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 Post subject: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like? New
PostPosted: Feb Sun 03, 2019 11:22 pm 
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Refinishing cabinets is not a strongpoint with me so I brought this cabinet to a professional refinisher. There was a bunch of veneer work that needed to be done, and they did a great job of that but I think the finish could be better. They used a lacquer finish, and I asked them to not make it too glossy.

I am not too familiar with using grain filler, but I understand that it fills in the grain to produce a flat surface. (I think)

Please take look at the photo below, I know there is a bit of shine form the light but I think you can see what I mean. look at the lower right. Maybe it is OK and I am expecting too much.

If only Fred Taylor would move to Massachusetts :D

Russ


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nofiller.jpeg
nofiller.jpeg [ 150.24 KiB | Viewed 1806 times ]

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Last edited by radioalfa on Feb Fri 22, 2019 3:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Sun 03, 2019 11:25 pm 
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So if you run your hand over those speckles, does it feel smooth, or bumpy?

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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Sun 03, 2019 11:28 pm 
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fifties wrote:
So if you run your hand over those speckles, does it feel smooth, or bumpy?


If I use my fingernail I can feel that if finds the indentations of the grain. Overall, I would describe the finish as smooth.
I'll see if I can get a better photo.

Russ

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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Sun 03, 2019 11:31 pm 
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Here is another photo.

Russ


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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Sun 03, 2019 11:32 pm 
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We need an expert, like Fred, to comment as to whether the finish is correct or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 04, 2019 12:38 am 
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By the looks of the photos I would say that they did not use grain filler.
I think it should look smooth, even in the photos.
Dan in Calgary


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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 04, 2019 1:46 am 
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Doesn't look like any grain filler was used, grain filler would have filled most of the pores in the wood leaving a smoother finish. Mahogany wood is known for much open grain while walnut does not have much open grain. Grain filling is an extra step one would take for a smoother better looking finish in heavy open grain woods such as Mahogany. Grain filling is what I do on most of on my radios that have mahogany veneer, some walnut veneers have some lite open grain and can be filled in or not depending on how smooth you want it. Sometimes being to smooth may take away the from the antique look and true age of the cabinet making it look fake or over done. Also having ( some) open pores is common looking even on new furniture, your radio in picture does not look too bad in those pictures but could have been smoother , I do see that maybe some toning could have been done, is that an RCA tombstone cabinet? I would have used grain filler on that cabinet, when using a wood refinisher on your radios I would have asked them to use a grain filler to get that smoother finish, also you may want to show them some good quality pictures of how you want your radio to look. Don't assume they know how the radio should look or if you wanting some age to remain ( patina) when its finished which some toning alone may accomplish.


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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 04, 2019 2:16 am 
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Sorry, but you got a crappie finish there. The original would have had the grain filled. I would bring it back and if he is a stand up guy, he would fix it.


Last edited by Scott on Feb Mon 04, 2019 2:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 04, 2019 2:18 am 
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Hi Fred, thanks for the input! You are correct it is an RCA 10T. If there is a next time I’ll will be sure to ask for grain filler, and I’ll do better job of explaining what I expect.

Russ

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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 04, 2019 2:20 am 
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Scott wrote:
Sorry, but you got a crappie finish there.


Yup, maybe next time I’ll have them fix veneer issues and try to put the finish on myself.

Russ

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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 04, 2019 10:49 am 
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I wouldn't be too disappointed with it and maybe after a while not at all :)

It may well have had some grain filler but not enough as mahogany is terrible to fill completely, certainly over here with a limited choice of grain fillers. Now days I usually fill it 3 or more times before I move on.

I have a large Marconi that I refinished in my early days and it is under grain filled for the purists but someone more practical said "I reckon that's how it probably looked from the factory". What you have will improve with polishing over the years, mine has. I use the Renaissance wax that museums use.

And of course you are looking at it really close up and angling it to see the lack of filling. In use you wont be doing that a few months down the road.

Cabinet corner from 6" away :) Corners are the worst place not that I think of it like that now.
Attachment:
561 and grain filling.jpg
561 and grain filling.jpg [ 97.19 KiB | Viewed 1739 times ]

From usable range and light it is still one beautiful radio. Dial is from Radio Daze BTW: Boy! is it good.
Attachment:
561 front lit WEB.jpg
561 front lit WEB.jpg [ 137.72 KiB | Viewed 1739 times ]


Gary


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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 04, 2019 6:30 pm 
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Might have been nicer if they had rubbed it out and buffed it.

Many "refinishers" use a less-glossy finish so that poorly filled grain does not show as much. "Less gloss" should be achieved in the final polish (as was not done).

If I had it, I would sand lightly - fill the grain - top coat - rub-out - polish, also add toner as needed.

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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 04, 2019 10:03 pm 
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Bottom line is it looks refinished, and does not look period correct. Many people mistakenly think it's OK to turn out work that looks like this. I don't refinish cabinets because it's too hard to make them look right, but I haven't seen very many so-called professional refinishers (people who are in a business charging money for their work) who can do an acceptable job on radio cabinets.

It would have had a perfectly smooth finish when new, which means they either had to use filler or use many coats of lacquer and sand between them. Easier to use filler......

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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 04, 2019 11:41 pm 
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The plus side is your happy with the work they did on the veneer. The minus is the little holes and the pro's here agree that it doesn't look like grain filler was used. Not to shiny is a variable where Semi Gloss to one may look Glossy to another. You can knock down the gloss. If it were mine. I would do what phlogiston recommended and I'm not a cabinet restorer. I had a small speaker that had holes like yours. I asked for help here and got a lot of help starting all over again. Greg walked me through the grain filler part. Very time consuming. Fill, wait, sand. Four times I did that mostly because I wasn't sure how many times is correct. It came out beautiful after toning. Now if I can do it. You can do it. When done, you will feel like a million bucks because you pulled off something you didn't think you could do.
I think you do have a very pretty cabinet there so far.

Freeman


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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 05, 2019 12:16 am 
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phlogiston wrote:
Might have been nicer if they had rubbed it out and buffed it.

Many "refinishers" use a less-glossy finish so that poorly filled grain does not show as much. "Less gloss" should be achieved in the final polish (as was not done).

If I had it, I would sand lightly - fill the grain - top coat - rub-out - polish, also add toner as needed.




Sorry for quoting myself, but, I need to add for anyone interested:

If you attempt to fill the grain as I described, The filler would need to be something like Chrystalac or similar that can be used on existing finish - not a clay filler.

Or, by the French polish method -

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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 05, 2019 2:34 am 
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Thanks for all of your replies! I am bringing it back though the refinisher does not seem too happy about it. In addition to the finish issue, if you look at the second photo you can see a groove that runs from top to bottom about a 1/4 inch from the side. To me it looks like it is a mark left from a tool used during stripping perhaps.

I do like phlogiston's idea, and it happens I do have some Crystalac on hand. As I think about this, I would like the refinisher to address the groove issue but leave the finish alone. I will try the method of lightly sanding, filling, rub-out, and polish. That might help me to overcome my fear of cabinet work. Freeman, thanks for the vote of confidence.

Russ

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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 05, 2019 2:45 am 
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Forgot to ask, what grit sandpaper would be best for this process?

Thanks,

Russ

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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 05, 2019 2:49 am 
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Nothing wrong with that finish as far as I can see. After all its not new or a museum quality piece. I have seen a lot worse, even some that still had brush fibers dust embalmed in the finish. Some time looking for all the imperfections will drive you nuts. Be Happy- Don't worry.

The main thing, does it play???

Grit? No, use #400 Steel wool.
Maybe another coat of a thinner finish to fill in, now that its sealed, but what do I know?

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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 05, 2019 3:08 am 
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radioalfa wrote:
Forgot to ask, what grit sandpaper would be best for this process?

Thanks,

Russ



600 Wet for sanding prior to grain fill - 320 wet if you are very careful and in a hurry.

French polish using as above, then recoat with lacquer or sanding sealer which will build faster but can reduce clarity of the finish. Then progress to 1000 wet, recoat with gloss lacquer - repeat, sanding and recoating. The last coat should be sanded with 1000 wet LIGHTLY, then 1500 wet. Then machine buff using 3M compound (kind of expensive).

The effective-ness of sand papers varies with brand/price. It is best to get the expensive stuff @ ~ $1 sheet.

One issue with French polish is a heavy build-up in corners and other hard to sand places. A build-up will not look too bad at first but usually cracks and collects dirt/old polish/compound.

Remember to wait days between coats (at least 1 or 2) and weeks prior to polishing.

This is more difficult using rattle cans as compared to a sprayer.

P.S. any toner should be added after the sealer is sanded. Toner should not be applied to bare wood (in case of a sand through).

Good luck

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 Post subject: Re: Is this what a refinish without grain filler looks like?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 05, 2019 3:14 am 
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Whatever you paid, it was too much if they skipped the grain filler. Just look at it with a magnifier. Is the wood grain filled or not? Grain filling is not difficult, especially with the Timbermate grain filler.

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