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Old 04-04-2004, 12:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Cruiser
EdieG, is the black stuff mold/mildew that the bleach kills or a stain that the bleach lightens?
The wood was dry but appeared rotted. When the bleach worked, I assumed it was a stain that the bleach lightened.

My sister's dog had urinated on a rug during the night while she was staying with us. By the time we found it in the morning, the wood floors were damaged. I used Clorox on the black mark on the wood floor, and it fixed that stain, too.

I've used TSP, but the Clorox seemed to work better for me. Trust me, I'm not expert - just sharing personal experience.
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Old 11-28-2005, 05:36 PM   #16
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I spoke with my grandfather about the birch wood on the interior of my 1958 Airstream Cruiser after reading this thread. He suggested a couple of things:

1. Rub on Howard's Restor-a-finish with 0000 steel wool. The advantage here is that it will actual do just what it says, restore the original finish. This way, no stripping is needed. It correct minor scratches and blemishes. Then wax with bees wax.

2. In places where the finish is ruined, like water damage, or missing, use "lime oak" stain is what he said. he said that's what they used to use on birch. It gives it that very slight greenish (patina) tint. My grandmother swears they haven't made that in 40 years though. The closest I could find at the local hardware stores was "pickled oak". Maybe just changed the name.

3. To fill holes, cracks, etc I was told to use Durham's water putty or a color pencil.

4. To fix delaminations he said to use Elmer's wood glue, watered down, and clamps.

So... I start my cabinet restoration today. I guess I'll psot how well it goes with these techniques.
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Old 11-28-2005, 09:15 PM   #17
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petina

I have an "over an under" 16 guage (left handed) Savage, shot gun. I wanted to get it cleaned up since it was not consistant and was blemished and the metal and wood was not perfect.

I talked with my new nieghbor about my gun and he lite up when I told him what I had. He said ...go get your gun and come to my house....

I got it and I will never forget the exercise we went through to validate the fact that in the Gun's and Ammo magazine he had, that the gun I had was actually the one listed.

The price was set at 7'000 dollars and it made me fall onto the floor in disbelief. In the description of the gun's value it stated that if the gun had been "re-blued", it would be worth a tenth of that.

When I hear these wrigglings of wanting to turn old stuff to absolute matches to new, my initial reaction is

...replace all of it to new, to match or, treat the old stuff with respect and value the blemishes as high value, you may not know what you have......

Long live Petina !
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Old 11-28-2005, 09:15 PM   #18
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petina

I have an "over an under" 16 guage (left handed) Savage, shot gun. I wanted to get it cleaned up since it was not consistant and was blemished and the metal and wood was not perfect.

I talked with my new nieghbor about my gun and he lite up when I told him what I had. He said ...go get your gun and come to my house....

I got it and I will never forget the exercise we went through to validate the fact that in the Gun's and Ammo magazine he had, that the gun I had was actually the one listed.

The price was set at 7'000 dollars and it made me fall onto the floor in disbelief. In the description of the gun's value it stated that if the gun had been "re-blued", it would be worth a tenth of that.

When I hear these wrigglings of wanting to turn old stuff to absolute matches to new, my initial reaction is

...replace all of it to new, to match or, treat the old stuff with respect and value the blemishes as high value, you may not know what you have......

Long live Petina !
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Old 11-28-2005, 09:56 PM   #19
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Restor-a-finish

Jimmy, that's a great story! It was an article I read on antique restoration that was similar to your story which helped to sway me toward restoring the original finish where possible. In the article, the author talks about how an antique with its original finish stripped and redone (even expertly) is worth far less than something with a restored original finish. The reason being, of course, that the original finish is the contact point with history for the wood in question. Makes sense to me...

So I started rubbing the restor-a-finish on with steel wool. 0000 grade. I started with one of the wardrobe doors, on the backside of it, just in case I didn't like the end result. I'm very happy with it! Obviously, it couldn't help in places where the paper-thin birch veneer was scratched or dinged, but it did smooth out the cracking finish and gave the wood a nice luster. The next step will be polishing with a bees wax. The one thing that I will do differently on the rest of the furniture will be to sand with 400 grit sandpaper first, then rub the restor-a-finish on with a cloth.

Here are a few pics of the end result.
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Old 11-28-2005, 10:19 PM   #20
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Finish

Exactly the point. Soft and subtle or rip it and change it. It's a hard call but it becomes obvious if you allow for some imperfection for the sake of originality. What if the purveyors of the Mona Lisa decided that the cracks in the finish were unacceptable cause its not smooth like new paintings are.....Oh Oh...big trouble. Be careful, relax, accept things for what they are....within reason.
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Old 11-29-2005, 10:22 AM   #21
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Those photos up near the top of the thread confuse me. The ones that Cruiser posted. They look like the back side of the cabinet wood, the "unfinished" side that has no veneer on it. That's not birch, that's just crappy old plywood, isn't it? The pics that I posted are birch veneer.

I think the "unfinished" side of the plywood was just splashed with some kind of sealer after it was put in. At least that's how it looks on my trailer, but it might have been a PO that did that.
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Old 11-29-2005, 11:32 AM   #22
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hard to do with retail products

I have been a professional furniture restorer/refinisher for 40 years and I can tell you "blonde" finishes are among the most difficult to match. They are especially hard and sometimes impossible to achieve with do-it -yourself products. Often the only way to achieve a match is a total refinish. You will hear a lot of discussion among the antique "experts" about patina and saving the original finish. However a really skilled finisher is like an artist and can achieve any look using the right materials and techniques many of which we keep as our own secrets. It's like art and even the experts can be fooled.
A lot of the blonde finishes are achieved using sealers ,tinted lacquers, or glazes in conjunction with stains in a multi- step process. There are lots of skilled craftsmen out east, seek one out and solicit some advice. I've found the word "Airstream" to be magic when seeking help.
Iwill be refinishing my 63 Globetrotters blonde woodwork (blonde finish) in the future and will post some pictures of the process and materials. I wish I could say there is a quick and easy way but it takes hard work and quality materials to get a really fine result.
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Old 11-29-2005, 12:12 PM   #23
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63Air, as a professional restorer of furniture, what do you think about products like Howard's "Restor-a-finish"? My wood is in pretty good shape for the most part and I've been pretty happy with the results. Obviously it's not going to look like it's brand-new because the restor-a-finish can't hide scratches in the veneer or dings, but it seems to be a pretty good product.

What's your opinion on it?
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Old 11-29-2005, 05:13 PM   #24
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Not familiar with Howards

I have never used this particular product so I don't don't really have an opinion on it. However there are many out there under a variety of names that sound very similar in what they do. I do not use them as they really don't achieve results that please me. However some people find the results to be very acceptable. To me the analogy would be like painting a car with spray cans vs. a spray gun and paint from a supply house.

A lot of time you can make cabinetry look good by cleaning it using mild soap and water, drying with a soft towel, polishing with fine steel wool and pure lemon oil (with the grain), and applying a quality paste wax that is recommended for furniture. Most important thing is to avoid polishes/cleaners with silicone in them.
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Old 11-29-2005, 05:16 PM   #25
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Out of curiousity... if I wanted to have this work professionally done, with all the cabinets out of the trailer, what do you think it would run? I have a 26' Cruiser (like an overlander).
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Old 11-29-2005, 10:03 PM   #26
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Hard to say on cost

Hard to say say but a whole lot less with the cabinets out. Would depend on how much repair was needed and what type of finish. My cabinets need some veneer work and I plan to do the finish work without removing them from the trailer. Lots of time masking but hey no carved work or paint to deal with so should be an easy job. I think I am going to try and figure a square foot rate using mine as the "lab".
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Old 11-29-2005, 11:20 PM   #27
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Alright, just curious. I'm going to continue on my merry path of amateur wood restoration and see what happens. If I really screw up, then I'll call in the pros!
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Old 12-05-2005, 11:29 PM   #28
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Restoration Difficulties

So the Howard's and fine steel wool worked wonders in places with almost no wear and tear, like the wardrobe doors and so on, but when I started trying to restore the finish in some of the more heavily worn areas, like the cabinet that holds the refrigerator.... UGH!

Places like that need repairs. The veneer is chipped in places and in there are some dents and scratches. They're small enough, but after patching, filling or replacing the missing veneer will need to be stained. And matching to the patina'ed finish is going to be impossibly beyond my skill level.

So now I'm struggling with the idea of stripping the finish and starting over. I'm really concerned with a stripper possibly softening the glue that holds the veneer to plywood.

Also, what do I do to address the (small amounts of) water damage that I have at some of the cabinet bottoms? In those places the plywood has delaminated and is even missing pretty sizeable chunks, some from middle layers of the ply....
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