Friday, April 1, 2011

Mahogany Coffee Table


Hi, I'm back with another refinishing project. This time I refinished a mahogany coffee table top I designed and built 7 or 8 years ago. I originally finished it with Tried and True Varnish Oil. It looked great for a while but then it began to loose its luster. I guess from the abuse, I mean use, it endured through the years. 

This time around I'm going to use boiled linseed oil, shellac, and wax to finish the top. It going to look great and might last longer than 7 yrs and I have a short video at the end (wahoo!)...


First off, I sand down to the bare wood, I sure there might be some varnish left behind from the last application but it'll be minimal and will not affect the new finish. The picture below it how the top looks before any treatment. As you can see, its looking kind of sad...  :(


After a good sanding with 100 grit sandpaper, using my Festool Rotex set on the aggressive mode, it looks like this... (Notice there's no dust?? Not a photo trick, the picture was taken right after I finished sanding. The dust extractor is that good!!)

The first coat is a thin layer of boiled linseed oil. Apply just enough to spread the oil evenly across the wood. Then after a few minutes, wipe off the excess. Most of the oil will penetrate the surface. The picture below is how it looks wet...

After 24 hrs, the top looks like this...

Now for the next phase, I start applying the shellac. I'm using the unwaxed premix in the can, its just a little easier to get started with. The finish will look just as good if you mixed your own using the shellac flakes and alcohol.The pros like to adjust the ratio of alcohol to shellac for climate etc. The alcohol evaporates either way! Here's how it looks with the first coat of shellac...

After 24 hrs and before I sand with 400 grit paper, the top still needs work...

Ok, so now the shellac process begins. I sand with 400 grit with the grain, a light sanding, we just need a tooth for the next coat of shellac to adhere to. (Hmm, look at all that dust. If only I could attach my dust extractor to my sandpaper...) 

So, lets get rid of the dust, I use a dry tack cloth to remove as much of the dust as I can...

I apply the second coat of shellac and wait 24 hours.

Here's how it looks the next day...

So, now I sand, again...

After the last sanding, its starting to look good, its beginning to have an even shine.

I apply the third coat of shellac...

Now that you get the idea, shellac, sand, shellac, sand... I'll speed it up a bit. Below is the fourth coat...

I apply the fifth coat of shellac...

I apply the sixth coat of shellac... The more coats you apply the deeper the finish will be!

Ok, now for a video, short but gets the point across... The top now shines nice. But wait, we're not done! The next phase it to apply wax to the surface. Its the same process as the shellac process. Sand, wax, sand, wax, sand, wax. I like to wax until the entire surface is even, usually takes three coats. But just like shellac, the more coats the deeper the finish will appear! (Wax on, wax off).
video




As you can see by the reflection in the top (above), this method is pretty reliable and easy to achieve a great finish without spending a fortune. Time consuming, yes, but well worth the time.


Hope you liked this post, feel free to leave comments or suggestions!

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