Old Mahogany Trim Question

eggpainterSeptember 12, 2011

Hi, we have a Deck House contemporary built in the mid-70s. Lots of beautiful solid mahogany trim, straight lines, level planes. A few years ago, shortly after we purchased the home, I sanded and refinished most of the trim, all of which looked dry and some of which had sun damage. The wood is beautiful. Acting on poor advice from my local paint store, I applied water based Benjamin Moore clear sealer to the trim for two of the windows in our kitchen. Realizing my mistake because it looked like saran wrap, I applied oil-based Benjamin Moore clear (two coats) satin to the rest of the trim in the house. We are happy with the oil based results, but about six years has passed and it is again looking a bit dry. And I've never liked the water based results, it looks like plastic wrap over dry wood. I've applied furniture oil to both the water based and oil based treatments. In the first case, the oil appears to seep through spots in the water based coating and for the next few days the trim looked leopard-spotted, until it dried up to my utmost relief. In the second case, the furniture oil looked beautiful over the satin oil-based finish, but then it too dried up. How do I get our window trim looking fresh again, in each case? For the water based case, I don't have the time to re-sand and re-finish unless absolutely necessary. Could I use a wiping finish that isn't so plastic looking, maybe with a very slight tint, or will I get leopard spots again (that might be permanent, yikes!)? I've heard good things about gel stains, for instance General Finishes. For the oil based case, could I just brush on another coat of Benjamin Moore oil based finish, maybe with more sheen since the satin finish dulled a bit over time (the color is still nice)? I need to keep the two cases looking as similar as possible, since they are next to each other and I want the window trim throughout the (open design contemporary) house to be consistent. Thanks much!

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Clean the surface and apply another coat.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 5:23PM
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Perhaps I'm "Old School" but I think there is no easy way if you are set on matching your finish. You'll need to remove the old finishes on both and start over with a new finish. I prefer varnishes. If it is unstained mahogany removing the finish isn't that hard. One water-based product I love is General Finishes water-based sanding sealer which you can apply before your new finish, but it isn't necessary. Then apply a varnish that can be re-coated easily. Polyurethane is a varnish, but I don't like the way most look over time. I personally like old-school varnishes. These are resins dissolved in linseed oil with other things in them, dryers, UV protectors, etc. They are readily available. A very nice and easy to use wipe on finish is easily made with equal parts varnish (spar varnishes, boat varnishes, are good for durability, drying and protecting from sun damage), BLO (boiled linseed oil), and real turpentine. This has been used for literally hundreds of years and is often referred to as violin varnish. It keeps if sealed well and you can brush or wipe on and wipe off. If you're not into home made solutions, there are a number of pre-made wipe on finishes. I use a General Finishes product and it works quite well.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 1:29PM
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