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G-Plan Refinishing

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riclepp

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Hi All

I have two round G-Plan extending tables that require refinishing. Having read many web sites and not one seem to be able to give a definitive answer, can anyone here advise as to what the finish that was applied to G-Plan furniture in the 60's and 70's please.. The most common has been danish all.

Thanks in anticipation.

Regards

Richard
 

custard

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This has been covered many times before on this forum, try a search for G-Plan.
 

riclepp

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I have and they are all different, teak oil, danish oil etc, lacquer, monocrystalline..so am after a definitive answer, thanks all.
 

custard

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I'm almost certain they were sprayed with a nitrocellulose lacquer. Despite being prone to yellowing the quality was otherwise first rate and it's often only now, after fifty or sixty years, that you're seeing the surface craze and delaminate.

The solvents mean nitro is horrible stuff to use, I know plenty of small scale furniture makers but I can't think of one who still uses nitro, however I think some luthiers may still use it to match the finish on vintage guitars? Perhaps one of the luthiers on this forum might be able to shed some light on this?

If you're not too fussy then a Danish Oil or a wiping varnish finish would be close enough for most people, and it would be a tenth of the faff and expensive.
 

riclepp

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Thanks Custard

I have also done some more research into this and on one of their care sheets it states that it is finished with modern pu. Is pu the same as mc?

Cheers
 

marcros

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that will be the modern g plan stuff though won't it, not the stuff from the 60s?
 

riclepp

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The care leaflet I read was from 65 onwards given the g-plan logo on the header, so presume it comes from 65 to70’s, but happy to be corrected.
 

ED65

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riclepp":3cnexxe3 said:
Having read many web sites and not one seem to be able to give a definitive answer, can anyone here advise as to what the finish that was applied to G-Plan furniture in the 60's and 70's please.. The most common has been danish all.
Doesn't it not matter? I know it's interesting from an academic point of view but the look of the pieces will alter slightly regardless of whether you do use the same finish. The majority of finishes look quite different after the 30-40 year mark and that includes all of the possibilities here. In addition to any 'yellowing' that may have occurred (often more an amber/sienna colour change to be more specific) many finishes dull with age, use and cleaning. And if an owner was good about waxing the pieces periodically they can become significantly more shiny, and smoother, than when new.

Also no great difference in terms of getting the old stuff off, while most any paint stripper will eat lacquer or an older Danish oil type finish and some modern ones can struggle a bit with urethanes, at the coat thickness they would have used it should be easy enough to get off regardless (especially as it has also broken down with age). And if you can get your hands on an old-style methylene chloride stripper – warning: use with care! – you'll have no difficulty at all irrespective of what is on the pieces.

Once you get to the refinishing stage, I think you'll get on with wiping varnish like a house on fire. Almost everyone who tries it seems to find it's the easiest, most user-friendly way to apply varnish especially if they choose the option to wipe away all the excess (as varnish is a finish that dries hard you can wipe off none, some or all as suits).

I would suggest getting standard oil-based poly and thinning it yourself in a clean jam jar to turn it into a wiping varnish, not buying commercial wiping varnish which is always overpriced since the main constituent has become white spirit. In addition by making it yourself you can control how dilute it is, which I think is important for varying it to suit personal preference and the weather conditions. You might for example make it thinner in colder weather, less dilute when it's warmer, to get approximately equal drying times through the year.
 

ED65

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Quote for anyone interested [my emphasis]:

G Plan have experimented with lots of different finishes for dining tables. They were looking for a finish that would resist hard treatment and would stand up to spills and to hot dishes put down directly on the surface. After exhaustive tests they have settled for a 2-shot polyurethane. It stands up to almost anything!
This is from 1966 and already they were using a two-part urethane, kudos to them.
 

profchris

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custard":rucl6py5 said:
I'm almost certain they were sprayed with a nitrocellulose lacquer. Despite being prone to yellowing the quality was otherwise first rate and it's often only now, after fifty or sixty years, that you're seeing the surface craze and delaminate.

The solvents mean nitro is horrible stuff to use, I know plenty of small scale furniture makers but I can't think of one who still uses nitro, however I think some luthiers may still use it to match the finish on vintage guitars? Perhaps one of the luthiers on this forum might be able to shed some light on this?

If you're not too fussy then a Danish Oil or a wiping varnish finish would be close enough for most people, and it would be a tenth of the faff and expensive.
Nitro is the standard finish for top end guitars (that or French polish) because it can go on very thin. But some top makers have now managed to spray catalysed polyester very thinly, and that's like an armour casing.

Small scale luthiers rarely use nitro, which can go wrong in multiple ways and really needs a spray booth. It's too fragile for furniture in my view, and also pretty expensive nowadays.
 
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