Mid-Century United Dresser Set – Refinished Using Dye Stain Under Oil Stain

United dresser set refinish.

I am NOT an expert and I don’t even play one on TV.**

I just thought I’d share the process I used in my first effort at using a dye stain layered beneath an oil stain in an attempt to give a little depth and warmth to the finish on this set.

The original finish was similar to a blonde finish, though in a different color/tone.

United dresser set as purchased at auction.
United dresser set as purchased at auction.
The first step was to strip off the old finish. I used Klean Strip 15 minute variety. (sorry, I forgot to take a pic of the can so I swiped an image from the interwebs). After scraping the stripper I washed with Lacquer thinner; would have used straight Acetone but I was out.
The first step was to strip off the old finish. I used Klean Strip 15 minute variety. (sorry, I forgot to take a pic of the can so I swiped an image from the interwebs).
After scraping the stripper I washed with Lacquer thinner; would have used straight Acetone but I was out.
Once the finish was removed I sanded with 150 and then 180 grit.
Once the finish was removed I sanded with 150 and then 180 grit.
After sanding came the dye stain. I went with TransTint orange mixed in water. I chose water because it would give me a little more open time. I figured that, being new to this, I might need some extra time to move the color around to blend out any potential streaks or runs.
After sanding came the dye stain. I went with TransTint orange mixed in water. I chose water because it would give me a little more open time. I figured that, being new to this, I might need some extra time to move the color around to blend out any potential streaks or runs.
United low-boy, dye stained orange.
United low-boy, dye stained orange.
The next step after the dye was a sealer coat of dewaxed shellac. I happened to have enough Ruby that I had mixed for another project left over so I used that.   I had this thinned to a 1 pound cut. When spraying you have to adjust your fluid and air flow rates (if using a compressor set-up) and have to make sure you move the gun at the right speed so you get an even application but don't deposit so much material that you get runs and sags.
The next step after the dye was a sealer coat of dewaxed shellac. I happened to have enough Ruby that I had mixed for another project left over so I used that.
I had this thinned to a 1 pound cut. When spraying you have to adjust your fluid and air flow rates (if using a compressor set-up) and have to make sure you move the gun at the right speed so you get an even application but don’t deposit so much material that you get runs and sags.
After a little light sanding I applied General Finishes Mahogany stain.
After a little light sanding I applied General Finishes Mahogany stain.
Here's the hi-boy post stain application.
Here’s the hi-boy post stain application.
Once the stain had dried, I gave it two + days, I laid down several (3-4) coats of 1 pound cut SealCoat de-waxed shellac. I didn't have enough of the ruby left and was able to pick this up at a local shop so I could move the project forward.
Once the stain had dried, I gave it two + days, I laid down several (3-4) coats of 1 pound cut SealCoat de-waxed shellac. I didn’t have enough of the ruby left and was able to pick this up at a local shop so I could move the project forward.
Up after the shellac were a few coats of lacquer. Went with Watco Satin, thinned about 25% on the first two coats, and then about 50% on a final coat.
Up after the shellac were a few coats of lacquer. Went with Watco Satin, thinned about 25% on the first two coats, and then about 50% on a final coat.
United low-boy all finished. Hoping it has a nice glowing orange, Mahogany look.
United low-boy all finished. Hoping it has a nice glowing orange, Mahogany look.

**Editor’s note: It is obvious that Erik wrote this post because he immediately starts out by downplaying any of the skill he has earned over the 6 years he’s been working on refinishing furniture. His education started long before that, when he was a boy watching his Grandma Lillian refinishing furniture. Erik’s work speaks for itself and I’m pretty sure most of the pieces he’s refinished are very happy with their new look (as are the customers who purchase them). – Mary

 

Making a Table Top

The business of Erik G. Warner Decorative Salvage (formerly Mid-Century Vibe) is constantly shifting as the market shifts. Any  number of factors can cause these alterations in our business model. These include customers’ tastes changing over time, our inability to find enough mid-century modern pieces to refinish, a change in our interests regarding merchandise, or a particular customer demand we see. For example, we are moving away from selling small household items because Erik has become more interested in designing and building furniture. (He is keeping YouTube busy with all the woodworking videos he is watching.)

We were in the shop yesterday building a prototype for a coffee table. We’re still in the construction phase, so no pics to show yet.

Today we were back in the shop, learning how to use the router and a circle jig. We purchased the circle router from Rockler in order to make round table tops. Erik discovered that our old router would not fit the jig, so, after reading the jig’s packaging to determine which routers it would work with, he went and bought a new router.

We got the router set up and went to attach it to the jig. It was supposed to attach via 3 holes in the router. We could not find 3 holes on the jig that would align properly with the router. We worked at this for probably an hour, thinking we had to be missing something, but, no, the jig simply wouldn’t align with our new router. We were not happy campers.

I suggested we use the Rockler jig to create our own jig, which is exactly what we did.

This Rockler circle jig makes for a very expensive circle jig pattern because it does not align with our router. January 2017, photo by Mary Warner.
This Rockler circle jig makes for a very expensive circle jig pattern because it does not align with our router. January 2017, photo by Mary Warner.
Erik Warner at the band saw, cutting out a new circle jig. January 2017, photo by Mary Warner.
Erik Warner at the band saw, cutting out a new circle jig. January 2017, photo by Mary Warner.
Router attached to our new handmade circle jig. We used the Rockler jig as a guide when routing around the edge of our new jig. Then we used screws to attach our router to the new jig, creating the holes we needed, where we needed them. January 2017, photo by Mary Warner.
Router attached to our new handmade circle jig. We used the Rockler jig as a guide when routing around the edge of our new jig. Then we used screws to attach our router to the new jig, creating the holes we needed, where we needed them. January 2017, photo by Mary Warner.

Once we finished making the jig, we turned our attention to making the small table top (23″ diameter) that we intended to make with the Rockler jig. You can see the table top next to the router and jig in the photo above.

Here it is again, in all its glory. In order to finish it, Erik will attach edge banding, stain it and lacquer it. We are incredibly pleased with the result so far, especially after problem-solving the non-working jig.

Unfinished round table top made of walnut plywood by Erik & Mary Warner. January 2017, photo by Mary Warner.
Unfinished round table top made of walnut plywood by Erik & Mary Warner. January 2017, photo by Mary Warner.

We’re Bona Fide!!! (with apologies to the Coen brothers)

The new home of Erik G. Warner Decorative Salvage - August 2015
The new home of Erik G. Warner Decorative Salvage – August 2015

 

Good news! Erik G. Warner Decorative Salvage has a new home (which is why we now feel bona fide) in Little Falls, MN.

It’s been a long time coming. We lost the shop space we were renting last November. Erik searched for other rental possibilities but couldn’t find anything appropriate. As winter turned to spring, he started looking for buildings to purchase. This particular one was not yet for sale, but Erik contacted the owners and they said they had been intending to list it. We agreed on a purchase price and had a closing date set in May.

Alas! The May date was fouled up by some title issues that took time to work through. We officially closed on the building last Monday. Woohoo!

Appropriately enough, our “new” shop is a mid-century building, having been constructed in the 1960s. Note the lovely turquoise siding. Like most of the furniture we pick to restore, this building needs a lot of TLC, which we will give it as we can afford to make improvements. (For those interested in the history of the building, it originally served to house garbage trucks and was most recently used for vehicle storage.)

We’ve started on renovations, with Erik and our son Sebastian building shelves to store furniture and spending the entire past week moving accumulated inventory into the space.

New shelving at EGW Decorative Salvage holding chair inventory, August 2015.
New shelving at EGW Decorative Salvage holding chair inventory, August 2015.

Purchasing this shop would not have been possible without the help of Erik’s parents, who provided some capital toward the project, and our credit union, which had faith in our vision. The previous owners, Lynn and Keith, allowed us to use the shop through the summer and paint a room for our photo studio. Thanks to everyone who has assisted us in growing our business.