Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Warm Glow

The vintage cabinets in my kitchen are finished in amber shellac. Over the years I've been slowly stripping off the old, deteriorating shellac and replacing it with new. The birch wood underneath has developed a nice 80 yr old patina and when the new shellac goes on it has that familiar nice warm honey glow.

This brings us to the new cabinet that will also have an amber shellac finish. As will the new maple crown moulding that will be installed.

The new wood does not have the nice patina of the old wood....so, I have been working hard to devise a method to get the new cabinet to match the old.

I've been experimenting with scraps of birch (cabinet) and maple (crown moulding). I also use waxy, amber, liquid shellac (if you are a purist, waxy shellac is what you use to replicate the look of a vintage finish - even though it's oh-so-trendy to use dewaxed shellac flakes right now). I've been experimenting with different cuts of shellac (thickness) and number of layers. However, I had not been able to get a good match.

All of a sudden yesterday, I got to thining about a house tour I took a few years back. I hunted down the handout I received that day (I amazingly had it in a folder). The folks at one house replicated the look of vintage shellac pretty sucessfully using a stain & rubbed poly finish.

I thought to myself, I could use the stain to replicate the patina of old birch and then go ahead and finish with the amber shellac.

Ha, it worked. At the top of the first photo below you see a short piece of vintage baseboard & cap. The short board below it has been stained and has one coat of shellac. When I add the next coat of shellac, we should have a match. The photo below that shows how thwe wood scraps started out pre-stain & shellac.


NV said...

VERY nice!

Omar said...

Looks good! Reminds me of the four times it took me refinishing my "cosby" stairs before I was happy. Needless to say matching new stain to old is definitely an art.. :)

Becky said...

do you have particular brands/colors of shellac and stain you are preferring? i'm in the same boat trying to match several new items to old [maple and oak] and my first attempts missed the yellow glow and stained [unfortunately] too dark.

your kitchen will be so stunning.

StuccoHouse said...

NV - Thanks :-)

Omar - four times?! I'm pretty sure I'd lose my will to live after 2.

Becky - The stain I'm using on the maple/birch is Minwax Gel Stain (cuz maple/birch can be blotchy) in Antique Maple 603. Zinsser Amber shellac finish.

On my oak floors, I left them unstained & used an oil based poly that developed a nice golden patina in about a year. The new wood patches now match the old.

On my darker oak wood (baseboard & ceiling cove - redone in a project before blog) I used either Old Masters Wiping Stain in Dark Mahogany or Varathane in Dark Walnut (can't remember). Clear Zinsser shellac finish.

Hope this helps!

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