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Thread: pine table top thoughts?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Northern New Mexico
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    6

    pine table top thoughts?

    Greetings all,
    I'm prototyping finishes for a collection of reproduction New Mexican furniture, all built from ponderosa pine. I'm not using stains as stains/dyes do not produce believable results with pine... (seasoned pine finishes have been my life's work in recent years) and I'm pleased with the colors I'm getting but my current objective is the dining table top that I'm tweaking at present. My goals are surfaces that resemble aged antique wood yet are durable for table use... not an easy task! In my process I waxed the table and it looks perfect but wax and table tops will never make for lasting relationships. I stripped, scrubbed the top with a potassium hydroxide solution and neutralized it with vinegar, then simply sponge scrubbed it with water to remove the remnant lye... after thorough drying and wiskering with 0000 steel wool I'm ready to seal the surface but this is my dilemma, I don't want an artificial material especially but I also don't want staining and white rings every time a glass sweats or something is spilled. I've read other threads here suggesting gel varnishes and gel urethane, rubbed on and built up as an oil finish. I like the idea but don't want a coated appearance or gloss surface... worn, seasoned pine furniture isn't "fine" and has it's own set of rules, what I need is something that isn't problematic for real world table use. Any ideas or suggestions? I'll attach a picture of the table top to clarify what I'm talking about...
    Thanks,
    Chris
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSC_0469_2.jpg  

  2. #2
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    Hi Chris welcome to the forum.

    There are 2 processes I use to duplicate old pine.

    1. 00 steel wool placed in a jar of Vinegar. After 12 hours take a rag and get some vinegar on it and wipe on a piece of pine, label 12 hours. Repeat this at 24 and 36.
    I've matched up some very old pine in 200 year old row houses in DC over the years using this method.

    2. You can take Boiled Linseed oil wipe on and then set the piece outside in the sun which will amber up the quickly. I would think that doing both steps would give you a rich antique look that your looking for.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    falcon heights, minnesota
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    would that be white or cider vinegar, and would the time be after the steel wool has been in the vinegar for the 12, 24, 36 hrs?
    benedictione omnes bene

    www.burroviejowoodworking.com

    check out my etsy store, buroviejowoodworking

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    No advice beyond what Dave already mentioned, but I wanted to add my welcome to the forum. (And since Dave's a furniture refinisher by trade, I doubt I'd have anythings better to add anyway). I grew up in New Mexico, and lived for several years in Los Alamos and Pojoaque before my parents moved to Albuquerque. I'm pretty familiar with your stomping grounds. Northern NM is one of my favorite places in the country.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Northern New Mexico
    Posts
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    Thanks Dave,
    I haven't tried that method specifically but I do use reagent type coloring agents, something once called aquafortis that is made with nitric acid and containing ferric nitrate. I also use various lye solutions. I'll be interested in seeing how your technique works for coloring pine - thanks for sharing it.

    What I'm posting about/soliciting is more about finding the right sealer or top coat for a kitchen table that is already colored with above mentioned techniques. For much of my furniture I simply wax the pine after color and surface texture is achieved but this isn't an option for dining table. I want it to look "waxed" but be stable where water, wine, spills, etc. are concerned... I have my table top waiting unsealed at present and thought I'd seek opinions before trying something blind. What do you think about the rubbed off urethane finishes mentioned elsewhere on the forum? I'm a purist and haven't used modern materials but a table is a table and mine has to look good all the time or I don't have a realistic product to offer clients. What I don't want is gloss as my pieces are trying to resemble antique surfaces...

    Other examples can be seen on a website, linked from my profile page... images are large so a good broadband connection is required, some later versions of Firefox browsers have issues with it too (and all Apple iWeb designed website galleries!)
    Thanks
    Chris

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Northern New Mexico
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    Hi Vaughn,
    Thanks for the welcome, I work out of Taos and essentially am making copies along with a friend and colleague of great museum pieces to make the aesthetic available to a larger market... antique NM furniture is both scarce and extremely expensive when it does turn up... who can afford a $25K table in this economy?!? or a $75K carved colonial chest? I'm not sure anyone can afford my stuff these days either but I'm not competing with the Wal-Mart crowd either.

    Thanks and glad to be aboard!
    Chris

    PS: that sunset looks familiar

  7. #7
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    Chris I know of the technic you speak of but I prefer the simple approach that will achieve the same results.
    As far as a top coat with a waxy look this is what I would do. Brush on very thin coats of Minwax tung oil, brush it out evenly, 4-5 coats should do the trick. a little super fine sanding in between if necessary. After your 4-5 coat mix up a paste of comet and paint thinner, apply the past with a vibrator sander using the {White} synthetic steel wool pad to even out the finish. After you have buffed the finish take Liberon 0000 and { I like Pate Dugay} wax and buff on the wax. Then buff with a good cloth.

    Dan that would be white vinegar, sorry I did make myself clear.

    And yes after the steel wool has been in the vinegar. You can toss the steel wool.

  8. #8
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    falcon heights, minnesota
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    thanks dave! i think i'll give it a try this weekend.
    benedictione omnes bene

    www.burroviejowoodworking.com

    check out my etsy store, buroviejowoodworking

  9. #9
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    Just don't try it on cherry, for anyone who wants to do an Ebony finish, take a solution of 24 hours or more of this and wipe on cherry. Cherry will give you a beautiful deep Reddish Black finish.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    falcon heights, minnesota
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    one other question, how long before the vinegar smell goes away?
    benedictione omnes bene

    www.burroviejowoodworking.com

    check out my etsy store, buroviejowoodworking

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