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Thread: Help--Guidance on Refinishing a BIG Mahogany Table?

  1. #1
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    Question Help--Guidance on Refinishing a BIG Mahogany Table?

    TABLE DESCRIPTION:
    I have a big boat shaped table (16' x 8') that needs some work. It come apart in four parts 8' x 4' each.
    It appears to be slip matched quarter sliced Mahogany veneer (thick) with a straight grain running lengthwise to the table. The veneer is very well matched, it is hard to see where the joints are.
    It sits on 6 (very un-noticeable) veneered hollow column bases on 100lb black colored iron bases that are nice to sit near, because they do not interfere with your feet. It is as stable as a rock!

    TABLE PROBLEMS:
    (ISSUE 1) The lacquer finish has some issues (water whitening, big and little scratches, ) so I intend to strip it. Stain it DARKER, grain fill it, re-lacquer it with a spray gun.

    (ISSUE 2)
    There is also a problem with the MDF slightly swelling under the veneer along the edges, but I believe I can solve that with drilling out a kerf under the swollen part and press/clamping it level with epoxy in the kerf. The MDF is 1.25" thick so there is some room to work things out.


    (ISSUE 3)
    There are also six (5") holes bored through the top where computer connections used to be, before wireless became common. Two of the holes are right where the table fits together lengthwise.


    (ISSUE 4)
    The edge is made up of milled pieces of Mahogany coated with a color that is closely match to the table surface color with pigmented paint with clear over it. There are a lot of chips on the edge, none go into the wood, but depending upon the season the vertical joints where the milled parts come together open about 1/32", just enough to crack the lacquer covering. One joint opens about 1/16" and is very unsightly. (I am not sure how to solve the joint opening) The milled parts are on the boat shaped parts and are not steam bent but rather cut out of boards. Meaning the grain is not lengthwise, but rather cut into a board at a slight angle. (I would rather just solve the joints opening up problem than re-do the edge with steam bent boards.)

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    Here is the big table with some notes.


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    This shows where the bored holes are.


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    I am not stuck on black diamonds, maybe someone has some other ideas? (I am not wanting to sit and make a detailed marquetry design of animals or do hot sand shading. Hence the gloss black lacquer diamonds.. Simple, non-ugly patch for the bored holes.

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    Probably darker than this.
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    Here is a similar table that is darker. I would like to emulate this table color and finish. Deep dark rich brown with a high gloss finish.

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    Current edge showing milled edge with veneer top sitting above it. Also you can see the thickness of the lacquer.
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    This is the black edge finish color I am looking to emulate, but with a darker, richer brown center.

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    I have not even considered stripping the chairs wood yet because the finish is perfect. I'm going to wait to see how it blends with the table. (the high quality green leather will stay the same color.) Maybe I will gild the arms and blacken the bases, but I'm not sure how this will hold up to use. Plus it might not look right with the table finish. (Yes these chairs are as comfortable as they look.)

    It is my table, and I want to do a first class refinishing job on it. I have refinished only one table in the past using brushable urethane and it came out nice, but not the sharp deep gloss lacquer look I want to on this table.
    I have painted a car with lacquer before and it came out nice, but that was a long time ago with an old bottom feed gun. I'd rather do this one with a top feed HVLP to save on the lacquer.

    So here is my plan:
    I am doing this in my garage without a fancy spray booth and without fancy ventilation equipment.
    I have nice 3M a dual cartridge face mask, and a 30 gallon compressor. I will need to pick up an HVLP gun/ water oil separator. I am considering just using a HF cheapy and doing whatever extra sanding is needed do if it has a rough laydown of the lacquer.

    1. Fix the slight swelling problem in the MDF. It is small but noticeable because it is where the table parts fit together.

    2. Fill the 5" bored holes (2 repairs will be half moons because the bore is where the table fits together.) with 2 layers of ĺ MDF to reach the top of the existing veneer. Put an additional layer of ľ MDF on the bottom of the patch bigger than the hole to prevent downward pressure from blowing the patch out. I am thinking screw and glue. QUESTION 1: Is yellow woodworkers glue ok for this on MDF, and what should I use to fill the slight crevice that will certainly be between the table and the hole plug? Will Behlen Wood-Fil work to fill the crevices. Even turning the plugs on a lathe will not match the existing hole 100% all the way around. Close, but I donít want to mallet the plugs in for fear of damaging the existing MDF under the veneer.

    3. Strip the table. QUESTION 2: What is a good Stripper to use that cleans with lacquer thinner vs. water?

    4. Route and hand carve out the diamond shapes for the marquetry diamonds. Using a steady hand and a good strong cup of coffee.
    QUESTION 3: Can I make an edging frame for the diamonds out of 1/8" metal that is gold plated set and glues flush with the veneer and just spray the lacquer over it with no problems?
    QUESTION 4: Can I gold leaf the diamonds and cover them with lacquer with no problems? (6"x10" Diamonds)
    QUESTION 5: If I black lacquer paint the diamonds to match the table rails the paint will sit up above the surrounding surface vs. being flush to the tabletop. What is a good method to get the painted diamond flush with the top before clear lacquering?
    QUESTION 6: What is a good wood to choose for the diamonds if I want to paint them or gild them.

    AFTER STRIPPING:
    1. Dewax the stripped tabletop with mineral spirits.
    2. Wipe down with ML Campbell Lacquer Thinner
    3. HVLP Spray Dewaxed - PLATINA-- Platinum Blonde Shellac flakes thinned with BEHLEN BEHKOL + retarder using a .013 tip on the HVLP gun.
    4. Let the shellac dry out for a couple of weeks.
    5. Rag on 2 coats ML Campbell lacquer sealer
    6. Sand with 320 grit
    7. Rag on 2 more coats lacquer sealer
    8. Re-sand with 320
    9. Use wood grain filler to get the wood dead flat. I am thinking black grain filler?
    QUESTION 7: What's a good grain filer for dead flating Mahogany, and a good coloring agent/procedure. Behlen Paste Wood Filler (oil-base), cut with Behlen Pore-O-Pac, and colored with Behlen Furniture Powders?
    10. Plastic scraper and razor blade off the grain filler to level it with the mahogany.
    QUESTION 8: Should I wait a few days and re-grain fill to catch any lowered spots from the filler drying out.
    11. Behlin Water Stain it
    QUESTION 9: What's a good stain formula to achieve a dark rich brown (almost black) color in the mahogany?
    12. Behlin spray can lacquer primer on the edge and diamond marqutrey.
    13. Behlin spray can gloss Jet black lacquer on the edge and diamond marqutrey.
    Question 10: Or should I load this into the HVLP and spray it for more durability, or some other reason?
    14. Rag on 3 coats ML Campbell lacquer sealer
    QUESTION 11: Or is it better to use 3 coats of dewaxed shellac to seal it here?
    15. Sand with 320 grit
    16. Using 6 gallons apply 3 coats ML Campbell - MagNaMax Pre Cat Lacquer via HLVP. (recommended film build at this amount--it's a BIG table.)
    17. Sand between coats using 320
    18. Then wet sanded from 600 through 2000 with lubricant.
    19. Three coats of Pate Dugay wax
    QUESTION 12: How much does this brand of wax color the finish if it not the neutral color wax?

    QUESTION 13: Did I miss any steps in my refinishing schedule, or is anything in the wrong order?


    This Table is as big as a Riverboat Casino!--LOL
    and if you beleive in Good Karma, this table has loads of it!















    It's kind of fun to do the impossible

  2. #2
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    ...........
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

  3. #3
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    Hi Dave,

    Ah, Morris code, reminds me of that old movie "The Longest Day"--lol
    It's kind of fun to do the impossible

  4. #4
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    I've done a lot of these large conference table , largest being the Sec. at the DOE , much of the same problems. Hand strip , clean stripper with lacquer thinner so not to remove the grain filler , but you may remove a little bit so if you re-apply filler do the entire table. I like Dark Walnut filler it give a great tone to natural tables once a light color tone is applied , Glazing usually the best for these.
    MDF if you do cut out the swell use minwax wood hardner before applying any filler. Bondo works great.

    BTW if you start with one product line stick with that line so not to get cross contamination. A table that big , it would be a BUMMER to screw it up at the finish.
    Last edited by Dave Hawksford; 03-10-2014 at 02:12 PM.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the advice Dave,

    Thanks for the tip.

    What stripper would you recomend? What about something like Citristrip?

    Do you think the Citristrip would loosen the veneer.

    I'm just doing this in my garage.
    It's kind of fun to do the impossible

  6. #6
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    When I finish the table I'm going to have to whittle up some fancy pot passers too

    It's kind of fun to do the impossible

  7. #7
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    Look up Benco stripper. Get a 5 gal bucket. Get a old brissel hair 4" paint brush. It's liquid so brush it on , do not brush over what you laid down for at least 10 minutes let it work then brush another load on. Take a 6" broad knife and push off the old when it's worked it's way through tje finish. To clean use acetone or lacquer thinner. I prefer acetone.
    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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    Btw. Citrus stripper sucks ! What ever you do , do not use water for any part of cleaning.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

  9. #9
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    Thanks Dave,

    I went over to Benco's website. They have some good saftey info over there too. All well laid out and easy to find.

    If anyone wants to look into the saftey aspects of using stripper this website should be on your punch list.

    It's kind of fun to do the impossible

  10. #10
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    Ya Benny is a great guy, I've been dealing with him 20 yeas and if he doesn't have what you need he will find it.
    His shipping rates are not to bad.
    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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