple piece with several coats applied.

Here is the tiger oak cabinet reassembled. I love the depth this finish gives without the "plastic" look of polyurethane.

For fun - this is the color the original finish had turned over the 90 years of it's life. I didn't even realize it was Tiger Oak until I stripped it. I did not change the stain, only touched it up with a matching color after the finish was removed.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:46AM
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