Absolute beginners advice on how to refinish mahogany sideboard


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Old 04-03-24, 06:14 AM
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Absolute beginners advice on how to refinish mahogany sideboard

Hi,

I got this secondhand mahogany sideboard and would like to refinish it. I'm not really sure where to start. Do I just sand it all down and then re-varnish it? I'm happy to go and do my research on how to tackle the process, but wondered if there is anything specific I need to be aware of before I start.




 
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Old 04-03-24, 06:44 AM
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If that sideboard is an antique I would either leave it alone or have it professionally restored.

If you decide to DIY it don't start sanding until you are positive that none of the wood is a veneer.
 
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Old 04-03-24, 07:02 AM
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leave it alone or have it professionally restored
I absolutely agree and second that opinion. That looks like veneer which is very a very thin wood overlay and will be destroyed very quickly by and sanding.

The best DIY would be light cleaning with a damp cloth. If there are areas that need repair or refinishing (NOT recommended), leave it to the professionals. Otherwise accept any flaws as characteristics of a well used and cherished antique.

Adjusting doors or drawers that bind or rub and are pulling or chipping the veneer should be considered to prevent further damage.
 
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Old 04-03-24, 07:26 AM
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I can almost guarantee that that furniture is veneered so any sanding or stripping needs to be done very carefully. Often, if it was stained you have to sand almost completely through the veneer to remove the stain. And if stripping is done incorrectly the chemicals will attack the glue holding the veneer in place. Both options can easily ruin the piece. Refinishing furniture is quite expensive. You might find that having it refinished or even paying someone to just strip it may be far more expensive than what you paid for it.


I would strongly consider just leaving it as is. Consider the bumps and scratches "patina". A mark of a antique.
 
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Old 04-03-24, 07:38 AM
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Thank you all. Really useful comments. I think I will just clean it, give it some TLC and maybe clean and fix the handles. I paid 60 for it ($75) so it's not worth getting it professionally refinished. I'm not sure how old it is, I will see if I can find any marks on it when I get home!
 
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Old 04-03-24, 07:53 AM
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There's also a pretty high chance from the age and appearance that you have a wax finish -shellac, (not a varnish) and if so it can be polished (French polishing).
 
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