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I am looking for help please.

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  • I am looking for help please.

    I am cleaning up an old chest for a friend that was past down from (at least) her great grandparents. It's home built. I would like to be able to refresh the black background, but I am not sure on what that black is and the best way to do it. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    I've added 2 photos in the hope they will help.

    Thanks in advance
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    This gallery has 2 photos.

  • #2
    Looks like an antique. I would leave it as is. The back ground could be lamp black, coffee,paint or tar and lacquer. Check with a furniture restoration specialist.

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    • #3
      Depends on what your intention is and how old this is. If you want to preserve an antique then you need to have a professional do the work. If it is just to clean up and refresh....I have one question why is the black shiny, did you spray or oil it? Since it has what on it? It is very difficult to give a clear answer if it is oiled, waxed or lacquer...a new finish will pop off with time. Most old things were stained black often with shoe polish, which is a temporary fix. Honestly, perhaps that is the best way to address this. Another way to do it would be to add an oil wood stain, but you will have to be careful and use a small brush on the area that is to be stained only Mini Wax is a good choice...be careful not to get the stain on areas you do not want to color, old wood soaks up anything you put on it and impossible to get off once put on.
      . Explore! Dream! Discover!” aloha Di

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      • #4
        Looks very early American and would also check with antique sites and see if you can find something that looks similar. The crosses look like Knight's Templar. If I read it right it says 1733 and that could be a clue. Before tacking anything with it I'd research the symbols. All in all it is a very nice piece.

        Please keep us posted....
        Last edited by woodburner807; 06-19-2021, 10:45 AM. Reason: grammar
        Bill
        Living among knives and fire.

        http://www.texaswoodartist.com

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        • #5
          The background was textured with a stamping tool, then stained with a black (or very dark) stain. I recommend that you not alter it unless there is a major defect or damage.
          The stamping tool was made by filing the desired pattern on the end of a steel rod. It was held vertically and hammered into the background wood. Bear in mind that the oak wood is now very dry and resistant to repeating the process.
          Last edited by pallin; 06-19-2021, 12:37 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Dileon View Post
            Depends on what your intention is and how old this is. If you want to preserve an antique then you need to have a professional do the work. If it is just to clean up and refresh....I have one question why is the black shiny, did you spray or oil it? Since it has what on it? It is very difficult to give a clear answer if it is oiled, waxed or lacquer...a new finish will pop off with time. Most old things were stained black often with shoe polish, which is a temporary fix. Honestly, perhaps that is the best way to address this. Another way to do it would be to add an oil wood stain, but you will have to be careful and use a small brush on the area that is to be stained only Mini Wax is a good choice...be careful not to get the stain on areas you do not want to color, old wood soaks up anything you put on it and impossible to get off once put on.
            Sorry, I have no idea why the black is shiny, I haven’t touched it…too afraid to without expert advice. Plus, it’s anyone’s guess what the various owners have, or have not, done to it. I think the best course of action for all advice is to leave it alone.

            Thank you all.

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            • #7
              That's beautiful. Got to love quarter-sawn white oak, for sure. I'd also leave it as-is, unless the owner is determined to do something to it. That wear only improves the charm, in my book.

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              • #8
                You are absolutely correct, leave it alone. Anything done except by a qualified expert will just destroy any value it has as an antique. It has earned all of its patina, bumps and bruises.
                Arthur

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dileon View Post
                  I have one question why is the black shiny
                  Apologies for a late reply, but I’ve not been working on it for a while. There is a panel on the bottom that appears to have been coated with a dark varnish, which looks the same as the background to the carving. Both dark and shiny. I presume this was all done at the same time.

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