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Thread: Howard Products

  1. #1
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    Default Howard Products

    Part of my wife’s inheritance was a ladies writing desk and a wall mounted display cabinet - pictures below.

    The wall cabinet only needs a “freshening up” but the desk has some loose joints and some staining.

    Both have been neglected for years.

    I want to give them both a clean up before assessing what else I need to do. I have read here, and read reviews of Howards RestorAfinish and want to know whether this is the right product to use for the initial clean up.

    B6FE78D2-C96D-4800-968C-D7599651BFE2.jpg6862E683-D415-4944-90C0-BEF6CBE21D1E.jpg

    At the front of the desk, around the key hole, is an embossed wooden shape that has some damage. They are oak so I’m wondering the best way to repair. I could cut the section out, back to the door surface then replace, but I’m not sure whether this is the best option. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    E3E7FFBF-F950-454C-9B55-D2C8ACEEECCE.jpg

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  3. #2
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    Lappa, I have used Howard's Feed N Wax on both old/dry pieces as well as a finish coat on new pieces, and it is excellent. On the latter, it can create a soft finish t=with some shine and "glow", while on the old and dry wood it breathes life and colour.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lappa View Post


    At the front of the desk, around the key hole, is an embossed wooden shape that has some damage. They are oak so I’m wondering the best way to repair. I could cut the section out, back to the door surface then replace, but I’m not sure whether this is the best option. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    E3E7FFBF-F950-454C-9B55-D2C8ACEEECCE.jpg

    Hi Lappa.

    That resembles a pierced brass escutcheon plate in its styling . Which was used on the original Georgian Oak Bureau's around the 1760s but its been cut from an Oak veneer and stuck down . Your piece is styled on that sort of thing and Its a nice touch . Shows the maker was putting in a bit of effort .

    Definitely don't remove it . Its 99 % there and just needs repairing nicely .

    First check for other loose parts of this by getting a corner of a chisel or something hard ,and press around it where it looks to be raised and around edges looking for movement. If you get the light reflecting on it the right way it will show up . No pressure hard enough to damage polish or wood. You could be gentle and see what may lift slightly as well . If you find loose spots and cant get under it from the side because its surrounded by good tight bits then you may have to slice through on a 45 degree angle to get glue in and if done neatly it becomes invisible when re glued.

    Identify that then glue it down . You want to press it down with blocks each side . I was talking here a while back here Help: Amateur restoring old bureau in post 7 about gluing with blocks and using heat . I wouldn't be doing that here with the rest of that veneer most likely having been glued down with hide glue . Just Titebond and plastic bag and cold blocks . Or hide glue and the same if you want to .

    Then get some Oak veneer that matches and cut those tiny patches and glue them down the same . level and try not to go to far into the other veneer. Touch out with colour and seal with shellac and match it in .

    It looks to me the reason that piece near the key hole came off is because a key or anything used as a key to get the flap open has chipped the veneer off. keys do a bit of damage around key holes and Brass escutcheons help avoid this.
    Your piece looks like it may have had the normal brass inserted escutcheon fitted and its also been lost . Do you have a key for the lock first ? If you have that then see if there is room around it for an escutcheon as well. A working key in the lock will open the flap well, anything not working or at least fitting the lock can stuff things up . The escutcheon goes first then the woodwork.

    Edit. Its a wonder its not a lot worse if this above has happened.
    Another way of telling if it had an escutcheon is to look inside and see where glue or gunk sat behind the escutcheon. Its almost possible to see that from your picture but I'm not seeing it . The angle or the light are not quite right .

    If there was never an escutcheon, then for the veneer not to chip off the woodwork would have to have been beveled back some when new . It would be obvious . It looks to sharp at the edges for this .

    So solve the key and lock first probably, then the woodwork .
    Let us know what you have and the exact height of the hole if you don't have parts, and lets see the lock type .
    There are some standard sizes and common lock types around this period. It doesn't mean a key will turn it but making one work can be very easy.


    Rob

  5. #4
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    If you cut right through and fit a slightly beveled patch down with the right piece of wood it will be hard to spot . Oak is an easy one for patching as well because the large open grain and any joins sort of blend and its hard to tell what is what. Id glue these in slightly long and trim after its dry with a razor sharp carving gouge. If you don't have that then a sharp knife . The key hole has to be spot on though, so what ever it takes to get that right . With the lock out a small rotary cutter would be good as well. like a pen size tool . I have an air powered one thats very good from ebay that I do all sorts of stuff with .

    E3E7FFBF-F950-454C-9B55-D2C8ACEEECCE13.jpg
    It looks like a flat side and a glue build up in there . = probable escutcheon. What was there though has a flat bottom and sharp bottom corners. Thats not the norm or what I would expect. Ill wait and see about a key fitting .

    E3E7FFBF-F950-454C-9B55-D2C8ACEEECCE123.jpg

    Ive never tried Howards products so don't know about that. I make all my own from raw ingredients.

    Rob

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    Thanks Rob.
    When I spoke sbout “ cutting a section out” I was thinking about doing what you proposed in your 2nd reply, not removing the embossing.

    You have good eyes picking up the key entry details from a big photo.I took another close up - hopefully it gives more detail - if needed.

    D9280134-EDAD-4C64-BC62-21720773F259.jpg

    My wife thought there was a key with it at her fathers house but she can’t find it as the furniture was moved out for storage in July.

    The lock is slotted into the door.

    B86D0866-05E1-4697-8547-2E164D883129.jpeg

    Should I remove it and see if I can find a key and then a matching escutcheon? Probably the best thing to do before I repair the embossed section.

    Thanks for your advice. Excellent as always.

    Peter

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lappa View Post
    Thanks Rob.
    When I spoke sbout “ cutting a section out” I was thinking about doing what you proposed in your 2nd reply, not removing the embossing.
    Ahh of course. I read it wrong. That's good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lappa View Post
    You have good eyes picking up the key entry details from a big photo.I took another close up - hopefully it gives more detail - if needed.

    D9280134-EDAD-4C64-BC62-21720773F259.jpg

    My wife thought there was a key with it at her fathers house but she can’t find it as the furniture was moved out for storage in July.
    I cant really see much more, there is a similar looking build up before the lock, probably what was built up behind the escutcheon . Yeah, remove the lock and get a key working for it . Then you will be able to see how much room there is for the escutcheon.
    If it never had one there wont be enough room and the woodwork would just allow the key in with the right amount of clearance. A larger gap and room to fit an escutcheon and the other things mentioned means put one back in. You could adjust a close one to fit the hole . Or enlarge the hole size to the next closest size.

    I mentioned the escutcheon shape is not the norm . I was meaning norm as in not English or Australian.The bottom of English style is usually curved. The lock is more the standard used in Europe or the Continent , the word sometimes used to describe such furniture. Auctioneers use "Continental piece" when they know its not English. Same with the Escutcheon . And with a closer look the handles possibly too . The style of the Glass cabinet looks the same . Did your Father in law have a euro connection ? Ive seen those sort of fittings on French German stuff. All sorts of places but its not an English way normally.

    You wont be able to buy such an escutcheon here I don't think . One with the sharp bottom corners. I only use one supplier here and they don't have them anyway. Like I said you could adjust one possibly . And its also possible to make them pretty easily . If you have a piece of brass sheet thick enough , a drill , a bandsaw or angle grinder and a couple of files. I made some to fit an Aussie Cedar chest a while back . Ill put a link in later with pictures . Instagram is playing up again .
    Here it is . Flick through the pics on this page .
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BUq9zuDF...=1s570tiirh3bu

    Rob

  8. #7
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    I am a great fan of Howard’s Restor-a-finish followed by their feed-and-wax. I have used it very recently when I used the neutral coloured restor-a-finish to remove decades of soot and cooking oils from an antique Chinese lacquered cabinet. It works as advertised and easily fixes small cracks, dings and even white cup rings. I have also pushed it very carefully to fix areas of much greater damage and have even applied it WITH shellac to close up and blend areas of totally lost finish. This latter method certainly isn’t in Howard’s recommendations but it works for me.
    .... if you can't see the bright side, polish the dull side

  9. #8
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    Thanks again. The wife found a bunch of keys. I found one that fits the lock perfectly but doesn’t turn the lock. That gives me a key size.

    81388347-374F-46CE-8301-52BCA97ED308.jpg0630B5FB-2105-4679-BC80-E76BAA9AB1EF.jpg

    My wife’ family (Grandparents and Parents) came from Holland. The grandparents were well-to- do and brought some furniture with them from Holland and Indonesia. The small cupboard I restored about 12 months ago was my MIL’s fathers and came from Holland.


    Ratting through my pile of bits and piuces I found an escutcheon that has the inner sharp edges you mentioned. It suits the key and fits the gap in the door, snug in some areas but a few tiny gaps in spots.

    F3F56561-6724-44D3-A3B2-47EECC5D39FC.jpg

    Thanks.

  10. #9
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    Thanks Fletty. After reading your posts and seeing the pictures I’ll order some RestorAfinish and Howards feed-a-wax.

    Just a question - the Howards colour chart matches the Dark Oak but I was wondering whether to clean up with the neutral colour or go with the dark oak. There are some small scarred areas, mainly on side edges, that have lost the stain but I may use feast Watson colour stains to touch up. What’s your thoughts?

    Cheers

  11. #10
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    I use the coloured restor-a-finish (craf?) when there are only SMALL areas of bare timber showing. However, you will soon learn to recognise the amount of bare timber showing that requires you to use a separate stain. I guess as a starting point, a crack that shows bare timber will respond well to the appropriate craf but any bare timber larger than that, will need a separate appropriate coloured stain? IF Ihave used stain, I will still use the appropriate craf. I only used neutral because the lacquered cabinet was black not brown?
    One caution though is that shellac that has been softened and moved/spread by raf, seems to be particularly sensitive to the solvents in stains. I found to my detriment that trying to repair the finish with craf before the stain has fully ‘dried’, results in the new finish bubbling EXACTLY where the stain was applied
    .... if you can't see the bright side, polish the dull side

  12. #11
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    BTW, here is the first piece of furniture which I cleaned up (rather than ‘restored’?) with restor-a-finish!
    I am sensing a slightly spooky déjà vu......!

    96C2D9DD-E45B-4477-A625-4150E0D29DE1.jpg
    .... if you can't see the bright side, polish the dull side

  13. #12
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    What you blokes need for touching out scratched or scuffed spots , patches of lighter wood / repairs, patches of filler on antique repairing is what the pros use.

    A colour box . Full of colours. A pencil brush and some shellac.
    The same colours are used for mixing into filers for patching and sanding back.
    For more traditional ways, into wax sticks , melted beeswax sticks with some carnauba wax added and colours added. These colours cover everyting you ever need to do . Just about .

    The basic version is a length of wood with holes drilled down one side to hold the colours. A screw at one end holds a lid over the holes and allows the lid to rotate away exposing the colours when you need some .

    The basic colors mainly used are the Earth pigment /oxide colours like Yellow oxide , Red oxide , Brown Umber, Burnt sienna, Black oxide.

    Some good extra helpful colours are Titanium white , and the spirit colours, Spirit Black, Bismark Brown. There is an Orange oxide type and the deadly Red Lead which is the same looking as the orange oxide type. The basic colours I first mentioned will get you 99% done and the extra ones could be explained if needed later.

    With the basic lot when you have such a job like this bureau, after all repairs have been made and before you re polish you grab the colour box and a tin of shellac and with the pencil brush, and on the back of a piece of sand paper you place a dab of shellac with the brush down, you then dab the pencil brush into the colours and mix what you think looks a good match on the back of the sand paper. When it looks right touch out the repairs. You can lay down lighter colours which dry in no time and then paint in darker grain lines and totally disguise repairs . When it looks good a few coats of clear shellac and let it set . This is how larger more complex veneer repairs are finished , like when patching missing pieces of burr Walnut veneer in the middle of a Victorian Loo table . You get the best timber match first for the repair, and you follow that up with touching out and painting in the grain that is then covered by the polish work. Earth pigments are very good at not fading in sunlight by the very nature of what and where they come from as well . Do you think Uluru looks faded ? It'd be bleached white by now if it did.

    Thats the basics . I turbocharge the process with an electric heat gun when I can get away with it . You got to be careful around veneers and hide glue or you will lift the lot off. Ive seen guys learn this the hard way. Me included . You never do it twice lol . Turbo drying and laying eight or ten coats of shellac on means the next day with a cut back and polish your flying through the work . The trick is to turbo dry the first nine coats of a ten coat job and don't turbo dry the last one , just brush it on and leave it . The reason for this is turbo drying fry's and bubbles the shellac dry leaving it rough. one last wet coat re softens and smooths it out .

    With this set up you never need to buy pre mixed money making for someone else tins of stuff.

    Id consider making some up and sending them off if it paid to do so . Once it ran out you would be wanting a refill . Some colours are available at Bunnings at 1KG or 2 KG containers in the concrete mixing section. Others a re a bit more specialized from artist or restorers supplies. Some are hard to get .

    Here is my colour box. I got sick of the back of the sand paper a long time ago . And it has mixing bowls as well as a brass cover over the basic colours so a pencil brush fits in . A larger hole under the brass holds a few of years worth of colour in each . The brass comes off for a re fill . The best part about this is if it falls off the bench. Its happened a few times . Hardly any colour spills out . The bit of wood with holes and the rotating lid sends colour all over the floor if it drops. I have one of those wood only ones as well in a traveling polishing box I take out on site when I have to . My box below holds the five basic colours I mentioned above and one spirit colour , Spirit Black.

    IMG_5543.JPGIMG_5544.JPGIMG_5545.JPG

    Rob

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    Can I summarise to see if I have it?
    A box with a few small containers, which hold a selection of dry oxide type 'colours' such as the concrete oxides.
    Mix the colour with shellac.

    Or wax sticks.

    Not sure I get 'back of sandpaper' - what type and why that not plain paper?

    Thanks for the very helpful post.



    Russ

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    Quote Originally Posted by russ57 View Post
    Can I summarise to see if I have it?
    A box with a few small containers, which hold a selection of dry oxide type 'colours' such as the concrete oxides.
    Mix the colour with shellac.

    Or wax sticks.

    Not sure I get 'back of sandpaper' - what type and why that not plain paper?

    Thanks for the very helpful post.



    Russ

    Hi Russ .
    Yeah , mix the colour with the shellac on the back of used sandpaper, like an artist mixes paint on a Palette . Just because is close by in a woodwork shop normally . Its also not that absorbent. Most paper is and you dont need that.

    Rob

  16. #15
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    Looking to buy some small amount of timber to repair the two sections in the motif plus a corner chip on the desk. I can’t seem to find English Oak locally and the veneer I have found is American Oak and 0.6mm thick which is too thin. Is there another timber with similar grain I could use or should I continue the search for English Oak?

    Cheers

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