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Many questions re maple table - burl or quilted or..?

Posted by celticmoon (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 27, 11 at 0:09

Curious about this large 44 x 58 dining table with veneer top. The perimeter is bird's eye, but I'm not sure of the rest. I'm guessing mahagony or rosewood on the band? Would you say the center panels are burl or quilted? They are busier than plain maple but not quite like pictures I'm seeing of those veneers. In some light it is quite plain, but in other light it has shimmery depth and movement like the photo.


I will be refinishing the top (Photo is one of the leaves in pretty good shape) and have read much conflicting opinion about methods and products for finishing exotic maples. I want to optimize chatoyance but I need durability. Right now it is very glossy and I've read that gloss maximizes chatoyance but also read the opposite. Same conflicting info re sanding with some saying stop at 220 max and others going way up (but then some finishes won't stick?) Dye vs. stain vs. no stain? Linseed vs no oil? (I'm not keen on the flammability) Lacquer vs poly vs tung oil?

So much conflicting info out there - what sources do you trust?

I'll probably have lots of questions once finish reading and start stripping...

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Many questions re maple table - burl or quilted or..?

The finish is the lens through which the figure of the wood is focused. A high gloss finish gives the sharpest focus. The problem comes with glare. Polarization, then, prevents one from seeing the figure at all given certain angles of illumination and perspective. That's the tradeoff.

Your picture is terrible for judging the figure of the maple. I'd say the grain features are more birdseyes than quilts.
IMO penetrating oil+clear gloss is the way to go; the oil penetrates and allows light to penetrate deeper, then the clear gloss lens does its thing. You might consider something other than linseed oil however, because of the extreme darkening it will impart. Other oils out there will keep it lighter.
For stripping the finish, maybe a cabinet scraper (unless it's thin veneers) because some strippers will gunk up the grain and kill the highlights, and you won't know until it's too late if they do.

RE: Many questions re maple table - burl or quilted or..?

Thanks Casey. Any reccommendations for an alternative oil? I have read that the oil coat needs to dry completely, as in for days, not hours. Would I be able then to use a poly topcoat for durability? Any concern about adhesion over the oil coat?

BTW, I have since learned (from some folks over on Decorating) that the table is a Stanley, Capri series. The narrow band is walnut. Perimeter is bird's eye. I may contact them to inquire about the center panels.

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