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Thread: Mahogany finish help requested

  1. #1
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    Question Mahogany finish help requested

    I'm working on a project in mahogany (no pictures, no description, no nothing. When its done, I'll share)

    I have yet to decide on a finish process. On the left is redish brown dye followed by early american stain, top-coated with a few coats of spray lacquer. To the right is simply a few coats of dewaxed shellac that would be followed by lacquer. You may assume the lacquer will add some amber to the tone of the wood as well as enhance the 'chatoyance" (sp) if I understand that correctly.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The left sample does remind me of much of the mahogany I remember as a kid, but I've moved in most of my finishing choices to a more natural finish preference. There will be ebony plugs to consider as well.

    Anyone have an opinion? Maybe you have another favorite way to finish mahogany?
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  2. #2
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    if your gonna call it mahogany rennie it needs to be the left one in my opinion,, we have been showed threw the years that mahongny is reddish brown and luan of today is the light colored stuff to get the right picture in the customer mind ,,dont try to reteach them..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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  3. #3
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    Rennie, my preference would be neither. I agree it needs to be darker rather than lighter, but I tend to take it toward brown rather than red. To get there on a cabinet (below) I built a few years ago, I started with a light mix of TT Green in 1lb shellac as a sealer. The green trended the redness of the mahogany toward brown. Next, I used TT mission brown in 1lb shellac to add a little color without hiding the grain. I also used the brown mix in a detail gun to add shading. After I was satisfied with the color and shading, I topcoated with NC lacquer.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Bill Arnold; 01-29-2012 at 08:07 AM. Reason: Change TT to mission brown from brown mahogany
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  4. #4
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    I agree with Bill. I find mahogany too red (don't kill me). I lean it toward brown (add blue) for my uses.
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  5. #5
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    hey guys i said reddish brown
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  6. #6
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    OK then. I'll scrounge around and see what I have that will tone down the red and punch up the brown a little.
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  7. #7
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    I prefer the color of the image on the left. The one on the right looks like Philippine Mahogany (Lauan). I like using an alcohol based aniline dye to get that reddish brown appearance.



    .

  8. #8
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    have you ever considered some oil, like tung or one of the commercially available finishing oils like waterlox?\

    its a cruddy picture, but it gives the general color.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails cabinet 181 (Medium).jpg  
    Last edited by allen levine; 01-28-2012 at 02:43 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike marvel View Post
    I prefer the color of the image on the left. The one on the right looks like Philippine Mahogany (Lauan). I like using an alcohol based aniline dye to get that reddish brown appearance.
    Geesh! That's twice today I've agreed with Mike!

    A couple drops of green TransTint in your shellac sealer, then use the brown stain.
    Jim D.
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  10. #10
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    I am but an ant when I look up at the finishing experience shown here. I am paying attention though because I have a grand piano in curly ribbon mahogany that I need to refinish. I have barely begun the stripping process so I will take pictures to document the process. I am going to build a new piano bench of the same material when I find some and practice the finishing on that before attempting the daunting task of staining and lacquering the piano.

    I am leaning toward a more reddish color just because I like it. I saw a similar piano in a shop for sale around $35,000-$40,000 ( I can't remember the exact price)

    I paid a little over $200 for the piano. The finish is very dark and you can't see the beautiful wood figure until you strip the old crazed finish off.
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