Identification of wood and advice on cleaning up a wooden table
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  1. #1
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    Question Identification of wood and advice on cleaning up a wooden table

    Got a wooden table we keep in the kitchen, which has taken a fair battering in recent years. I'd like to re-finish it and apply some sort of protective coating to the wood. The wood is a native New Zealand timber, and it's developed some cracks around the edges over the years. I was thinking restoring it would be a matter of sanding it down a bit, filling the cracks in with wood filler or something similar, and then applying a coating of some variety. This is my first time working on a wood project like this, and I'd like some advice if possible.

    2020-02-12-12.29.25.jpg2020-02-12-12.29.10.jpg2020-02-12-12.23.17.jpg2020-02-12-12.29.25.jpg

    I'm pretty sure the legs of the table are Rata, but as for the rest of the table I'm not sure, except that it's a native wood. My guesses are Kahikatea or Hinau.

    Here's a list of common NZ timbers: The Timber Arts Forest - Timber Arts New Zealand

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

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    Quote Originally Posted by MicroTransaction View Post
    Got a wooden table we keep in the kitchen, which has taken a fair battering in recent years. I'd like to re-finish it and apply some sort of protective coating to the wood. The wood is a native New Zealand timber, and it's developed some cracks around the edges over the years. I was thinking restoring it would be a matter of sanding it down a bit, filling the cracks in with wood filler or something similar, and then applying a coating of some variety. This is my first time working on a wood project like this, and I'd like some advice if possible.

    2020-02-12-12.29.25.jpg2020-02-12-12.29.10.jpg2020-02-12-12.23.17.jpg2020-02-12-12.29.25.jpg

    I'm pretty sure the legs of the table are Rata, but as for the rest of the table I'm not sure, except that it's a native wood. My guesses are Kahikatea or Hinau.

    Here's a list of common NZ timbers: The Timber Arts Forest - Timber Arts New Zealand

    Any help would be greatly appreciated
    My bets are that the table is Rimu or Southland Beech, simply because they were the timbers used for such items. Rata is very difficult to dry and work and simply wouldn't have made it to the factory. Hinau was specialist use and Kaik too, although Kaik will be full of borer by now.

    The finish will be a shellac base and as such will come off easily with Methylated spirit and a scotchbrite pad. Refinish is up to you but the stain on the wood and the original rough sanding on the legs may be an issue in achieving an even finish. Suggest Danish oil finish in several rubbed coats if you have never refinished furniture before.

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    Do at least 2 applications of oil finish if going that route. Dampen surface after with a wet sponge and the grain will raise. Lightly sand it down when dry and oil again. Always apply the oil finish with either a scotch bright pad or steel wool. In either case take all rags used in wiping down outside and burn them, or seal inside a can full of water. But get them out of your house. Some oils, like Tung oil, have driers in them that are prone to spontaneous combustion. Reports of some rags soaked in water and left is a covered trash can. And smoke and flames erupted the next morning when the can was opened.

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    Instead of a wood filler from a can:
    I fill small voids with residual sanding dust from the same type of wood mixed with glue.
    For large voids I glue in small pieces of same type wood.

    Wood finish 1st stage:
    1/3 tung oil
    1/3 linseed oil
    1/3 varnish
    Wipe with a rag and apply at least 3 times.

    Wood finish 2nd stage:
    1/2 tung oil
    1/2 linseed oil
    heat mixture in container with boiling water and add flakes of beeswax so that mixture looks like a heavy cream. Let cool.
    Wipe with a rag and apply at least 3 times or more depending on desired gloss.

    It's a lot of hand work. But I have finished wood with this method and it's better than anything that comes off the shelf.
    If you want something quick then use Homer Formby tung oil finish.

    This method demands that you wait at least 24 hours between each wipe down. So it's going to take some time. You can always
    touch up in the future. Been using this method for more than 20 years.

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    Heya, sorry for not responding, been busy. Table ended up being made out of Kauri, and I've since taken it apart, made new dowels, sanded it down and then applied 3 costs of Danish oil. I've also had to replace 2 pieces that had split, and am headed to my grandfather's cause he has the tools to drill the holes for dowels in the new parts. Filled in cracks with sanding dust then sealed it in with glue, which has given me good results.

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    Danish oil or tung oil is great and easy, but if you want something a bit tougher I like the blue deft lacquer finish.


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