Need Advice - Touching Up Dining Chairs

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Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:51 pm

Need Advice - Touching Up Dining Chairs

Post by phxdsgnr »

I have 6 mid century modern style dining chairs I'd like to touch up (just want to clean up their appearance and have consistant coloring). I am not an experienced finisher and would appreciate any advise.

Here's the background information.
The chairs (especially the upper backs) appeared to be dirty. I tried washing one of them with Murphys oil soap and suprisingly lost some of the finish, down to the bare wood in spots. Before getting in too deep, I took them to a mid century modern furniture dealer to confirm their value (or lack of) and see if they had any suggestions or could provide any information. They were very inexpensive when I purchased them and confirmed to be nothing of significance. With this knowledge, I decided to move forward to see if I can get a better looking set without risking or damaging anything of value.

The curved backs appear to be Walnut and in need of the most attention. The finish has dark spots, incosistant coloring and a bit of tacky feel. Since the washing left some bare spots, we tested with a little teak oil and it appears to match the original color. It was suggested to sand down the curved backs only, and put on a consistant layer of teak oil and spot touch the body of the chair which appears to be oak, stained to match the walnut.

I have done this on one chair but think there are a few more steps needed to achieve my desired results.

1. The teak oil on the curved back looks great. However, the luster is more dull than the chair body so I assume it has some sort of clear finsih. I'd like the backs to match the body.

2. I swabbed a spot on the chair body with denatured alcohol and believe it to be shellac.

3. I will have a few spots to touch up on the body of the chair for which I plan to use a colored stain and then a clear finish to match the rest.

My biggest uncertaintly is this, is shellac the right finish coat for the curved back (over the teak oil and can it be put over the teak oil) and as touch up on the chair bodies. I have some reservations working with shellac since it will be a new adventure for me. I am a bit of a perfectionist and know you have to work quickly and swiftly. Would there be any other clear coat more appropriate to my experience level that would achieve my desired results?

Any suggestions are much appreciated.
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