Mahogany piano stool re-finnishing

plinthmanOctober 28, 2008

I have an old Mahogany piano stool that I wish to re-finnish, due to the old finnish being marked/scratched etc. I'm not sure what the old finnish is, but its dark and hard like varnish or french polish or something. Maybe somebody could tell me what this is likely to be.

Anyway, Ive sanded off the majority of this finninsh, but the wood still has dark patches in where the finnish has sort of stained the wood. Does anybody know the best way to remove this ?(I've been sanding for hours now)

Also, what would be the best thing to finnish it when I have removed the staining and finnished sanding? I wan't a more natural look, and was thinking of Danish oil or teak oil, would this be ok? Should I use a dye or would it be best to stick to the mahogonys natural colour? Or rather than remove the staining, would it be a good idea to dye the wood a darker colour to hide the staining.

I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to wood finnishing, so any help would be greatly appriciated.

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Repeat after me: "Sanding is not a good way to remove old finish." Rather than spending 5 minutes applying a stripper, reading a book for an hour, and 30-45 minutes removing the stripper and rinsing the surface, you have spent a lot of time getting to a point where not all the finish is removed.

The finish, if original, is probably lacquer. There are other options, but that's what has been used on most factory furniture for the last 85 years.

As far as coloring and clear coat, that sort of depends upon what you want it to look like and what sort of use do you expect it to get.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 8:31AM
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Ok, thanks for the reply. Is it a good idea then, to use a stripper to remove the remaining of the staining? And assuming it is a laquer, can you recomend a good stripper?

I have tested a small sanded area under the stool with danish oil, and am happy with what it looks like. Do you think it would be ok to do the whole stool like this? Or would a varnish give a better, more hard wearing finnish?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 4:16PM
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Most strippers contain the same chemical, methylene chloride. The rule of thumb is to pick out the heaviest can, as it will have the highest % of MC. Yes, I would use a stripper now.

Danish oil is a thinned oil-varnish blend. A common brand is 2/3 thinner (evaporates away), 2/9 linseed oil, and 1/9 varnish and color. It is designed not to build a film finish (and if you try, it will be soft and gummy). The problem is, in a few years, it tends to dull and slough off. It's easy enough to renew (add more D.O. and wipe off). Something with more varnish will be more durable, proportional to the amount of varnish.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 7:58PM
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Great advice, thanks.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 4:34PM
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Only use methylene chloride strippers outside.
Using them inside a house is asking for trouble.

Do not use them if you have any history of heart problems.
They tie up the hemoglobin in the blood and prevent it from carrying oxygen.

They will also burn your skin if they touch it (sometimes not instantly, but the welts show up after a little while).

Wear clothes you do not care about and wash them immediately, separately from other clothes, when you are done stripping.

They work very well, but have definite hazards.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 4:24PM
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