This Edwardian era desk had survived a house fire and was taken to a refinishing company with the request that it be cleaned and polished. At that time the original finish existed in good condition save for some dirt and minor blushing due to moisture damage. Unfortunately, it was stripped, sanded and refinished with a semi opaque, brown mahogany oil stain and a couple of coats of tung oil. As a result, its owner later delivered the piece to Hander Woodworking with a unique request, "Please try to duplicate the old finish it once had. It once had such a lovely glow and patina."
Hander Woodworking had spent years matching new wood to old wood so the techniques were not new to them, but they had never reconstructed the entire, "original" finish of a refinished antique and that made the challenge intriguing since there was no longer an "old" finish to match.
The desk was stripped and at once it was clear that it had been sanded and sanded unevenly; the result being that in some minor areas the old patina still remained, but the majority of the patina had been remove in uneven patches. This created the need to bleach the wood to begin a process of imitating the old patina. Fortunately, using the remaining areas of old patina as a guide, using Hander Woodworking's previous experiences with antique Cuban mahogany patinas, and with the desk owner's direction, the previous color was once again discovered. Unfortunately, the uneven sanding required that the desk be re-sanded rather heavily to even the tones out.
Once that was done, the piece was bleached and the coloring process with dyes was begun. A coat of one pound cut shellac was applied and then sanded the next day. A glaze was mixed and applied to further enhance the depth of color and then successive coats of specially toned, 2 pound cut shellac were applied. The piece was ultimately French polished and then buffed and waxed to a satin sheen.