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View chrisd's profile

Refinishing a mid century modern chair

by chrisd
posted 10-07-2018 06:57 PM


16 replies so far

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2063 posts in 2100 days


#1 posted 10-07-2018 07:13 PM

Just oil it. Danish oil is good, tung oil will be more work takes forever to dry. Why would you even think of staining it . Didn’t you just finish sanding out all the stains.I doubt if varithane poly was used back then.

-- Aj

View chrisd's profile

chrisd

18 posts in 3348 days


#2 posted 10-08-2018 10:44 PM

Thanks for the feedback Aj.

I’m not positive what was used to finish it originally, but knowing my dad, he stained it then finished it with whatever was the easiest at the time. He believed in the miracle of modern chemistry! :)

I’d consider staining it just because I’d prefer if the chair was quite dark, that’s all. However, not only am I open and willing to entertain other options, I’m actively seeking other options. I would like whatever finish I go with to be within the options the designer and manufacturer intended.

So no water base poly or anything? Just oil? What about sanded-in? Is that something to be considered? If only oil, what grit should I sand it to?

Thanks Aj!

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2063 posts in 2100 days


#3 posted 10-08-2018 10:56 PM

Well then that’s a good point. I’m not a fan of polyurethane finishes because all I see is wood wrapped in plastic. Plus a chair with arms one should feel the wood not a film finish like poly yuk thane. :)
The watco danish oil does come in dark walnut .

-- Aj

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 792 days


#4 posted 10-08-2018 11:09 PM

I’ve used this ‘Bob’s Miracle Finish’ before

https://sawsonskates.com/bobs-miracle-finish/

Gives a nice dark, satin finish.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4156 posts in 891 days


#5 posted 10-08-2018 11:15 PM

I’d go with Waterlox Original. You get the nice depth and color of tung oil and it has a higher resin content than Danish for a nicer build and more durability.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1324 posts in 1118 days


#6 posted 10-08-2018 11:20 PM

You do realize that Watco Danish Oil contains a large percentage of polyurethane don’t you?


Well then that’s a good point. I’m not a fan of polyurethane finishes because all I see is wood wrapped in plastic. Plus a chair with arms one should feel the wood not a film finish like poly yuk thane. :)
The watco danish oil does come in dark walnut .

- Aj2


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Aj2

2063 posts in 2100 days


#7 posted 10-08-2018 11:37 PM

No i didn’t know that.
Now I will have to sacrifice a small animal to cover my sin. Sorry little puppy :)

-- Aj

View Rich's profile

Rich

4156 posts in 891 days


#8 posted 10-08-2018 11:58 PM


You do realize that Watco Danish Oil contains a large percentage of polyurethane don t you?

- ArtMann

It’s not polyurethane. Danish oil is a varnish made from oil and resin. I mentioned Waterlox because it’s based on tung oil and, in my experience, builds faster than Danish indicating to me that its resin content is higher. They don’t publish exact percentages due to trade secret issues.

Watco Danish is a blend of oils and resin as shown in the MSDS for the product:

Raw Linseed Oil
Vegetable Oil
Resin
Gilsonite

The Gilsonite is likely present in their tinted Danish oil varieties. The MSDS is generic for all of their products labeled Danish Oil.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2989 posts in 2327 days


#9 posted 10-08-2018 11:58 PM

Daly’s Ben Matte is a Danish style rubbed finish. It comes clear and in various stains. It doesn’t need to be sanded to extremely fine grits, and the wet sanding with 400 to 600 grits leaves a nice soft finish. Dries in a reasonable time. I don’t know whether it contains any polyurethane.

I’d first check what color you get by applying clear in an inconspicuous spot. A lot of Danish modern was made out of walnut.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 792 days


#10 posted 10-09-2018 12:44 AM



No i didn’t know that.
Now I will have to sacrifice a small animal to cover my sin. Sorry little puppy :)

- Aj2

It’s sad, but sometimes you have to make small sacrifices for your craft. ;)

View Rich's profile

Rich

4156 posts in 891 days


#11 posted 10-09-2018 12:45 AM


Daly s Ben Matte is a Danish style rubbed finish.

- runswithscissors

It’s interesting that their BenMatte Natural Tung Oil Finish contains no tung oil according to the SDS. Just linseed oil.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View chrisd's profile

chrisd

18 posts in 3348 days


#12 posted 10-09-2018 05:19 PM

As interesting as the debate concerning the base matrix of Danish and Tung Oil may be, I’m still wondering if anyone knows what kind of finishes would be consistent with this style and time?

Not to be curt but I’m not all that interested in how you would finish this unless you would finish it in a way that is consistent with the style and time.

Of course Danish oil was around in the 50’s but would you use it to finish a chair like this? Is it just me or is that like having your 1950’s Bel Air painted by Earl Scheib? That just seems …. I dunno … wrong. Am I off base?

View Rich's profile

Rich

4156 posts in 891 days


#13 posted 10-09-2018 05:46 PM


Not to be curt but I m not all that interested in how you would finish this unless you would finish it in a way that is consistent with the style and time.

- chrisd

Only experts need reply…lol Looks like you’re on your own. Best of luck.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View chrisd's profile

chrisd

18 posts in 3348 days


#14 posted 10-09-2018 06:15 PM

Not to be curt but I m not all that interested in how you would finish this unless you would finish it in a way that is consistent with the style and time.

- chrisd

Only experts need reply…lol Looks like you re on your own. Best of luck.

- Rich

I mentioned nothing about experts Rich, I just can’t find any reliable information about how this type of mid century modern chair was intended to be finished and I would like to know that information in order to apply that type of finish.

I’m sorry if my attempt at focusing this conversation from something off topic toward an answer I can use hurt your feelings to the point that you feeling a need to be so rude as to throw it in my face.

Thanks
C

View Rich's profile

Rich

4156 posts in 891 days


#15 posted 10-09-2018 07:37 PM

Actually, rude is when you tell people who tried in good faith to help that you aren’t interested in their input unless it’s accurate for the period. To that I say go figure it out for yourself if you can. The information is out there, just get off your butt and go find it.

P.S. Here’s a video of widely respected antique restorer Tom Johnson using Waterlox on a Hans Wegner mid century modern teak chair. But hey, what does he know?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6vBPeF4xBY

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1900 posts in 2485 days


#16 posted 10-09-2018 09:22 PM

Some strong words on period-appropriate finishing from someone thinking about staining the chair with Minwax….

Oil and wax were used, as was oil and lacquer. Sometimes they used soap finishes. They did not typically use stains or toner. That period was all about seeing the natural wood, and film finishes were usually satin and left the texture of the wood. There’s a lot of different ways to achieve that look, and as long as we’re being pedantic and focused, it’s beyond the scope of your question to tell you exactly how to do it.

There also was a big difference between the original designer and the licensed or mass-manufactured versions of the same pieces. So there’s no one finish that was used across manufacturers or styles. Read up on the Wegner chair by Derek Cohen for some discussion of this. http://www.inthewoodshop.com/Furniture/TheChair-Introduction.html

Best of luck, and that’s the last I’ll be contributing to this thread.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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