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Thread: Finish Deterioration

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Maplewood, NJ
    Posts
    78

    Finish Deterioration

    Can somebody help me with a finish mystery?

    We've got a Morris chair that we bought from E.J. Audi-Stickley around fifteen years ago. It's identical to the one in the attached photo.

    We keep it in an addition off the back of our house, an octagon-shaped room that's mostly windows on five sides. The windows are open all summer long.

    A few years after we got the chair, the finish on the top of arms towards the front became, for lack of a better term, "gummy." By gummy, I mean it softened and started to lift. You could easily scrape it off with a fingernail.

    That didn't seem right to me, considering that we'd paid something like $1700 for the chair, so I contacted the Stickely people, and they couldn't have been nicer. They arranged to have the chair picked up and shipped to their factory in upstate New York, where they did a great repair job and I only had to pay a nominal sum for the shipping. I think the chair was gone four or five weeks.

    That was about four or five years ago. Now the same thing is happening all over again. I suppose I could call Stickley again, but it seems kind of silly. Thought they do a great job, there's no point in paying for the shipping and doing without the chair for a month if it's not going to last.

    I should point out that the part you can scrape off with your nail is pretty thick and has the consistency of dried wax and the surface below it still retains the color and patina of a finished chair. In other words, I'm not looking at raw wood.

    The Stickley people are somewhat tight-lipped about what their finishing process is, so I can't tell you what they use.

    Anyway... does anybody have any idea what's happening and how to remedy it?

    Thanks!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails f_89-0369_MorrisCH06_o_s_.jpg  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Long Hill Township, NJ
    Posts
    467
    Brian:

    I have no idea what they are using as a finish, but it the tops of the arms are "gummy" it could be that oil/grease transferred from regular use is dissolving the finish. It the entire arm "gummy" or just at wear points?

    Jim

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Maplewood, NJ
    Posts
    78
    Just the wear points. Anyplace that doesn't make contact with bare flesh is just fine.

    So I'm a greasy guy (It's my chair). What do I do about it?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Santa Claus, In
    Posts
    4,779
    I have some Tell City Chair furniture that does that. I took oil soap and wiped the gummy stuff off. It left a lighter spot, but it looks well used.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Orange Park Florida
    Posts
    37
    I think I'd still get back to the company & tell them what's happening again & explain that you really don't want to pay shipping & be without the chair. If it were me, I'd then politely ask if they would do the repair totally on their nickel including the shipping, because it's a flaw in their finish. (unless your family uses some odd skin care products...and I don't mean that in jest...is there any unique product that's coming in contact with the chair?)

    If they won't, I'd ask if they would either send you some of their finishing product, or at least tell you what will be compatible if you re-finish the chair. You've got nothing to lose.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Maplewood, NJ
    Posts
    78
    At this point, I don't think I'd want to refinish the arms with the same process that Stickley uses. Though I don't doubt that contact with my skin is half the problem, the other half is their finish.

    And that presents another issue.

    I'm sure a coat of urethane would prove to be immune to my skin oils, but I'm not about to do that to this beautiful chair. Unfortunately, over the years, my purported concern for this beautiful chair hasn't motivated me to do anything preventive... like putting an occasional coat of wax between me and the finish. So I can't blame Stickley for that.

    I'm wondering now if there isn't some gentle way to remove the part that's gone soft and just put some paste wax over that area.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,472
    try some murphys oil soap and then give it a good wax job. have taken some gummy stuff off old gun stocks that way. and they came out fine afterwards. its probably the same thing steve southwood is speaking of..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Santa Claus, In
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    4,779
    Yep, that's it. good stuff.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Maplewood, NJ
    Posts
    78
    I'll give it a try!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Outside the beltway
    Posts
    5,255
    Brian, I've talked with Stickily Teck support a few times over the years. If someone has a problem with Stickily in the DC area and calls them they refer them to me.
    Stickily uses Nitro finish on there furniture.
    1st you will need to remove the finish on the arms. It sounds like mostly hand oils have gotten into the finish. Tape everything off except the arms and use acetone to remove the finish. Then a light sand with 320.
    You can order and easy system to finish the arms from MoHawk finishes.
    1. sealer in Jet spray
    2. color toner desired in Jet spray
    3. Then I would seal the toner
    4. satin finish in Jet spray
    5. wax over after 36 hours.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

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