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Strip / Refinishing of Salvaged Mahogany?

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  • Strip / Refinishing of Salvaged Mahogany?

    Hello All,
    My mother-in-law purchased a new table and finally let me have her huge mahogany dining room table... which I'd been salivating over for years. My intentions are to salvage this wood for future projects... the construction of replica 19th Century physics demonstration machines, of which the originals nearly always used mahogany.

    Anyway, my questions are: What would be the best way to remove old finish and get the boards down to bare wood? Would a wipe-on stripper liquid of some sort be wise here, followed by sanding...or... what? I have no idea how deeply the old finish has penetrated the wood.

    This is unknown territory for me, for up to now my projects have all been of unfinished oak. This mahogany table is simply gorgeous and impossible to pass up or ignore... They just don't build them like this anymore. I'm not even sure mahogany is availiable like this anymore... at least without paying a fortune. It's a good 75 years old and solid througout (not a veneer) and has been very well cared for... just a few minor scratches here and there. I can't wait to use it for my projects... the grain pattern is breathtaking! Anyway, thanks for whatever insight / advice any of you can offer!

  • #2
    Well, the first thing to check is to make sure it isn't veneer----in my experience, an aweful lot of mahogony furniture was that way. Otherwise, I've had the best luck with plain old Jasco stripper.


    • #3
      Thanks Dave,

      No definitely not veneer... end grain visible any place it couldn't be hidden. Bad news is I just lost the table tonite... other family members heard and hit the roof that I was going to use it for wood... went over to pick it up and I was about to be lynched. Turns out it is an heirloom and far older than I believed. Always one to keep the peace, I didn't argue my case... I'm not one to destroy something so valuable anyway. Thanks again Dave!


      • #4
        Funny you should ask ...I just took some old mahogany down to barewood over the weekend using my planer. Worked like a charm, although mahogany is prone to alot "fuzzing". It was pushing 7/8" thick to start with so I've got plenty left. In this case, at least some of it will be the back of an electric guitar.

        Mahogany is still around but can be expensive. There are several varieties. My local Woodcraft has it for $6 to $24 bsft depending on the origin and variety. I have no idea the type but it looks pretty sharp. It came from a smallish drop leaf table...about 9 bdft for $7.

        [ 09-26-2005, 05:52 PM: Message edited by: hewood ]


        • #5
          Thanks Hewood for the info... and I'm glad you got to keep YOUR mahogany! I'm still mourning the loss of my mother-in-law's table... but at least they didn't hang me. Bitter battle raging between grown-up (?!?!) siblings about who gets it now... hahaha. Guess I'll just have to stick to oak... (sigh).


          • #6
            Wise Man!!!

            It's fine to argue with your family. It's a whole new ballgame to get into a family dispute with in-laws.