Refreshing/restoring barrister bookcase

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Azalea82
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Refreshing/restoring barrister bookcase

Postby Azalea82 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:55 am

Hello! I recently purchased a 1940's Hale barrister bookcase and am looking for some input on the best products to clean it up and refresh it. It's painted on the exterior and I'm not interested in stripping the paint at this time. The base has some paint chipping around the legs that I would like to touch up but I want to be cautious about not making that look too new since the rest of the paint is old looking. What would be the best product for cleaning the painted surfaces?

For the inside, I'm wondering if using something like a lemon oil or Feed N Wax would be enough to freshen up the wood or if I should do a more protective finish. There is one water ring and one shelf with some more marks on the wood (unknown cause). I have a little bit of experience with refinishing but not extensive experience so I would prefer something easy to apply. Thank you!

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Bob Boardman
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Re: Refreshing/restoring barrister bookcase

Postby Bob Boardman » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:21 am

Some quick thoughts:
1) recognize that if painted in the 40's or 50's this paint most likely contains lead - so be careful if doing any sanding. Use a facemask, toss rags, etc.

2) Howard's-Restora-Finish is a good cleaner for the inside. Lemon oil & 'Feed & Wax' are more hype than function. Wood doesn't have to be "fed" - in fact the reason a finish is applied is to prevent moisture and oil from getting to the wood. As to Lemon oil, think about how much 'oil' you can get out of one lemon. Now think about how many lemons it would take to make one bottle of lemon oil. If you do the math, a bottle would cost almost $100.

3) For the outside, you can also just wipe down with rag dipped in paint thinner, followed by a rag dipped in a solution of water and a few drops of dishwashing soap

4) It's going to be difficult to get a good match with new paint next to 60 year old paint . It may be easier (and would look better) if a fresh coat of paint was applied to entire surface.
Bob "Boardman" Borders

Azalea82
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Re: Refreshing/restoring barrister bookcase

Postby Azalea82 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:59 am

Thank you - that's helpful. I was thinking the same about the lead paint and am wondering if it might be best to repaint it in that case.

I also started having some issues with the veneer separating after bringing the piece into my house - I'm thinking maybe due to the cold/temperature changes we're having in this area. The back veneer is warping from the top edge of each section and on one section the inner back veneer is warping at the top. Any recommendations for the best way to fix the veneer?

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Bob Boardman
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Re: Refreshing/restoring barrister bookcase

Postby Bob Boardman » Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:33 pm

For back veneer I'd simply buy some 1/4 or 5/16 veneer; remove old veneer and apply the new. You won't have to worry about the value of the piece, as it will probably be worth more with the repair.
Bob "Boardman" Borders


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