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Best way to refinish an old stripped pine chest of drawers ?

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flynnboy

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Hi, around 2000 I rescued an old pine chest of drawers from a bonfire...... it was painted white but as it looked quite nice and old me and my stepson took the car and rescued it. I had it factory stripped and still have it in the state it was returned to us after having been stripped i.e. pretty much white in colour. After all of this time I would like to refinish it and give it a richer look, but I am not sure whether I should use wax, oil or rubbed down varnish for the best authentic kind of finish...... any ideas ?

I would be grateful for any input, and thanks.
 

AndyT

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If it's Victorian and you want it to have an authentic finish, you probably ought to paint it brown. :)

That's probably not what you want though. If you just want it to look less raw and don't need a heavy duty finish, the simplest and cheapest answer is probably boiled linseed oil. Wipe on, wipe off, wait a day, repeat until it looks how you want it.
For a tougher, quicker but much dearer option, Osmo Poly-x is good stuff.

But any sort of varnish would do too.
 

ED65

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Your options are wide open on this. As a chest of drawers the top presumably doesn't need the same kind of protection as a coffee table or kitchen table would ideally have? If so you can use anything really.

Just wax, or wax over a light coat of shellac (better), are very traditional ways of dealing with stripped pine stuff and they do provide enough protection really for stuff that mainly needs to resist dust and nothing else. Varnish, applied either as normal or as wiping varnish, will give much greater protection but will take longer, and won't be fully hardened up for as much as a month.

Varnishing doesn't have to mean the thing ends up gross and orange and glossy, although the colour will shift more towards amber in the coming years as the varnish ages.

flynnboy":335hezsk said:
...give it a richer look...
Well almost anything you might use here will add something. If you give any area a quick swipe with white spirit that'll give you some idea of the colouring with a clear finish applied. If you'd like the thing to have more colour than the preview indicates a coloured finish is called for, e.g. lemon shellac instead of bleached, or garnet instead of lemon.

There's one other thing to bear in mind when finishing softwoods and that's the contrast between the earlywood and latewood bands. Oil and oil-based finishes, including varnish and blended finishes like Danish oil and similar, will do the most to enhance this. If you want that at least start with a coat of oil or an oil-based finish. If the figure is a bit out of scale or in-your-face and you'd like to keep it more subdued then shellac and/or wax are good choices.

If you can't decide, or just need to do some comparative tests, use the back where nobody will see, and see what you like the look of in situ.
 

ED65

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AndyT":3lezv5on said:
If it's Victorian and you want it to have an authentic finish, you probably ought to paint it brown. :)
:lol:
 

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