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Crazed French Polished tabletop

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Crazed French Polished tabletop

Postby Cabinetman » 20 May 2022, 21:48

This is a picture of soon to be step- daughter's new table, a very good make here in the US made around 1979 and due to humidity and temperature variations this brickwork like crazing is showing itself in patches, this is a known problem over here, done a bit of research which suggests that after removing all dirt grime and possible silicone it should be lightly sanded until the top of the stain is reached and then re-bodied up using shellac/French polish.
My thought is that after a clean and a light rubbing with some 0000 steel wool, I go over it over with a rubber that will fill in the cracks maybe even melting and blending with the original surface.
Then a thin layer all over the table, as you can imagine I am very loath to sand most of the surface away!
Any thoughts, ( my first thought was to run a mile) Ian

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Re: Crazed French Polished tabletop

Postby Trevanion » 20 May 2022, 22:39

No harm in trying I would imagine, even if you reduce the amount it stands out by half it will be a significant improvement. I'd be tempted to use a fine Mirlon as that won't leave strands in the finish like 0000 wire wool will if you use it in combination with some methylated spirits to clean the surface. If it doesn't improve you can always fall back on Plan A.
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Re: Crazed French Polished tabletop

Postby Cabinetman » 20 May 2022, 23:31

Ok thanks, yes I take your point - nothing ventured etc, I’ve never used it, what grade do you think I should use? Ian
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Re: Crazed French Polished tabletop

Postby droogs » 21 May 2022, 08:55

After giving the top a good clean (probably using a scraper using very light strokes) if you have one of those infra red heaters put that opposite the crazed area and leave for about 30 mins to warm up the area slowly and then using a 2lb cut in your rubber go over the area. the heat will help the "naptha" melt and blend the old and new shellac. It will take a good few coats. Leave to dry and then redo if needed or switch to a 1lb cut to flash off the whole surface.
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Re: Crazed French Polished tabletop

Postby AJB Temple » 21 May 2022, 09:40

I have seen this once of twice years ago in newish violins. The received wisdom from luthiers at the time was too much oil in or on the wood when the instrument was polished. The remedy was strip the entire finish back, thorough rub with alcohol and then re-polish. However, I am not a FP expert.
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Re: Crazed French Polished tabletop

Postby Trevanion » 21 May 2022, 09:45

Cabinetman wrote:Ok thanks, yes I take your point - nothing ventured etc, I’ve never used it, what grade do you think I should use? Ian


The grey stuff, I think it's the equivalent of 1200 grit sandpaper.
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Re: Crazed French Polished tabletop

Postby Cabinetman » 21 May 2022, 14:15

droogs wrote:After giving the top a good clean (probably using a scraper using very light strokes) if you have one of those infra red heaters put that opposite the crazed area and leave for about 30 mins to warm up the area slowly and then using a 2lb cut in your rubber go over the area. the heat will help the "naptha" melt and blend the old and new shellac. It will take a good few coats. Leave to dry and then redo if needed or switch to a 1lb cut to flash off the whole surface.

Thanks Droogs, I hadn’t thought about using heat, You say it will help the naphtha melt the old so it blends in with the new shellac, l suppose too much heat would evaporate the naptha too quickly? But thanks yes this is the sort of effect I was hoping for so that I didn’t have to remove all the old, good tip thanks!
Thanks Trevanion, that’s good and fine.
Not sure Adrian about too much oil as I’m fairly sure it would have been a spray finish to start with, it was made by a company called Henkel Harris who make tons of repro Georgian furniture- but very well. Ian
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