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Need help on cabinet finnish issue......

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Need help on cabinet finnish issue...... Empty Need help on cabinet finnish issue......

Post by Bill Cahill on Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:42 pm

I have an Edison Mahaganny Diamond Disc Phonograph dating to approximately 1912-1914.
I had been glueing loose joints, and, a broken leg on it. That's fine.
I decided to clean original finnish, rather than totally re finnish it because most of the finnish is still fairly decent....
NOw, here;s my point....
On the top lid, where the wood is curved on four sides, and, that is solid wood there, I did alot of cleanning to rid it of dirt, alligatoring, and, wax.
Unfortunately, it dulle alot, so, I dedided to add a light coat as a helper.
The problem is I used lacqueer. Clear, that is..
After about four months, I got all these nasty specks on two of the sides. I thought it was finnish flaking down to the wood. For the heck of it, I carefull scratcehd them off along the grain with my finger nail.

NOw, the specks are mostly gone, and, it is back to looking bretty good. But, now, I'm wondering. Did lacquer exist then, and, would they have used that, or, would they have used varnish back then??
If the answer is varnish, is lacquer safe over it, or, do I need to clean off lacquer, and, add varnish, instead???
Bill Cahill

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Post by alfort on Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:55 am

Bill, my guess is the spots were bleeding of the end grain that had absorbed whatever you cleaned it up with.  If the wood was a course grain wood this may be more prevalent.  I've seen it on flat surfaces of oak months after the top coat was put on and dried.  I don't know where you live but, if you worked on the cabinet in humid weather and then the air became dry (like in winter), the dryer air will pull out the moisture that was sealed in the wood by the finish.

Just a guess.

Al
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Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:14 am

I live in Florida, but, room is airconditionned at that time of year.
Is it o.k. to use the lacquer for touch up? I think, though I'm not positive, original finnish was varnish???
When did lacquer come into being??
It's not shelac because shelac cleans off easier, and, Varnish, and, lacqueer are more work.
Thanks.

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Post by alfort on Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:11 pm

Well, the basic answer as to how long has lacquer been around is thousands of years.  A more specific answer is that what we refer to lacquer now (nitrocellulose lacquer) has been around since the early 20's.  So, is it possible that nitro lacquer is on your cabinet, probably not, unless it's been refinished before.  Probably some kind of varnish, since you have already ruled out shellac.  Is it possible some old version of lacquer was used, I guess it's possible, but no clue as to what it might be.  There were different versions of it based on from what and how it was made.  I don't know much about them and don't think I have ever run into it.  Some of it was made from the same resins shellac is made from.

A basic rule of thumb when applying new finishes over old ones is to never put a harder one over a softer one.  The softer one will eventually lead to crazing of the harder one (years).  I guess the exception here is using a wash coat of shellac as a base coat sealer.
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Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:25 pm

Yes, but, varnish, and, lacquer seem to be the same hardness. I don't want to totally refinnish case because old finnish is still mostly good. But, there was some alligatoring, and, it was very dark with dirt, and, with alot of waxing over the years, which I had to remove. I have the grain showing wonderfully, with the return of most of the original color. Just that it had dulled some. That's why I wanted to add a coat to it...
That, and, at places it was thin. This cabinet had been handled alot in the last one hundred years.

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Post by Wildcat445 on Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:20 pm

I am not an expert in furniture refinishing by any means, but in auto refinishing if there is an issue with the finish in one area, it is usually best to start over and refinish the entire piece. You have bleeding in one area, which has been determined to be due to some kind of contamination. I would probably just refinish the whole cabinet after the cause of the contamination was found and the situation corrected.

Regards

WC

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Post by Ben Delk on Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:56 am

It could also be shellac. Here's how you know. Denatured alcohol will cut thru shellac and lacquer thinner will cut thru lacquer. Neihter , denatured alchol or lacquer thinner will cut polyurathane. Yes, lacquer can be applied over shellac after a light sanding. Shellac was the ealry version of todays "sander seal". But it is important to note the lacquer over sheallac should be applied in light coats with light sanding between coats to build up a smooth finish. Lacquer is about all I ever use on radio these days. If the radio cabinet needs refinishing I don't use harsh stripper. I start with steel wool and lacquer or denatured alcohol depending on the product required. I takes a bit more rubbing and you need a well ventilated area for lacquer thinner but it make for must better finish.
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Post by Bill Cahill on Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:15 pm

Well, after that first batch of pimples, nothing else has happenned.. Don't know why, but, finnish is now smooth, again. I have some minor touvh ups to do, but, that's all...
Finnish is back to being smooth.....

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Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:34 pm

Maybe there is moisture under the finish? Did the wood get wet or was it stored in a damp environment?

The only thing that I know of to remove polyurethane is "paint and poly remover" which is some pretty stern stuff.

Regards

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Post by Alan Douglas on Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:06 pm

Phonographs I believe generally had a finish based on shellac and other natural resins. Perhaps one of the resins was soluble in the lacquer or reacted with it.

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Post by neali on Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:05 am

Edison's definitley had a shellac finish. I had a 1915 vintage diamond disk player and it was crazed and black all over the outside but the inside was still perfect. I reflowed it with a thinned shellac, twice as much denatured alcohol as recomended. It looked better but not perfect.I didn't have the heart to refinish it and its new owner loved it the way it was.

The biggest problem with Edison DD players was that Edison chose the music. I have thirty or so records and there were only a couple I could bear listening to.

Please post some pictures.

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Post by Bill Cahill on Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:04 am

That one had been stored in a damp place by someone before I got it. It was very moldy when I got it. Had a lot of cleaning to do. No more pimples have happened since.....
I must admit, for some reason, good titles on DD are hard to come by. A shame, as, these machines are excellent quality....
Haven't felt well enough to do any more work on it, but, have been enjoying playing it. If you look at my morignal post on the Edison model A150 Diamond Disc restoration, you will see many pictures. The only addition is finding a correct original horn grill for it, which is now on machine. I posted a video at early stage on photobucket, but, video portion seems to have disappeared, though audio is still there.
I really like these machines.

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Post by neali on Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:12 am

I really like them also. It is just amazing cranking one of these that was made 99 years ago and still works perfectly. Still works during a blackout. If some sort of apocalypse happened, we would be listening to music on machines like this. Built to last.

It is fun to demonstrate these to friends and tell them the origin of "put a sock in it" when they see the volume control. DD players are a blast. And with the 78 adapter, you can play some pretty modern music on them.

I'll always regret selling mine but I had to downsize. Fast.

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