Furniture Finishing, Refinishing, & Restoration
Q&A Forum - Repair Advice
GaryFera - Thu May 24, 2012 10:35 am
Post subject: Repair Advice
I am in the process of refinishing an antique dining room table. There are a few reasonably sizeable cracks on the table top and I would appreciate some feedback on how to repair these.
Should I use stainable crack filler, grain filler, coloured putty, or nothing? Any other suggestions would be welcomed. Thank you.
Bob Boardman - Fri May 25, 2012 9:46 am
If you use stainable crack filler, grain filler or just colored putty, you're going to end up with a "straight line" bead of color that will stand out as a repair. The wood shown has a lot of variations in color over the length of the crack in the veneer. A pro would use a combination of different colored shellac burn-in sticks to fill the crack and blend it in with the various color shades.
Assuming you're not experienced with burn-in sticks, the only solution I can come up with is to:
1) clean surface of table so that it can receive a cost of finish
2) wipe down surface of table with rag dipped in naphtha or paint thinner
3) Once wiped down, this will show you what surface will look like with a coat of clear finish. Determine if this is acceptable, or if you need to add stain/dye to certain areas.
4) A) If stain needs to be applied, do it now. Use a stain thats slightly lighter in
color than the surrounding area. When done, see "B" below
B) If no color needs to be added, I'd lightly sand with a 220 grit paper and
vacuum up dust.
5) I'd then apply a diluted coat of dewaxed shellac (a 1.5 to 2 lb coat). If using Sealcoat, mix equal parts Sealcoat to den alcohol. I'd then apply a thinned coat of finish (2 parts finish, 1 part thinner). I'd recoat based upon instructions on container. I'd then wait till 1st 2 coats have dried for at least 24 hours.
Once this is done I'd get a variety of colored wax sticks. I'd apply these based on the surrounding wood color. I'd fill so that the wax is almost, but not quite, even/level with the surrounding area. Once surrounding areas cleaned of excess wax, I'd use an artists brush to apply 2 coats of Sealcoat to the wax in the cracks, allowing it to dry between coats. This should begin to level the waxed areas.
Using an artist's brush I'd then apply a coat of finish to just the waxed areas, and let it dry for 6 hours or so. I'd then light sand entire surface with a 400 grit paper and remove dust. I'd then apply a final coat of finish.
GaryFera - Sat May 26, 2012 9:07 am
Bob, that is an amazing amount of detailed guidance. Thank you. I have no experience (yet) with burn in sticks so I will follow your guidance as well as I can.
I should also have asked about how to fill cracks that exist in the very large legs of this table. Clamping and gluing these cracks shut is not an option based on trying to do this. The wood is so old and so dry that there was no movement whatsoever when I tried gluing the cracks shut. Would wetting the wood help?
I want to be able to fill the cracks so that the repair work is camouflaged as much as possible when I stain the piece.
Bob Boardman - Sat May 26, 2012 6:08 pm
I'd use the same wax sticks. You can usually get a good variety, locally, from an art supply store
GaryFera - Sun May 27, 2012 7:18 am
Bob, thank you again. I will follow your advice and hopefully learn how to do these types of repairs.