LumberJocks

Removing dark stain fromOak

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by Coils posted 06-26-2019 03:02 PM 342 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Coils's profile

Coils

30 posts in 2227 days


06-26-2019 03:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oak question finishing traditional

Hi Everyone – Hoping someone can help me with removing a dark satin from an Oak Dining suite. The suite was my grandfathers from the early 1900’s and so is around 100yo. My wife wants the original colour before I can bring it into the house. I am assuming it was Ammonia fumed, but am including a picture in case it helps anyone identify if that is the case. I dont have easy access to store bought solutions so if anyone can advise on a DIY solution I would be grateful.
Many thanks in advance

-- Forest Grump


18 replies so far

View sgcz75b's profile

sgcz75b

72 posts in 178 days


#1 posted 06-26-2019 03:33 PM

Oxalic acid. Buy from Amazon or Home Depot. Easy to use, easy to clean-up. Very inexpensive.

As to returning to original color for that time frame, find amber, garnet or ruby shellac flakes. Make a 1 lb cut. Apply several coats. Use a brown paper bag between coats to knock down nibs. Unless the wood surface is rough after removing the tannin stains with the oxalic acid, no need to sand aggressively or after applying shellac.

After the shellac is dry, wait a couple of days then use a thinned-out varnish, not polyurethane. Those period pieces were not glossy finished, satin at best. A high gloss finish almost always looks like cheap-motel pasteboard furniture.

The use of oxalic acid should be found on the internet in your research.

-- "A dying people tolerates the present, rejects the future, and finds its satisfactions in past greatness and half remembered glory" - John Steinbeck

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

579 posts in 321 days


#2 posted 06-26-2019 03:33 PM

The recessed panels and carving detail on the center rail will give you some real challenges. Also, as an open grain wood, the oak may have been filled with a hard, dark filler before the stain and finish. And, as they say on Antique Roadshow – “It would be worth much more if you hadn’t refinished it.”

I know, I know – your wife won’t let it in the house.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View pottz's profile

pottz

5547 posts in 1402 days


#3 posted 06-26-2019 03:59 PM

man i dont think id touch it,love that patina that comes with age.unless you good with finishing theirs a good chance youd make it worse.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4553 posts in 1007 days


#4 posted 06-26-2019 06:32 PM

Do not use oxalic acid. I have lots of experience with it and it will ruin the patina of that wood. If it were me, I’d try something like Murphy’s Oil Soap in an inconspicuous spot and see if that helps. In fact, anything you’re going to try be sure to test it on a hidden spot first.

You want to conserve the finish, not destroy it.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View LesB's profile

LesB

2123 posts in 3861 days


#5 posted 06-26-2019 07:09 PM

OK, I just looked at where you live and see why you have a problem with getting materials to treat the wood with but most of my comments below stand and I would imagine you can get bleach somewhere.

So no one discussed the possibility that is has a top coat finish (laquer, or shellac) that would have to be removed before you could begin “bleaching” out the dark areas; which by the way you would have to bleach the whole cabinet not just those dark areas or you will have a mess. I would take it to a professional stripping service to be dip stripped first and that may concurrently remove the dark areas and solve the problem or the stripping folks might also bleach it for you. After stripping you can use a bleaching compound, anything from household bleach, oxalic acid, or a deck brightening solution (sodium hypochlorite). All available at local building supplys. It could take a couple of applications to get the desired results. You will probably need to do some light sanding to smooth out the wood after that. Then you will need to decide if you need to add some color back before applying a new top coat. Do some tests on an inconspicuous area before doing the whole cabinet.

My personal preference would to be to get an appraisal before you destroy the value. Then if you still want to refinish it first clean it up with something like Murphy’s oil soap to see if that helps and then apply a coat or two of wax made for antiques, English, Brie Wax is one (with or without color).

-- Les B, Oregon

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2321 posts in 2216 days


#6 posted 06-26-2019 09:35 PM

Today it’s how do I make this old piece look new.
Tomorrow it’s how do I make this new piece look old.
I don’t really like oak furniture in that style. But I must admit your piece is drawing me in because of the patina.
Good Luck always.

-- Aj

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

6223 posts in 2622 days


#7 posted 06-27-2019 12:30 AM

A solution may be available in this book.

-- Regards Rob

View sgcz75b's profile

sgcz75b

72 posts in 178 days


#8 posted 06-27-2019 04:32 PM

Unless your grandfather was Teddy Roosevelt and this was his table and chairs, here’s what you have. From the photo it’s turn-of-the-century oak. it may be solid oak or oak veneer. So unless it was Teddy’s, it has some value since it was your Grandpa’s, but it’s not priceless nor will pay for your kid’s college.

As to the “patina”, I see lots of grime and tannin stains. I’m sure there’s some patina somewhere, but I didn’t notice anyone raving about the patina willing to pay you for

A professional appraisal from a well-qualified appraiser (not a mall antique dealer, stripper/refinisher, or lumberjock’s poster) will cost you at least $100-200 dollars. Otherwise, it’s meaningless.

Also, beware of “furniture refinishers/strippers.” The forum is full of people who claim to be ‘refinishers” who take on commissions and by their posts don’t have a clue of what they’re doing.

From your original post I take it you want to keep it, clean it up, and use it. I applaud you for that.

Clean it first with real TSP, not the crappy TSP substitute. Mix 1/2 cup of TSP into one quart of very hot water. Wear gloves. Saturate your rag, wring it almost dry, and start cleaning. You’re not soaking the wood, you’re cleaning it. You’ll be amazed at how much grime comes off. Rinse the rag in water, then again with the TSP solution until your rag comes clean.

When you’ve cleaned all the wood, let it dry for at least a week. Don’t be in a hurry. Then, if you want to attempt to remove and/or soften the tannin stains, see my post above about oxalic acid.

This is the cheapest, easiest, and fastest way to put it back into service. You’ve got nothing to lose.

Prepare for the onslaught of patina “experts” and the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

-- "A dying people tolerates the present, rejects the future, and finds its satisfactions in past greatness and half remembered glory" - John Steinbeck

View pottz's profile

pottz

5547 posts in 1402 days


#9 posted 06-27-2019 05:10 PM



Unless your grandfather was Teddy Roosevelt and this was his table and chairs, here s what you have. From the photo it s turn-of-the-century oak. it may be solid oak or oak veneer. So unless it was Teddy s, it has some value since it was your Grandpa s, but it s not priceless nor will pay for your kid s college.

As to the “patina”, I see lots of grime and tannin stains. I m sure there s some patina somewhere, but I didn t notice anyone raving about the patina willing to pay you for

A professional appraisal from a well-qualified appraiser (not a mall antique dealer, stripper/refinisher, or lumberjock s poster) will cost you at least $100-200 dollars. Otherwise, it s meaningless.

Also, beware of “furniture refinishers/strippers.” The forum is full of people who claim to be refinishers” who take on commissions and by their posts don t have a clue of what they re doing.

From your original post I take it you want to keep it, clean it up, and use it. I applaud you for that.

Clean it first with real TSP, not the crappy TSP substitute. Mix 1/2 cup of TSP into one quart of very hot water. Wear gloves. Saturate your rag, wring it almost dry, and start cleaning. You re not soaking the wood, you re cleaning it. You ll be amazed at how much grime comes off. Rinse the rag in water, then again with the TSP solution until your rag comes clean.

When you ve cleaned all the wood, let it dry for at least a week. Don t be in a hurry. Then, if you want to attempt to remove and/or soften the tannin stains, see my post above about oxalic acid.

This is the cheapest, easiest, and fastest way to put it back into service. You ve got nothing to lose.

Prepare for the onslaught of patina “experts” and the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

- sgcz75b


ok so that solves that! may i ask are you by chance a proffesional furniture refinisher yourself ?

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View sgcz75b's profile

sgcz75b

72 posts in 178 days


#10 posted 06-27-2019 06:17 PM

Nope. Not a professional. I have been refinishing furniture for myself, family, and friends since 1968. What I told you is what I have done and would do again because it works. I refinished two oak folding chairs in similar condition as yours three weeks ago using the very methods I described to you. I used garnet shellac flakes to give the wood a color close to the original. Took about 20 minutes per chair to clean using TSP. Two days to allow for drying, three 1#coats of shellac in about 2 hours or less. Waiting to give a couple of coats of thinned varnish as I have other projects to get to this same stage and then varnish all at the same time. Before applying the varnish I’ll rub with a brown paper bag, wipe with a rag with mineral spirits, and then apply the varnish.

The two folding chairs came from a damp basement with years of grit and grime. Here’s quick photo to show you what a little effort can do.

There’s quite a lot of information about refinishing on the internet. At least half is utter nonsense designed to sell you stuff you don’t need by people who haven’t got a clue but pretend they’re authorities.

Beautiful refinishing work has gone on for centuries using simple products and knowledge of how to use them.

-- "A dying people tolerates the present, rejects the future, and finds its satisfactions in past greatness and half remembered glory" - John Steinbeck

View Rich's profile

Rich

4553 posts in 1007 days


#11 posted 06-27-2019 07:39 PM


The two folding chairs came from a damp basement with years of grit and grime. Here s quick photo to show you what a little effort can do.

- sgcz75b

No before photo? A blurry photo of a wooden folding chair doesn’t do much to support your argument. If you’re going to be the new refinishing guru you’ll need a bit more of a portfolio.

I will say that given my experience, I find your methods you’ve suggested in this thread to be very questionable, not to mention inconsistent. I also find it unusual that a self-professed refinisher with over 50 years of experience would make suggestions like those without seeing the piece.

Finally there’s this gem:

“This is the cheapest, easiest, and fastest way to put it back into service. You’ve got nothing to lose.”

Seriously? He has a lot to lose since it’s an irreplaceable family heirloom.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View sgcz75b's profile

sgcz75b

72 posts in 178 days


#12 posted 06-27-2019 08:34 PM


The two folding chairs came from a damp basement with years of grit and grime. Here s quick photo to show you what a little effort can do.

- sgcz75b

No before photo? A blurry photo of a wooden folding chair doesn t do much to support your argument. If you re going to be the new refinishing guru you ll need a bit more of a portfolio.

I will say that given my experience, I find your methods you ve suggested in this thread to be very questionable, not to mention inconsistent. I also find it unusual that a self-professed refinisher with over 50 years of experience would make suggestions like those without seeing the piece.

Finally there s this gem:

“This is the cheapest, easiest, and fastest way to put it back into service. You ve got nothing to lose.”

Seriously? He has a lot to lose since it s an irreplaceable family heirloom.

- Rich

I don’t take ‘before’ photos as I have no need to. I’m not the new refinishing guru. I made my suggestions from my own experience that have worked for me. I’ve seen many pieces like those in the photos and refinished many.

I’ve given my advice to someone who wants to restore a family heirloom to usefulness. It works for me. It will work for the OP.

Personally, I don’t care what you do or why you do it nor do you have the “Refinishing Authority” Badge to strut around like a noisy banty rooster.

The OP can do as he likes. I merely warned him about the patina-patooty crowd.

-- "A dying people tolerates the present, rejects the future, and finds its satisfactions in past greatness and half remembered glory" - John Steinbeck

View pottz's profile

pottz

5547 posts in 1402 days


#13 posted 06-27-2019 09:32 PM


The two folding chairs came from a damp basement with years of grit and grime. Here s quick photo to show you what a little effort can do.

- sgcz75b

No before photo? A blurry photo of a wooden folding chair doesn t do much to support your argument. If you re going to be the new refinishing guru you ll need a bit more of a portfolio.

I will say that given my experience, I find your methods you ve suggested in this thread to be very questionable, not to mention inconsistent. I also find it unusual that a self-professed refinisher with over 50 years of experience would make suggestions like those without seeing the piece.

Finally there s this gem:

“This is the cheapest, easiest, and fastest way to put it back into service. You ve got nothing to lose.”

Seriously? He has a lot to lose since it s an irreplaceable family heirloom.

- Rich

I don t take before photos as I have no need to. I m not the new refinishing guru. I made my suggestions from my own experience that have worked for me. I ve seen many pieces like those in the photos and refinished many.

I ve given my advice to someone who wants to restore a family heirloom to usefulness. It works for me. It will work for the OP.

Personally, I don t care what you do or why you do it nor do you have the “Refinishing Authority” Badge to strut around like a noisy banty rooster.

The OP can do as he likes. I merely warned him about the patina-patooty crowd.

- sgcz75b


for a new guy here you seem to be the one with the
‘authority attitude”.i agree with rich he has a family heirloom and surely doesn’t want to ruin it.wether your methods work or not thats yet to be determined.rich has a history here and having seen plenty of proof to his abilities id tend to ge with his recommendations over someone with nothing more than a fuzzy chair pic,we have no idea what it started out as.not only do you discredit the industry but many respected members here.you may want to use a friendlier tone.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View sgcz75b's profile

sgcz75b

72 posts in 178 days


#14 posted 06-27-2019 10:07 PM

You can go with whoever you want as it makes not one iota of difference to me. I just have a good BS and AH detector and it goes off around certain poster/pretenders.

I do discount posts from those unable to use proper punctuation, capital letters, and spell check.

You may want to use a dictionary and an English grammar book.

-- "A dying people tolerates the present, rejects the future, and finds its satisfactions in past greatness and half remembered glory" - John Steinbeck

View pottz's profile

pottz

5547 posts in 1402 days


#15 posted 06-27-2019 10:13 PM



You can go with whoever you want as it makes not one iota of difference to me. I just have a good BS and AH detector and it goes off around certain poster/pretenders.

I do discount posts from those unable to use proper punctuation, capital letters, and spell check.

You may want to use a dictionary and an English grammar book.

- sgcz75b


wow you are high and mighty arn’t you.im sorry i also forgot to say welcome to LUMBER JOCKS !!!!
i hope i spelled everything correctly for you!

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com