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 Post subject: Best way to rejuvenate a crazed finish?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:18 pm 
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Victor II
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Phonographs > SoundCloud
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:45 pm
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Location: Connecticut
Hello everyone,

I have several machines with noticeable alligatoring or crazing on the finish, thus the machines in certain lighting conditions look rather hazy and gray. I was wondering what you all use to get that finish looking as good as possible without sanding and refinishing. I have heard about Kotton Klenser being a good finish restorer, but I have never used it. My go-to is Howard's Feed n Wax or Old English Lemon Oil, but the finish almost always goes back to the way it looked before once I have wiped the stuff off.

-Stephen


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 Post subject: Re: Best way to rejuvenate a crazed finish?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:10 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:30 pm
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Best way? I'd say live with it. ;) But, if you're willing to risk wasting man hours and possibly screwing up the finish as well, here are two things that I've done with success:

A crazed or "alligatored" finish can be made to look better sometimes by flattening it slightly with extremely fine sandpaper (like 800 grit wet/dry) and using mineral oil to lubricate. After that one would polish up the flattened finish. It's important to go very carefully because it's easy to go too far - especially at the edges. You will still have the crazing, but you will eliminate the associated cloudiness of the finish. It can improve things greatly, especially if you follow up with paste wax. This will also not affect the original color. If the finish was otherwise good, I would try this before I went to anything such as trying "re-amalgamation". If the finish was beginning to flake, however, I'd skip on to re-amalgamation.

In theory, re-amalgamating a finish involves finding the proper solvent for a given finish and re-melting the crazed finish together. (For instance, the Edison Standard had a shellac finish, so one could remelt it to some degree with denatured alcohol.) Often one will need additional coats of shellac over the original to smooth out the surface. Sometimes this can alter the color slightly and pulls the given item farther from the "completely original" category over to the "messed with" category. There will be times when it is appropriate, but I always try to start with the least invasive method.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you search on this forum, you'll see restoration threads aplenty that deal with this very subject.

Of course one should remember; the rarer the item is - the less you should do.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Martin


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 Post subject: Re: Best way to rejuvenate a crazed finish?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:11 pm 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2016 8:11 pm
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I've used the following technique numerous times with great success. For a heavily alligorated finish, you'll have to repeat the process a few times. Note that I usually drop the steel wool after the first application and simply use paper towels for all other applications until I'm satisfied with the finish:
http://www.queenpatina.com/the-magic-of-gojo-and-steel-wool/


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 Post subject: Re: Best way to rejuvenate a crazed finish?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:40 pm 
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Victor II
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Location: Connecticut
Thank you both for your help! :) I have tried the re-amalgamation method twice before, once it was very successful in improving an extremely alligatored finish, and the other attempt was less than perfect. I definitely don't want to risk it on my XVI, so a light sanding should be sufficient. I will try Gojo as I have heard success stories with that product, and this just piqued my curiosity.

-Stephen


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 Post subject: Re: Best way to rejuvenate a crazed finish?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:06 am 
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Victor IV
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:44 pm
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I have saved the finish on all my phonographs rather than strip them as some do. I agree that a very fine sandpaper used carefully with even out the surface quite a bit. However I have always used a very thinned coat of shellac over it to restore what the phonograph would have look like new. You can't just put it on and be done, it has to be rubbed after drying a few days with rottenstone or whiting using a piece of felt as a pad. Once that has lowered the gloss to a more furniture look, then waxing will bring it out.

I used the Kotten Klenser for years, but lately I have had issues with it taking the finish down too much leaving it rather blotched looking. On those I am stuck having to eventually coat it with the thin shellac finish. I touch up any bare small scratches or bare edges using a stain that is close to the original before the shellac is added.

This small Sonora from around 1910 was rough and I used the light sanding and applications of shellac cut about half with denatured alcohol to restore the original look. Shellac takes some getting used to handling and I would advise reading up on line about successful application of it. I just recalled that I also used a quick brushing of denatured alcohol over the old finish to help smooth it out before applying the new shellac coats.

The photo of the lid is before the rubbing down of the gloss.


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 Post subject: Re: Best way to rejuvenate a crazed finish?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:55 pm 
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Victor II
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Alright so I finally ended up cleaning my XVI with New Life Furniture Masque, and the stuff really pulls off gunk well. Of course, the machine is still alligatored, but it shines much more than it did previously. In certain lighting conditions, the machine looks much better, in others it still looks a bit hazy but I am happy to live with it rather than risk hurting the finish with sandpaper.

Stephen


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 Post subject: Re: Best way to rejuvenate a crazed finish?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:39 pm 
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Victor III
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I prefer seeing antiques with their original finish intact. You just can't recreate the beauty of the factor finish without a skill that few people have today. I once saw a reproduction cabinet that looked original in every way, but I was told that the finish was applied by someone with first hand knowledge of how it was applied back in the day. No easy to reproduce. You did a fine job of maintaining the beauty of the cabinet.
"You can't take the phonographs nor the money with you, but the contentment the phonographs bring may well make your life better, and happier lives make the world a better place."


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 Post subject: Re: Best way to rejuvenate a crazed finish?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:42 am 
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Victor V
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If the original finish was shellac, one might try a modified French polish technique, where the pad is dampened with straight alcohol instead of thinned shellac, and lubricated with a few drops of oil.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Best way to rejuvenate a crazed finish?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:48 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:30 pm
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Stephen,

That cleaned up very well. I wish my XVI looked like that - somebody in its past didn't like its finish and painted it Antique Blue! However, it was cheap and it runs well.

Anyway, nice work.

Martin


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