Dressers ruin clothing - finish to blame?

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Sidecar Bob
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Dressers ruin clothing - finish to blame?

Postby Sidecar Bob » Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:51 pm

We inherited a set of "Mennonite" bedroom furniture that was made & sold in Ontario about 22 years ago. It is nice furniture, made with decent materials (no particleboard) and looks almost like new but if we put our underwear or socks in the dressers the elastic deteriorates in a matter of weeks.

I am wondering if it is something in the finish or the glue used to assemble it that is ruining our clothes. If so is there anything I can do to stop it from happening? Maybe apply some kind of finish to the insides of the dressers & the drawers?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions. We would like to keep this furniture but not if we can't put our clothes away in the dressers.

BTW: I have found out that, while Mennonites may make the actual furniture, it is generally sent elsewhere for finishing (I think perhaps they won't work with the materials used?).

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Re: Dressers ruin clothing - finish to blame?

Postby AsonnyA » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:38 pm

If the finish on the pieces feels dry, then go to your local box store and get some spray/aerosol/rattle cans of shellac and spray two coats inside the drawers. The shellac should seal any abnormal finish that is there.

Sonny

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Re: Dressers ruin clothing - finish to blame?

Postby Sidecar Bob » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:54 pm

Thanks for replying so quickly & sorry it took me so long to realize you had. I think I have my notification settings set correctly now. Maybe.

Shellac, eh? Do you think a Urethane based stain would work as well or would the shellac work better? I have both...

Also, any reason to spray instead of using brush & roller?

I should mention that I am fairly good with finishes (once I know what to use). My Dad was a cabinet maker so I grew up around wood stains & stuff like that (although it has probably all changed since then) and more recently I have acquired a gun and painted a couple of motorcycles (acrylic enamel on one, urethane based enamel on the other).

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Re: Dressers ruin clothing - finish to blame?

Postby AsonnyA » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:29 pm

Since there was a concern about what material is causing the effect to the clothes, the shellac might be a better choice, rather than a urethane based stain. Shellac is compatible with 'most all finishes and may be best suitable for top coating the drawers. You can test apply the urethane to see if it's compatible with whatever is on the drawers. Also, you can first apply the shellac, then apply the urethane over the shellac.

Spraying is the easiest way to apply to inside of drawers, for DIYers. Not all posters, here, have the experience and/or resources you have. I commented assuming you didn't have spray equipment and/or another top-coating (urethane) option, etc.

If you can feel the stickiness, then I'd do a wipe-down with lacquer thinner, to see if the thinner would clean off whatever is causing the problem.

It surely seems strange that the wood or finish would (still?) be gassing-off, if this is what is happening, to cause elastic to deteriorate, that way. If it's the finish (whatever kind it is), I'd hope the lacquer thinner would clean it off, before any refinishing. I would initially hesitate to use a solvent, like toluene, as a cleaner, if you go that cleaning route.

Sonny

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Re: Dressers ruin clothing - finish to blame?

Postby AsonnyA » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:33 pm

....Or it might be your stash of moonshine, that's gassing off, you have hidden in the drawer.

Sonny

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Re: Dressers ruin clothing - finish to blame?

Postby Sidecar Bob » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:48 am

AsonnyA wrote:....Or it might be your stash of moonshine, that's gassing off, you have hidden in the drawer.

Can't be that because I keep it in the basement and at the other end of the house :roll:

Now that I think about it maybe it is something in the wood itself. The wood in the drawers & the interiors of the dressers around the drawers doesn't have a visible finish on it and it doesn't have a noticeable smell (if it does have anything it must be clear & matte) but in addition to the elastic deteriorating, clothes left in the drawers for more than a few weeks develop a peculiar faint smell. Because of this we have taken to keeping the clothes we wear regularly in laundry baskets outside the dressers and those we use less frequently in bags & boxes in the drawers.

Spraying to get into all the corners &c makes sense. And I didn't realize that shellac would be compatible with finishes that the urethane stain might not (the only reason I asked about the Urethane stain is because I have an unopened gallon of it). But that's why I asked first instead of just trying it and making a mess.

I'll have to test the urethane and if it isn't compatible I can get more shellac. But I don't want to spray in the house so we'll have to live with things as they are while I get a couple of other projects (like replacing the engine in one of my motorcycles) out of the garage first :D

Thanks.

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Re: Dressers ruin clothing - finish to blame?

Postby Bob Boardman » Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:30 am

Bob
I'd follow Sonny's advice. You can take the drawers out side and spray them there. Shellac is alcohol based and will dry in less than 5 minutes, so this is a quick project - under a half hour. Then you can work on the engine!
Bob "Boardman" Borders

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Re: Dressers ruin clothing - finish to blame?

Postby Sidecar Bob » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:01 am

But stuff stored in the cabinet part of the dressers does the same thing so I would need to spray the whole cabinet, not just the drawers.

Besides, I think I'll like the colour better if I add a coat of the walnut urethane stain over the current reddish colour :D But that may be moot if it isn't compatible (I'll try a small area on the bottom of one of the shelves and another on the back of a drawer).

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Re: Dressers ruin clothing - finish to blame?

Postby AsonnyA » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:03 am

Spray shellac over everything you want coated, then spray toned (walnut) lacquer.

Sonny


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