Help in restoring natural Zitan finish on a Chinese throne chair

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Help in restoring natural Zitan finish on a Chinese throne chair

Postby restoration-noob » Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:35 pm

So I went to a store today and bought a nice antique (supposedly) Zitan chair.

​Zitan is a wood used in Chinese furniture. It is an oily wood that has red and purple undertones, but darkens over time as it secretes oil that oxidizes into a black finish.

​I noticed a red mark in one spot and asked the store owner about it. He said "no problem" and took out a box cutter and started scraping. I started to cringe and after that didnt work he brought out some 60 grit sandpaper (more cringing from me) and proceeded to remove some of the nice natural finish revealing the raw wood underneath and creating a slight depression that can be felt but not seen. He then proceeded to rub black ink on the spot to blend it in.

​Well obviously this looks like crap as the wood is not perfectly black but a really dark brown with purple undertone. When I got home I washed the whole chair with soap and water and most of the ink came out.

​Here is the spot in question: https://imgur.com/a/Gsi6Cn3

My question is what is the best way to mimick the finish? Stain the wood? The problem is the sanded area is blended. In other words the middle part of the circle is completely raw and the other part has a thin layer. If I use a stain Im worried the middle will pick up the stain and the outside probably won't.

Acrylic? Could I thin the acrylic so that the edges blend into the rest of the wood.

Another thing I noticed is one long missing chunk in the carving. What would the best way for this be? Is there any material I can shape by hand which will then harden after time and I can sand and paint?



Thanks
Chris

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Re: Help in restoring natural Zitan finish on a Chinese throne chair

Postby Bob Boardman » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:54 pm

I know this sounds like a tongue twister, but go to an art supply store and get Dick Blick's Black ink. It's a true black that will blend well based upon the photo
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Re: Help in restoring natural Zitan finish on a Chinese throne chair

Postby restoration-noob » Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:47 pm

Actually that's what the guy at the store did. HE used Chinese black ink (the type you use for calligraphy)

However the chair isn't black it's a very dark brown with hints of other colors.

Also the ink washes away with water

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Re: Help in restoring natural Zitan finish on a Chinese throne chair

Postby Bob Boardman » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:04 pm

I wish I could, but I can't do a color match from a photo.

Dick Blick's India ink doesn't wash off - it's got a dye in it. After applied, you get a can of spray lacquer and put that on top
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Re: Help in restoring natural Zitan finish on a Chinese throne chair

Postby restoration-noob » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:47 pm

Thanks for your assistance.

I will do the color match but how do I feather the color? The wood has a finish on it.

Speaking of finish, any recommendations for a matte finish to mimic traditional Chinese matte lacquer?

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Re: Help in restoring natural Zitan finish on a Chinese throne chair

Postby AsonnyA » Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:50 am

> Speaking of finish, any recommendations for a matte finish to mimic traditional Chinese matte lacquer?[/quote]

Gloss, semi-gloss or flat: Flat is another name for matte. Rub the finish with brown paper bag, to dull a gloss or semi-gloss finish. Sometimes a ScotchBrite pad is used for burnishing a finish. Saw dust can be used. Burlap can be used to burnish/rub out a finish. Denim fabric (it's kinna rough) can be used.

Burnish usually means polish or make something shiny. Burnishing a finish is to affect its shine to what you want it to be. In this case, to make the shine a dull or more dull appearance.

*Roy underhill, of The Wood Wright show, will burnish raw wood using saw dust. For olde timey woodworking, burnishing with saw dust is a way of sanding smooth, without sand paper.

Often times, I spot finish furniture, before reupholstering. There's usually always some nicks, scratches and dents on used furniture. A new spot finish is shinier than the old finish. I burnish the areas of newly applied finish, to match the old/original finish. It's easy to regulate the degree of burnishing. If need be, test your burnishing technique on an inconspicuous area, first.

Sonny


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