Cleaning and finishing old vanity (Pic)

LybanJuly 3, 2009

Hi

I have this old vanity with all the pieces but it is very dirty and the finish is not in good condition.

Can someone tell me what is the best way to clean it first and then perhaps put a new stain or something.

I cannot get RAF in my area.

Thanks for any help.

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bobismyuncle

Frankly, I have tried Restore-a-Finish (RAF?) a few times and have never been impressed with it. It seems a temporary, putting lipstick on the pig, and does not address fundamental issues that would be as easy to repair as just using Restore-A-Finish.

The article below is the basic procedure I use when doing this sort of "refreshing" or "refurbishing" work. Start with a good cleaning, abrade any surface degradation, do any color touch up, and apply a new top coat.

Here is a link that might be useful: Saving the finish

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 4:05PM
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Lyban

Thanks for the answer bobsmyuncle.
Can you tell me if I can use rubbing alcohol for that test or is it different than denatured alcohol.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 6:56PM
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bobismyuncle

Good question. I know that any alcohol will dissolve shellac, but rubbing alcohol has a significant portion of water in it, so I don't know how well it will work.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 3:22PM
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Lyban

OK. bob I found the denatured alcohol and did the test and it did not become sticky.
So I guess I now have to do the mineral spirts test but again a question. Is Min Spirts the same thing as paint thinner or turpertine or is it another product entirely.
Thanks

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 8:37PM
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bobismyuncle

Paint thinner is normally (odorless) mineral spirits, a petroleum distillate. It lies between gasoline and kerosene. Naphtha is between gasoline and mineral spirits. So mineral spirits is slower drying and oilier than naphtha.

Turpentine is distilled tree sap. It has similar chemical properties as mineral spirits but is more expensive and smellier.

Chances are that your finish is lacquer that was the most common factory finish between WWII and today. Between WWI and WWII, shellac started to decline and lacquer started to increase in use.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 8:22AM
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hosenemesis

That's a beautiful vanity.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 3:51PM
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