Project Log -- Sewing Cabinet

A good friend brought this Sewing Cabinet to me to see what I could do with it.  It's clearly fairly old, and just as clearly has seen some rough use.  On top of that, the old finish, apparently shellac, had absorbed decades of gunge and crud until it was just about opaque.  While I had serious doubts about being able to clean the existing finish up to a point where it would be serviceable again, I agreed to try a cleaning, first. 

 The closeup of the top below is representative of the condition of the rest of the piece.  Cleaning quickly became an unrealistic task.  I consulted with my friend and we decided that, as the piece was going to be displayed and used, a refinishing was the best course of action.  So, I went ahead and started stripping the finish.
 SURPRISE!!!  Beneath all of that crud is a beautiful slab of Mahogany.  As I went along the whole piece just revealed more and more beautifully grained and figured wood.  This is what I love about this work. 
 Closeup of the top after stripping

 Another challenge was that one of the legs was seriously damaged.  The top had split and would no longer hold the mounting stud.  I had to rebuild the piece with putty and epoxy.

Finally, I had the whole thing stripped to bare wood.  I tinted it lightly with some cherry oil-based stain to even the color out.

 Below is the top section after the first couple of base coats.  We selected a high gloss lacquer for the finish.  My favorite lacquer is Behlen's.  It's pricey, but the results are worth it.  The best flow out of any product I've ever worked with.
 The last few pictures show the piece with the top coat about 80% buffed out.  Another buffing cycle all around and this one is ready to deliver.


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