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Help with restoration

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Chrispy

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If you think restoration is difficult just try and post a picture and see what difficult means 8) .
I'm sure we can help when we see a pix.
 

gregmcateer

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I'm in no way qualified to give ANY advice on restoration, but if the piece is precious, it may be wise to get a cruddy old bit of tat from a clearance place, or even a skip and have a practice on that.
Just a thought
 

worn thumbs

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I saw the photos.It looks like a piece that was very good quality in it's day and you did well to get it for a bargain price.I suggest that posting the question in the finishing forum might result in more targeted advice.I also question how well prepared your course has left you to deal with the topic and suspect you may have concerns of your own.The real learning starts when you have to make your own decisions and live with the consequences.At worst you can always strip the old finish,but that will lose the patina.Sorry if I seem a bit harsh,but I do know of one establishment that elevated a student of one course to senior instructor on the same course a few weeks later.You may have found a similar situation.
 

Clarity

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Thank you for your reply.
The course I took was by no means fully comprehensive but I enrolled on it to give myself a basic grounding and with the thought that any little bit of knowledge gleaned can be built on, not necessarily blindly accepted and taken as gospel! I have a long road ahead of me and envy craftsmen with years of experience but as cliche as it sounds, we do all have to start somewhere and between Amazons endless book resources and great forums like these, I hope that in time I can be one of the people giving out advice!
In the meantime, all (helpful) advice is greatly appreciated!
Thank you!
 

AndyT

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Welcome to the forum. Google Photos isn't a great choice as it seems to be designed not to support easy embedding of photos on third party sites. However, your photos are visible at the link provided.

I'm no expert but I'd guess that your sideboard was never top quality. The door panels look like veneered ply. Are the ends the same?
That machine made imitation strapwork just looks silly in comparison to actual strapwork.

But it does have a lot of oak in it and is probably quite well constructed with proper joints. I'd guess that it was from the 1920s.

Looking at the light patches, I think that if you want to blend them back in, you probably need to remove the old finish, re-stain and re-finish.

(Oddly, I think the cause of the pale patches could be the amount of medullary ray figure on the drawer fronts - it doesn't absorb stain like the surrounding wood.)

The good thing is that the finish may well have been shellac based. Try using meths on a kitchen scourer and see what comes off. (Start somewhere that won't show first.)

Once you have got the whole piece similarly toned it's up to you how you choose to procede and whether you want to make it dark again.
 

MikeG.

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Really weird hinge positioning. I don't think I've ever seen that before. It looks a like a decent piece of early 20th century oak work to me. It's nothing special, but it isn't nasty cheap tat either. I think you can expect it to be robust, and frankly, it would be hard to stuff up permanently unless you start splashing stains or dyes about. I think it's probably a pretty good choice of piece for a first project.
 

AndyT

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One afterthought. I just happen to have some bits of a similar vintage dressing table here. I tried alcohol on one and it removed the dirt but not the finish.
Thinking it might be cellulose, I tried some thinners. That dissolved the finish ok. Doing a whole large piece would be a long job though, so you might want to try some experiments before you commit yourself.
 

Mrs C

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I am sure that someone will shoot me for saying so, but here goes anyway.

Sadly brown furniture is now ridiculously cheap in sale rooms as it is no longer fashionable. To that end, why not use your current piece as an experimental piece to work out what works and what doesn’t. Don’t worry too much about what you do to it!

Alternatively, if you like the piece go to a junk shop to find something to play with that really doesn’t matter. Unless you discover a gem of an antique your time will be far more valuable than what you are working on.
 

Clarity

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Thank you for all the replies, I really am very grateful!
More than anything, I was wondering if the drawer front is repairable. It looks like someone has sanded it too much. Is there a way to repair that? I can put up with the other knocks, just the drawer looks so obviously damaged.
As in, the hinges are at the very top and very bottom??
 

Trevanion

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To me, it almost looks like the finish/stain hasn't bonded particularly well to the quartersawn grain and has worn off or flaked off. I'd probably go over it with a 50/50 mix of meths and turpentine with some 00 wire wool or fine scotchbrite and see what happens, if you can remove the finish in that area completely it will be easier to re-do or alternatively go over the whole piece and re-finish the lot which would be quite time-consuming.

That brass pendant might be the most awkward thing to replace on the whole thing, If you wanted to get a replacement I think you'd need to have one made.

I did Furniture Making and Restoration for a year when I left school, it's not often I use what I learned there in my every day but once in a while a little gem of knowledge in the back of my head comes up trumps and saves the day.

If you haven't already got a copy it's worth picking up "How to Restore and Repair Practically Everything" by Lorraine Johnson, a good book packed full of info and it's literally what it says on the tin, plus its peanuts to pick up secondhand.
 

Woody2Shoes

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Based on my experience of taking very similar items to bits, to salvage timber and ironmongery, I'd second the opinion that the discoloured panel is veneered. It's difficult to see enough detail of the discoloured parts, but it could be that the veneer has been damaged - perhaps by deliberate or accidental abrasion. Are you able to add a close-up photo of the discoloured bit?
If you haven't already found him, Thomas Johnson (from Gorham, Maine) is excellent on YT.
 

Eric The Viking

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I wonder if it's been modified at some point in its life.

The middle drawer doesn't look as though it belongs - it has an applied moulding decoration around the front that doesn't seem to match the rest of the piece anywhere. Have a look at the drawers to see if they all look similarly made. Does that moulding look as though it's covering gaps where the drawer doesn't fit well?

Regarding replacing the cupboard handle, probably the easiest thing is to replace both as a pair. It's easier to match in new ones (and "age" them to taste) than match one from another so they look like a pair. Because it's oak, the tannins may have caused marks where the escutcheons are fixed to the doors, but you can remove those with care.
 

Clarity

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Do you know what? I kept looking at the drawer and thinking the same thing but having had a closer look, they all seem to be made in the same way and the moulding seems to fit perfectly too. I'll upload some pictures if you wouldn't mind taking a look too?
 

Steliz

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On YouTube there is a furniture restorer called Thomas Johnson. I'm not a restorer but I like his videos, maybe you're already aware of him. He covers everything from clean up to complete re-build. Your piece looks in good shape and maybe just needs a little clean and wax.
 
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