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Cabinetry Shelf Drawer Wood Chest of drawers


I'm working on a federal period card table following a guide from Steve Latta and wanted to get your opinions on finishes for the piece. Here are a couple of options. Please let me know what you think or if you have any better ideas. One concern I have is the apron is crotch mahogany and I know it will be a lot darker than the legs. I wonder how I can blend them.

Options:
1. Latta suggests doing a golden stain so that holly doesn't stand out so much. Followed by shellac and then a orange shellac. I'm a bit worried that the holly might become too golden unless I find a good stain I can cut.
2. I tested some scrap doing boiled linseed and then shellac over. It worked out well but only barely colored the holly. I'm worried that maybe I need to blend the holly more.
3. I tested some scrap with arm-r-seal and it is almost comparible to the BLO. I'm wondering if this would be a good base finish followed by shellac since it will pop the grain more and provide a better finish.
4. Put a base coat of potassium dichromate followed by shellac. Please don't go into the dangers of this. I am aware.
5. Any other ideas are welcome as I want to make this look like a period piece.
 

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Hi Mr jones,The legs are looking great,Why not tint your shellac build it slowly.There just not going to be any short cuts to a great finish right.Plus oils take so long to dry.
I think the shellac shack has the best flakes and buttons.Aj
 

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I have not tried this on holly, however using 1 table spoon of baking soda to a pint of water, makes a nice oxidizer for mahogany, it will give you a natural aged color . I have used it with maple inlays and so forth and it also will age the maple. Holly just not sure, but you can adjust the strength of the soda, you will get a moderate grain raise but nothing a quick 600 grit wipe will not remove . I use this all the time to age cherry and mahogany .

Again you will need to do a test, for the holly and it may not be enough to suit, but worth a shot .
 

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I haven't done this as I am just getting started using dyes instead of stains, but with dyes you can cut to control the intensity of the color and you can mix colors to control the shade. It will undoubtedly take a bit of trial and error on scrap to get the color and darkness you are looking for.

This is a good place to start to understand how to use dyes.
http://www.joewoodworker.com/transtints.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Charles, I'm looking forward to giving it a shot. Also thanks for all the great tutorials on the internet. I've watched a bunch of them.

BacktotheWood, transtints work great. I've used them with great success on Mahogany in the past. The reason I chose not to do it on this project was I didn't want to mess up the holly. I highly recommend you give them a shot on your future projects.
 

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I think your inclinations and Charles's suggestion are right on track. Can't wait to see the finished project! Great to see someone else interested in Federal period furniture.
Roger
 

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Potassium dichromate won't achieve the effect you are looking for. It will darken the mahogany but will not have a noticeable effect on the holly. So strike that one off your list.

BTW, I really like what potassium dichromate does to the mahoganies.
 

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I've got nothing to add but …DAUMN, that is some awesome work, you've got some serious skill & I can't wait to see the finished piece too
 
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