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Cleaning/Restoring old wooden knobs and totes

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ZippityNZ

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How do you go about cleaning and restoring old wooden knobs and totes that are caked with years of grime, paint and broken varnish/shellac etc ??

Do you soak them in anything or spray them with caustic paint remover?

I'd like to hear your views :)
 

Pete Maddex

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Card scraper makes short work of the cracked varnish, then sand, stain (if they are beech) and oil or wax.

Pete
 

AndyT

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If it's sound but dirty, wipe with a damp cloth. Maybe a little boiled linseed oil or reviver mixture afterwards.

If it's the sort of tinted varnish that cracks and crazes, like Pete said, scrape it off.

Then it's a choice between staining dark again or not. If it was stained to look like rosewood and the other handle is dark, I'll stain it to match. I might leave it, but pale stripped handles look as silly as stripped house doors, in my opinion.

Finish with linseed oil, hard wax oil or shellac. Tru-oil is also good.

I've never bothered with anything really badly abused. The odd spot of stray paint can generally be eased off with some turps and the edge of an old bank card.
 

Bm101

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Put a bolt through the knob and secure it. Stick it in a drill. Mini lathe! Sandpaper or similar or even metal scraper if the old lacquer is all 'orrible and cracked will clean it up in no time.
Same idea with a bit of dowel. Cut a slot in the end and knock some wire wool or green pad for polished or cleaning for tricky areas with a dril!.
Looking for a site that helped me proved futile but I did come across this gem. Looks a good site if you haven't seen it.
https://www.timetestedtools.net/categor ... tion-help/

Cheers
Chris
 

ED65

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As I mentioned in the other thread I scrape off old finish as much as possible. I have scrapers of all sorts but a lot of my handle scraping I do with a poorly hardened chisel I keep for this purpose only. With the old factory varnish or lacquer that has crazed it's usually dying to come off and it just pops free of the surface with scraping, while with sanding you can get a lot of smoothing over of the little islands of finish. I try to minimise the use of sanding except if I'm reprofiling the rear handle, in which case I'll break out the long strips reinforced with duct tape and use them shoeshine fashion, after the rasp and file work.

One last thing, if the handle is beech and I want it to end up looking like this I'll reach for the oxalic acid which does wonders for greyed wood and many seemingly intractable black stains. But otherwise a dark stain or brown finish can cover a multitude of sins :)

ZippityNZ":nhgvv0jy said:
Do you soak them in anything or spray them with caustic paint remover?
Nothing against using stripper if needed (solvent type usually, not caustic), but I'll only resort to it if there's a big splash of fully hardened paint on the handle.

I have soaked handles in acetone as part of cleaning deep fissures in preparation for filling with epoxy or glueing back together. But you want to be careful of doing this if there's paint on the wood as it risks diluting it into a penetrating stain.
 

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