Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, Noel, Charley, CHJ

By JimB
A bit late to comment but I've found potassium bi-chromate works like magic on new mahogany. However, you have to remember that the final colour is also dependent on the finish used so, as usual, try test pieces first.
By Jacob
The original would not have been stained. Why would they? - it's a camera not an ornamental piece.
In any case it would carry on changing colour with age, and according to how much exposed to light.
It's a utilitarian object - I'd suggest a utilitarian finish; raw linseed oil. Very easy to apply - has to be brushed out thin with no pools. Rubbed up to a polish after a week or so.
It was very widely used but gone out of fashion. Very easy to use - too easy for our modern fusspots! Produces a very nice semi gloss hard wearing finish. Subsequent light applications will polish up to a very attractive sheen - non of that thick gloss look you get with varnishes

Here it is on sapele (I think). Was fairly light at first now darker and similar to your original item. "Rich Mahogany" in fact. It's a moving target, it depends a lot on how much exposure to UV - which could lead to the impression that the outside has been stained, as it will be darker than covered surfaces.

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By mrpercysnodgrass
Hi Karen.
Looking at the photo of the original camera I would say it is Brazilian Mahogany. I can see whiteish flecks in the grain which would indicate the grain has been filled with plaster of paris, a method used from about 1880 through to the 1930's.
You have been given lots of advise on using chemical stains, personally I would avoid them, I have always found them to be unreliable with a tendency to streak and as one person said to turn silvery grey.
One difficulty you have as far as finishing goes, is your piece is very fiddly, even for a professional like me.
So my advise is....
Fill the grain with W.S.Jenkins & co Nitrofiller No 4 repro mahogany. This grain filler will not only add a good base colour to your mahogany it will stop it reflecting the light which is why you are probably having trouble getting a colour match.
Once the grain filler has dried you will need to add a base coat, usually shellac sanding sealer but can also be a thinned down version of what you choose as a finish. When applying this you will be able to see what colour you have and how much if any you need to adjust. Lightly sand down the sealer and if you need to adjust the colour I would suggest a water based colour as this will give you time to even up the stain on all those small cross sections of wood and mouldings to stop any streaking.
Once you are satisfied with the colour you will need to add a finish. Again, because it is such a fiddly piece I would go with either an oil finish or a spray. Someone mentioned a nitrocellulose spray, although this is not an authentic finish, it will give you a good finish especially if you use a matt then wire wool and wax when dry. You can also get shellac in a spray can although I have never used it.