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Thread: Refinishing Antique Treadle Machine Cabinet

  1. #1
    Super Member Pinkiris's Avatar
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    Now that we've finally gotten some cooler weather in Wisconsin, I've started trying to refinish my treadle machine cabinet. It has a lot of what I call "alligatoring" on it.

    I used the mixture of equal parts of boiled linseed oil, vinegar and turpentine on 0000 steel wool that I read about on this site. That did a good job of cleaning, but didn't budge the finish. The cabinet is wood veneer, as most of the older ones were. I don't want to loosen, that if at all possible.

    Anyone have suggestions for me?

    p.s. I sent a PM to Billy, but he's not answering. My understanding is that he's dealing with illness right now.

  2. #2
    Super Member Nanamoms's Avatar
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    Glenn is our expert furniture refinisher. Go to the VSMS topic and you should be able to find his posts. Can't think of his user name right now.

  3. #3
    Super Member frauhahn's Avatar
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    Formby's make a great refinisher that will remove the finish safely.

  4. #4
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    I'd use Formby's also. It will take off the finish, but not hurt the veneer or veneer glue. Many of the strippers will loosen the glue. If I remember right you use Formby's by dipping steel wool in the liquid and rub on the finish to loosen it, then clean the loosened finish off with clean steel wool. It does not sit on the wood so doesn't damage it.

  5. #5
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Glenn's username is just that - Glenn. He's been traveling but he does has a tutorial available here. http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-97670-1.htm

    I'm going to try Charlee's recommmendation of Howards's Restore A Finish and Feed-n-Wax on mine. Glen isn't fond of this combo because it darkens the wood, but it's what I have here. It did a nice job on a 1930's dressing table, but my 1904 machine's cabinet may need more than this. I know my 1924 cabinet will clean up well, but it's in much better condition.

  6. #6
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishrose
    Glenn's username is just that - Glenn. He's been traveling but he does has a tutorial available here. http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-97670-1.htm

    I'm going to try Charlee's recommmendation of Howards's Restore A Finish and Feed-n-Wax on mine. Glen isn't fond of this combo because it darkens the wood, but it's what I have here. It did a nice job on a 1930's dressing table, but my 1904 machine's cabinet may need more than this. I know my 1924 cabinet will clean up well, but it's in much better condition.
    Glenn and I agree to disagree! ;) Howard's Restor-a-Finish, IF you get the right color, will only "refresh" the exisiting finish and color scratches so they don't show much. It does soften the shellac/varnish as you work with it, so you don't want to let a puddle of it sit, not do you want to leave it wet. Glenn is more of a professional woodworker, and as such has the skills needed to refinish cabinets the "proper" way. When "good enough" will do AND when there's not a massive amount of the original finish gone, Howard's is the best! :)

  7. #7
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Charlee, we do agree on one thing here refinishing is the last resort and should be avoided if not needed. LOL I am all for anything that prevents one from stipping the original finish unless it is completely gone as in a lot of cases with old sewing machine cabinets. Most people can strip but don not know how to apply the new shellac finish.

    Charlee looking good in your avatar!
    Glenn

  8. #8
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Thank you Kind Sir! :) We took that at the beach last month. It was a bit windy!

    I know what you mean about shellac!! That stuff is a...well...let's just say it's not easy to work with! I'm going to have to use it on this Davis, but I'm NOT happy about it!

  9. #9
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlee
    Thank you Kind Sir! :) We took that at the beach last month. It was a bit windy!

    I know what you mean about shellac!! That stuff is a...well...let's just say it's not easy to work with! I'm going to have to use it on this Davis, but I'm NOT happy about it!
    Pm me if you need to I can show you a trick or two to make it easier to apply
    Glenn

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