Author Topic: Matching new and old Mahogany  (Read 537 times)

Motorola Minion

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Matching new and old Mahogany
« on: January 27, 2017, 08:19:25 AM »
I just got the Magnavox Berkeley back after having its flood-disintegrated structural base and bottom molding re-constructed.  The new wood is solid mahogany, a farmed species from South America used for decking.

One thing needed with new wood is grain-filling the pores to match the rest of the Georgian-Style cabinet's. I remember using something like plastic wood to do this. I'm not a finish expert but I also think Ill have to stain a buch of times to get oit dark to match the old shade and finish with shellac. 

So my quandary is what to use for grain filling.
I also need to confirm that this is not a lacquer like most other consoles.

BTW:
This is the season (in most places) for basement hibernation. Its strange that I'm the only one with a finish issue, but this console needed the most work, so it seems the time to get into it.  ;) not to mention finishing and Beer just go together so well!
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Dave

electra225

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Re: Matching new and old Mahogany
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2017, 10:56:34 AM »
There is a compound called grain filler made specifically for filling grain pores in wood.  I personally like to use Van Dyke brown or black.  The original "mahogany" used on your Magnavox instrument was most likely ash, finished in a mahogany color only Magnavox used.  If you buy "mahogany" stain off the shelf, you may find it does not come close to matching what is original to the cabinet. 


My suggestion would be to use a hunk of the wood used to repair your cabinet and do some experimentation on it to find the best match for your cabinet.  You may have to refinish the entire cabinet to get a match acceptable to you.  I would wager than you will have to look to some color of dark red stain to even get close.  The original finish on Magnavox was a "hand rubbed oil finish" consisting of several coats.  When I refinished my little Magnavox console, I used a shellac undercoat with a gloss polyurethane top coat, sanded between coats, then sanded and polished to eliminate some of the gloss.  If you use a semi-gloss finish, you may experience some clouding, which may affect negatively the "depth" of the finish.  You can reference the final product in the "galleries" section on this forum.  Here is a link to the thread I started when I redid mine.  Perhaps it will give you some ideas about grain filler and how to use it.


http://vintagehifi.net/index.php/topic,2112.0.html


Experimentation with a piece of test material will be a benefit to you, particularly if you are not familiar with wood refinishing.  Rocklers or similar wood working businesses that cater to the furniture refinishing hobby are helpful with making recommendations on specific products and procedures.  We can help you here, if you give us what you are doing specifically.  Good luck.
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....

TC Chris

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Re: Matching new and old Mahogany
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2017, 10:46:44 PM »
My consoles both have lacquer finishes on them.  It was the common mass-produced clear finish of the time.  My big collection of old radios--mostly 1930s-1950s--tend to be finished in lacquer, also.

If your new base is real mahogany (there are lots of varieties, some closer to true mahoganies than others), you can darken and redden it using washing soda dissolved in hot water.  (Washing soda may be available at your supermarket in the laundry section, or at the hardware store). Brush or sponge it on; wait & see, try some more for a darker effect.  This is what I use on my old sailboat with mahogany trim. It would probably be best to do this on some scraps, or if you don't have any, on the back side of the wood where it won't be seen. And if it seems to work, wet out the final result with some paint thinner to see what the final effect will be when there's a finish over it.

 On the boat, I use a marine grain filler-stain.  It's mahogany colored, with the filler material to fill the grain pores.  It adds color to the wood and fill the grain at the same time. But I agree that most furniture seemed to use a darker filler to give some contrasting dark lines.

There are quite a few varieties of "mahogany" stain--various rednesses.  You will need to try a bunch and experiment.  The little color charts offered by the manufacturer are only rough guides because the color of the wood it's applied to will affect the final outcome.

I think I shared my experience finding "brushing lacquer" for my Provincial Serenade, to over-coat the banged-up top.  Yeah, the paint store had "brushing lacquer" bu it came in a spray can.  Fun with words....

Chris Campbell

Motorola Minion

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Re: Matching new and old Mahogany
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2017, 09:21:18 AM »
Thanks Guys, I'm close on color but shopping for some supplies. I have lots of scraps since it was my deck wood and it is noticeably redder and darker than some other stuff I had with worm holes in it. :D
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Dave

electra225

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Re: Matching new and old Mahogany
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2017, 10:02:43 AM »
It is not my intention to contrary anything here, but I was in the car restoration business, and sometimes I can get anal about stuff...... ;)


When I decided to refinish my little 616 console, I wanted to use as close to the original finish as I could.  The problem was that nobody could agree on exactly what the original finish was.  There was a general consensus that it was not lacquer. 


The closest we could come up with was shellac and tung oil.  Remember that Magnavox was in the furniture making business as well as the electronics business.  A majority of its instruments were sold in music and furniture stores, not in traditional dealerships.  Lacquer was used in cheap, production cabinetry.  Magnavox cabinetry was essentially custom-built.  No two were identical.  Lacquer is easy to apply and plentiful, but it was not very durable.  Even the most flea-bitten Magnavox cabinet you can find still has a good finish on it.  Lacquer cracks and falls off.  You never see that on a Magnavox cabinet.


Magnavox may have used some mahogany or other "genuine" hardwoods in their cabinets, but neither of my mahogany finished instruments have an ounce of genuine mahogany wood in them.  Both of mine, and my cherry CG, is made of ash with birch hardwood stiffeners and a birch bottom.  Using genuine mahogany would have sent the bean counters to loading their pistols.  A Chris Craft used genuine mahogany.  One of those babies cost three times what your house did when they were new.  They were as beautifully crafted as anything built by mankind.  And those big straight 8 Chrysler engines.


There may have been some mahogany veneer used, but I'd be willing to wager not much was.  The bean counters...... 


Putting lacquer on a Magnavox would be like finishing a Packard with mayonaise.  ;)
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....

TC Chris

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Re: Matching new and old Mahogany
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2017, 11:02:49 AM »
My 1951 console is finished in brown-toned lacquer (colored lacquer) over some sort of wood veneer.  The 1956 Provincial Serenade is real cherry solids & veneers (solids in some of the small parts, veneers on the large flat sheets) with a clear lacquer over it.  I've got a 1956 Magnasonic in mahogany veneers and lacquer.  When manufacturers used veneers in cabinets (almost always, because it's hard to keep sold-wood surfaces flat, but easy when you apply a veneer over plywood), they often used solid woods of the same kind around the edges.  We all know what a plywood edge looks like.  Using a solid-wood edge solves that problem.  I've got a 1956 mahogany V-M console with that treatment, and I think the Maggie Magnasonic uses it, too, on the side panels.

Chris Campbell

Motorola Minion

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Re: Matching new and old Mahogany
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2017, 08:01:44 AM »
Thank you for the suggestions so far. I agree that wood is all about appearance and practical nature of veneer versus solid. This mahogany I'm using is much more on the red side and weathers to a brown-gray. The 1947 Magnavox cabinet is a very "deep" looking brown with a hint of red.

My book "The weekend refinisher" has a section on chemically darkening wood. I put a piece in baking soda solution and another in ammonia, both became less red. I think my first step will be to do this before messing with finishes. You can really waste a lot of money on stains trying to get the right shade, so Ill do chemical prep first.

If the Berkeley has lacquer on it at all, Ill use lacquer thinner to find out. Shellac dissolves using alcohol, so that is another test.

I need to get some color-accurate pictures posted next. Meanwhile, I recapped the separate FM chassis. The receiver will be next. I find that projects do not stall if I start on all items concurrently, finishing, trim, electronics and changer.

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Dave

TC Chris

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Re: Matching new and old Mahogany
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2017, 08:11:13 PM »
If you have wood scraps, you can experiment until you get an acceptable match.  Just bear in mind that the term "mahogany" encompasses a lot of species.  My boat's mahogany, I suspect, is an African species, not the classic (and pricey) Honduras mahogany.  But again, whatever yours is, keep trying different combinations f chemicals and stains until it looks right.  I've never used the aniline dyes, the powdered stains that you mix with water or alcohol.  They are probably the best way to do it.  They are dyes that color the wood fibers, not pigments that just sit there on top and in the grain.  The stains at the hardware or paint store tend to be a combo of dyes and suspended pigments.

Chris Campbell

Motorola Minion

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Re: Matching new and old Mahogany
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2017, 03:52:02 PM »
I found that soaking wood with two different chemicals seemed to produce a similar result. The base is untreated, the smaller block was ammonia and the lower right was baking soda. I will get some washing soda next and see how that goes. If I could get with some Sailboat deck finish, that may be the ticket here.

Based on the color changes below, grain filling then darkening the wood should be the next step.

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Dave

TC Chris

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Re: Matching new and old Mahogany
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2017, 06:35:25 PM »
Not sure what you mean by sailboat deck finishes.  Decks are usually bare wood; finish makes them slippery.  There are various miracle finishes, designed to be used over teak in lieu of varnish, but most of them are, to be polite, ugly (opaque and in various colors of orange that are not found in nature).  My boat has mahogany instead of teak, and I stain and varnish it.  But I'm not really trying to match anything specifically, just to get a pleasant mahogany-ness.

Chris Campbell