Problem with Grain on Antique Furniture

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GaryFera
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Problem with Grain on Antique Furniture

Postby GaryFera » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:21 am

I am refinishing a 1930s set of waterfall bedroom furniture. After stripping and fine sanding the first piece (a night stand) I started to top coat directly without applying any stain because the natural beauty and color of the wood are very nice.

But there is something in the grain of the wood that still clearly shows through after top coating with semi gloss polyurethane. I don't know what this is or how to eliminate it. I do not want to proceed further with this bedroom set till I learn more about this issue. Any advice would be appreciated.

Gary
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P#28 - Night Stand (Set B) 13 - Copy.JPG
Picture showing grain issue
P#28 - Night Stand (Set B) 13 - Copy.JPG (74.41 KiB) Viewed 3870 times

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Bob Boardman
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Postby Bob Boardman » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:51 am

This appears to be a surface tension issue - by that I mean the rain/pores of the wood are narrow enough that the "thick" poly molecules won't "drop into" them.

I'd try wiping surface with paint thinner (if an oil base poly), and then thinning the first coat. You can usually get away with a 50 - 50 mix of poly to solvent, but I'd test on back of a leg. If same issue try 3 parts solvent to 2 parts poly.
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Postby GaryFera » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:43 am

Bob, thanks for the quick feedback. I'll try your suggestions.

In preparing the piece, after sanding I always use denatured alcohol to remove the dust. And I am using MinWax Wipe-On Poly which presumably is already thinned quite a bit. Does this information change your suggestion in any way?

Do you think it is just sawdust in the pores that I am seeing and that the poly is not getting to the sawdust? I shudder to think that there is something else in the pores that stripping and sanding did not remove.

Gary

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Bob Boardman
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Postby Bob Boardman » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:52 am

I don't think it's sawdust. Once you apply the poly, since there's no stain on the wood, try rubbing the poly into the wood with a medium plastic bristle brush (like the ones for dishwashng). I'd still also wet the surface with paint thinner first
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Postby GaryFera » Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:45 am

Bob, I implemented your suggestions of wetting with paint thinner and rubbing the poly into the wood with a brush. Things are definitely better. But unfortunately this does not appear to solve the overall problem. I have a 4 piece bedroom set that I am refinishing and restoring and this is just the beginning.

Can you please give me your thoughts on whether or not staining with very light coloured stain will solve the problem by the stain getting down into the wood pores where the "thick" poly molecules could not? Or should I try the srubbing approach again with even more thinned down poly? Or it it possible that lacquer would get down into the grain and solve this problem?

Sorry to ask so many questions but I sure want to get this right up front.

Thanks.

Gary
Attachments
P#28 - Night Stand (Set B) 16.JPG
P#28 - Night Stand (Set B) 16.JPG (93.42 KiB) Viewed 3857 times
P#28 - Night Stand (Set B) 17.JPG
P#28 - Night Stand (Set B) 17.JPG (104.87 KiB) Viewed 3857 times

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Bob Boardman
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Postby Bob Boardman » Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:59 am

I'd try a product called Sealcoat - it's shellac. It stick to everything and vice versa. It's an alcohol based product, and alcohol has very small molecules. I'd make a mix of 1 part Sealcoat to 3 parts denatured alcohol. Wait an hour then apply a coat of the thinned poly you already have.
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Postby GaryFera » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:01 am

Bob, I had some Sealcoat and do use it from time to time to seal inside drawers of antique furniture.

I tried your latest suggestion and it worked well enough to let me move ahead. Thank you for your continuing support.

Gary


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