Bureau project

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Thecornflake

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Hi,

I have just joined, I am looking for advice on finishing for a bureau I'm working on. Other than from school cdt I don't have any experience but I got it for free and its just something to play around with in my spare time. I was considering just painting it but after stripping back a couple of the drawer fronts the wood looks nice and I'm not sure what finish to do. It looks like possibly mahogany or walnut. Theres a quite red colour under the handles and in the cut outs for the locks. Its very powdery when sanded but not soft wood like pine.
I like the look of cerusing with a dark colour but I'm not sure it would look good with the way the grain is. So possibly just sanding it back really well and using a laquer?
 

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mrpercysnodgrass

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Welcome to the forum.
You have already started on the right route by stripping the finish right off, so carry on doing that and sand with the grain down to 240 grit.
Once you have done that you could wet the timber and if you like the colour then there should be no need to apply a stain but a light stain may enhance the Mahogany! I would be inclined to put a light golden stain on. Stains you are likely to find locally will be Colron or Liberon and an 'Antique Pine' would be the one to go for.
Taking into consideration your experience a brushing polish would be the finish to go for, the Mylands one listed below is very good and the better quality your brush the better your finish will be. You will probably need to apply between two and four coats . When that is good and hard after being left for a day you could apply a paste wax with some '0000' wire wool which will dull the shine a little and give more of an antique look.
http://www.jpennyltd.co.uk/shopping/pgm ... php?id=122
https://www.colron.co.uk/products/wood- ... -wood-dye/
http://www.jpennyltd.co.uk/shopping/pgm ... .php?id=98
https://www.jacksonsart.com/gamblin-gam ... sh-brushes
http://www.jpennyltd.co.uk/shopping/pgm ... n.php?id=9
 

Thecornflake

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Hi,

Thanks thats really useful. Probably tricky to tell from the pics but do you think it probably is mahogany? Based on looking at a lot of pictures online I think thats most likely.
 

MikeG.

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Really? I'm seeing that as sweet gum (AKA satinwood or American satin walnut or red gum), a poor man's walnut imported from the USA in the early 20th century, and that would correspond in my untutored eye to the style of furniture.
 

MikeG.

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I worked on a sweetgum piece last year, and the sanded drawer front in the photos above looks more like that to me than it does to sapele (commonly seen lining hollow core flat-faced doors in the 1970s & 80s). We'll have to agree to differ.......and we'll never know which of us (if either) is right!! :)
 

sunnybob

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I dont think it would be mahogany. Even 75 years ago it was a more expensive wood and that bureau, although nice, doesnt have the look of a quality piece that mahogany would inspire. I would expect fancy brass handles, more moulding and a lot more drawers inside if it was an upmarket item.
Have you looked for a secret drawer? :shock:
Most bureaus had them back then. 8)
 

Thecornflake

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No secret drawers, I did check.

You're correct that it isnt a high end piece at all in fact it seems quite badly put together in some areas and the handles are very simple and not all the same size. I think either made by someone not that experienced and/or put together from other pieces. The bottoms of the drawers are stamped "Crayproof tested by admiralty overseer" which after googling pointed to it possibly being campaign furniture (or they used bits from one to put this together).
 

sunnybob

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wow, that cray proof is a bit rare. I can only find one reference to an admiralty chest of drawers.

It could well be a couple 100 years old, which would explain the hand built-ness of it. The handles are obvious replacements.
 
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