Thursday, May 9, 2013

Loss For Words

Anyone who really knows me can attest that I am seldom without something to say.  My apologies if I've ever left you feeling "caught in the tractor beam".  I like to say it a certain way and, damn those writing classes, it takes time for me to get happy with it.  Tonight though, there are 10 things to do in a three thing night.  I don't have hours to put into this post.  What is abundant tonight is pictures.  As much as I can yak, the pictures say it best.  This week, I give the gift of saying less and showing more.  I just posted 91 photos online.  I'll pick some favorites to describe and you are welcome to view the rest at

 photo IMG_3667.jpg This is one of four chairs that I am refinishing.  A final project, if you like.  I must strip at least four dining chairs of any previous coatings down to bare wood and then re-finish them.  These belong to Dan and Jess, who kindly gave me an interesting job rather than a run-of-the-mill request.

 Methylene Chloride bath, anyone? photo IMG_3691.jpg This is phase one.  Toss the chair into the pit of despair.  Actually, it's good ol' "probably carcinogenic" methylene chloride.  Look it up, if you like, but trust me.  It's icky.  It will eat away stuff that was made to not be eaten away.

The rinse down.  Good ol' H2O, doing it's thing. photo IMG_3694.jpg "Ooh.  That's exquisite!  A nice shower is just what I need after that dip into the Berkeley Pit.  What's that?  Let me go!  Put me down this instant!"

Don't like Methylene Chloride?  May a little oxalic acid is more your cup of tea... photo IMG_3695.jpg "Cough.. sputter... cough, cough.  Gurgle.  Oxalic acid. You mother..."

This chemical nightmare left me feeling a bit dazed.  I would hate to be a piece of wood in this situation.  At any rate, the process does what it does, which is break the bond of the film finish and neutralize certain types of staining in the wood.  You gotta clean the furniture up afterward, but it leaves you with a generally clean slate to work with.

  photo IMG_3746.jpg After some controlled drying procedure, the four Norsemen are ready to get dressed up.  However, the final look requires some damage to be inflicted.  For this, I picked up my massive farrier's file and went to town, no holds barred.  I may have scarred them for life...

 photo IMG_3748.jpg The next step is to begin building the color from the inside, out.  That interesting job I was given by Jess and Dan entails matching the chair's finish to an item that they already have in their home.  I imagined my way into reverse engineering that finish.  After a few days of sanding and color formulation, I shot a dye onto the wood to establish an undercoat that would be revealed later.

  photo IMG_3758.jpg The shine, or sheen that is visible on the chairs here is a result of a vinyl sealer application, followed by a topcoat of lacquer.  Here again, I am planning for the future, which will arrive in the form of a custom colored pre-catalyzed nitrocellulose lacquer.

 photo IMG_3761.jpg The first rule of color matching is, Color matching is fun.  The second rule is... oh, don't worry about that. This is after the polychroming of the piece.  I'm not finished yet though.  There are several stops left for this train to make. I mixed up and applied an appropriately colored glaze to achieve a bit of color striking of the pores for more visual texture. A toned topcoat is the next step...

 photo IMG_3771.jpg And it gets us most of the way there.  I will let the final topcoat (applied just a few hours ago) cure for a few days then, it will be all about the rub out...

I hope you enjoyed this.  I'll give you another quickie real soon. 


  1. You got my attention. Can't wait to see the finished project. Dad