re-using gumwood veneer panels

saydeMay 29, 2008

Our 80 year old kitchen is all natural (turned orange) gumwood. The cabinet doors have gumwood veneer panels. We would like to re-use them by reframing them into new cabinets (slightly resized) with surrounds of some different wood. Anyone have any suggestions or advice regarding: what kind of wood to use? Can the veneer panels be stripped and if so how best to re-seal them? Can gumnwood that has turned orange with age be brought back to it's original color (which is quite pale almost pink-ivory). The grain on the veneer panels is exceptionally attractive and we would love to keep them. If they cannot be lightened, can they be darkened with stain so that the grain still shows? Would very much appreciate any advice or any experience from others who have worked with gumwood. Thanks so much!

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I am bumping this hoping someone wlll see and respond.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 6:50AM
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It's likely that much of the orange color is in the finish rather than in the wood, but you can only tell for sure by stripping one of the panels and seeing what you get. You can't use heat to strip these because you'd be liable to soften the glue. You can't use abrasives because you'd be liable to sand through the veneer. You might be able to use a cabinet scraper, except that it's a tricky tool to learn to use, requiring frequent sharpening. That leaves you with chemical strippers, which could be anything from solvent alcohol to heavy-duty paint stripper depending on the existing finish.

I suggest you narrow your inquiry and do a little research on various finish types and their appropriate solvents and strippers. I am not expert here, but you can get a can of alcohol (from the hardware store, not the drug store) and try that first -- it will work only if the existing finish is shellac. If it doesn't work, try a more potent solvent like lacquer thinner. Again, stripping and refinishing is not my forte. Hopefully someone else will fill in the spaces in my general outline.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 7:40AM
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Thank you jon. I appreciate the information.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 9:19AM
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