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Thread: Help needed on my Machinist Chest Cleanup

  1. #1
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    Help needed on my Machinist Chest Cleanup

    Hello:

    I picked up a machinists chest at an auction last night and want to clean it up.



    In this picture it looks golden but thats due to the flash. In real life its a sticky finish in a muddy brown. The Keno brothers from Antiques Roadshow would kill me for wanting to remove the patina, but I want it to look a little nicer.

    I'm new to refinishing and am looking for any and all advice on the matter.

    I took the upper left drawer out and wiped all the gunk off with windex which didn't make a great improvement.

    So . . .

    My plan is to start on the drawers first. I'm thinking of using DNA and a scuff pad to remove the tacky finish. Then sand lightly with sandpaper and apply a shellac finish.

    Any reason to use a finish remover/stripper as opposed to DNA?

    Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

    Cheers

    Jim Mattheiss

  2. #2
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    Jim,
    Go to the borg/hardware store of your choice and buy a bottle of Murphy's Oil soap. No reason to strip the finish.
    "Thereís a lot of work being done today that doesnít have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesnít have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    Don:

    I'll have to try that. We had some here and must have gotten rid of it as it's not here anymore. . .

    Jim

  4. #4
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    I'll second Don's recommendation for Murphy's Oil Soap. If the existing finish is shellac, DNA will likely cause problems by removing the finish along with the grime.

    That's a great tool chest, by the way.
    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
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    Jim with pieces like that, I use my cleaning solution. fairly simple: 1/3we equal parts , turpintine , denatured alcohol, BLO. Use a very fine steal wool or burlap but something wit a little tooth to it, work an area 2x3". you will feel the top finish losen up which will take the dirt off and remove scratches. do the next area and so on. Finish one direction. Wipe the excess off with a clean rag. About 6-8 hours there will be a film over the piece. Buff this off with a clean rag. It will buff out much like a wax. What I do when I first start a cleaning is work an obscure area of the piece to see how much pressure I need to put on the cleaning pad and how long I need to work an area before the finish lossens.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

  6. #6
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    Hello:

    I spend a while this AM looking for the Murphy's Oil Soap with no luck.

    I decided to go with the "Hawksford Method" for this project.

    I had already cleaned the upper left drawer with DNA Only and did the other few with via the DH Method. Below is an intermediate picture. I like it - it retains the aged look while brightening the color.



    What if anything do I put on as a final sealing coat? Shellac?

    Cheers

    Jim

    PS: I'm not sure why they re-mounted the pulls but I'll need to fill in the holes at some point in this process. The original holes line up and the new holes don't. . .
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_2789 (Medium).jpg  
    Last edited by Jim Mattheiss; 03-12-2011 at 05:44 PM.

  7. #7
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    Jim looks great! The original coat was shellac I presume, You still retained the original finish so I would just wax it.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

  8. #8
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    Looks real good, Jim.

    Question for the machinists out there...what is the piece of granite that slides out of the bottom of the chest used for? A flat reference surface?
    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

  9. #9
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    Just a follow on status update. After looking at the status after the weekend I felt I needed to go back and clean up the drawer fronts further. Another session with a scuff pad and some of the DH mixture the drawer fronts are looking better.



    The grime around the pulls Isn't coming off without a sander but I think it adds character. I removed the ratty felt in the drawer bottoms and will get some good quality wool felt to replace it. LOML is happy as she gets to go come to Joann's Fabric with me while I buy the felt. Apparently Joann's Fabric is the sewing equivalent of a Woodcraft or Rockler.

    I cleaned up the front panel - but it needs more work. It was really grimy.



    There weren't too many tools left in the chest when I got to it. There were 3 - 6" Starrett 303R Rulers and a number of small punches. I cleaned everything up and it's in storage till I get the box completed.

    When I pulled the drawers to replace a missing drawer runner I found an old slip of paper stuck against the back of the box. It was a handwritten Tool Loan chit from 1959. I'm guessing that makes the box from then or before.



    I need to start on the case itself soon. . .

    Thanks for reading

    Jim
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_2801 (Medium).jpg   IMG_2802 (Medium).jpg   IMG_2805 (Medium).jpg  
    Last edited by Jim Mattheiss; 03-17-2011 at 01:03 AM.

  10. #10
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    Very nice Jim, and Dave - thanks for sharing your recipe.

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