03-30-2012 09:31 PM
I'm looking for help repairing the finish on my great grandmothers Lane cedar chest. It was made in 1943 and is the waterfall design I think. I emailed the Lane company and they said lost their records in a flood and couldn't tell me anything about it. I don't want to refinish the whole chest as most of it is still on good shape and just needs a good polishing but the top has some scratches that actually reach the veneer and a significant water mark from what appears to be a plant pot.
I guess What I need to know is what kind of finish is on it so I know how to go about the repair. I am afraid to do too much sanding since it is veneered and if possible would like to just repair the small areas. I've never attempted a repair like this before and don't want to ruin it my using the wrong finish. It also has a nice mellow golden color to it that I think is probably from age and would hate to refinish the whole top and not have it match the bottom.
I would really appreciate any ideas anyone has.
03-31-2012 02:36 AM
…to the WOOD Magazine Forums, particularly to the Finishing & Refinishing Forum. I hope you will visit often. You will find a number of accomplished woodworkers and finishers here who stand ready to assist you with your finishing and refinishing questions.
In all probability (to the point of near certainty) the finish on your chest is shellac. If so, you don’t need to refinish; all you need to do is restore. Here is a link to an earlier thread that you may find helpful.
I would also urge you to lose the sandpaper, at least as your first, second or third option. When an old finish does need to be removed (which is not necessary or desirable in this case) a chemical stripper, not sandpaper, should be sued. Sanding destroys patina and diminishes detail. If the finish is shellac a bit of padding to soften and restore the finish is all that will be needed…
03-31-2012 04:08 AM
Thanks Steve! Your article was exactly what I was looking for. I haven't used shellac for around 18 years since I was in high school and then it was just a quick lesson in how to dissolve and apply it. I think I better get a scrap board and practice a little before I try the repair. Which of course won't happen until I test the original.
Another quick question, the area that looks like a water ring is a little grey in color, should I treat this prior to correcting the blemish or do you think it will even out? Could I use a little bleach water to take away the grey?
03-31-2012 06:45 AM
As an aside, Lane has a recall on the lock mechanisms made from 1912 to 1987 The old ones will lock when closed, and the new ones require locking externally. This makes it impossible for a child to lock himself in the chest. Lane will send you a free replacement lock and they are fairly easy to install.
03-31-2012 07:11 PM
Thanks Kmealy! I have checked the lock and it has either been replaced or dismantled. It appears to only be there for decoration now. It doesn't latch at all so it should be good to go. Maybe after the repairs I may see about replacing it just to have a key to go with it.