Restoring mahogany trim

Fori is not pleasedMay 24, 2011


I've just moved into a midcentury home with mahogany trim throughout. The trim (and matching veneered doors) looks cruddy, kind of like it's full of old wax or stripped paint. It's not from sun (it looks just as bad inside closets) and not from paint. I'm not sure how to approach it, but it's icky. It was suggested in the old house forum to clean it with TSP or mineral spirits and then shellac. Mineral spirits didn't do much. I don't see any sort of varnish or shellac on it--it just seems to be naked. I can't get it presentable enough to shellac.

Any other suggestions on how to restore the nice rich (and yes, orange!) look to this wood? It's so close to being pretty but it's not:


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There is some kind of finish on the trim. May be varnish. Varnish will not be touched by thinners. And thinner is not good for dirt.

Only way to get what you want is to remove the trim, strip and sand, add what ever colorants(dye or stain), and finish with varnish.

Why varnish? It will last the longest, be the easiest to clean or repair, and is much easier to apply than shellac.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 9:32PM
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Fori is not pleased

Thanks, HM. It seems to be coming off with denatured alcohol, although I'm sure there will be spots that have been touched up with strange things.

I'll have to work with it in place, though. Some of it is stuck into the walls somewhat as it's been there for a while! And I'd never be able to get it back on as perfectly as the original installer.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 1:40PM
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