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Refinishing a rosewood table

- 07 Nov 2017 -
10 posts / 0 new

Hi, We recently found this nice rosewood coffee table that has seen better days, with many stains on the top and the original finish worn off in places. We've found the same model on the internet attributed to Ole Wanscher for AJ Iversen, but also attributed to Johannes Andersen so we're not sure.

I was thinking of either spraying it with polyurethane and flatting between coats, or maybe a shellac finish. What new finish would people on here recommend?

Refinishing a rosewood table
1960 - 1969


- 07 Nov 2017

I'd use Waterlox before poly... but if you can spray, just seal it with a coat of shellac and then use lacquer. That's probably how it was originally done. I like ML Campbell's MagnaMax.

- 07 Nov 2017

And be really, really careful in stripping it. It is a veneer top. But if you sand any of the rest like it is solid wood you will end up with a nearly black area of fresh rosewood. I would suggest you leave all the dents and scrapes alone. Strip it, very lightly hand sand with 220 grit if needed, then apply finish. Put down a coat of shellac first to seal the wood, then do as McGee says.

- 07 Nov 2017

Thanks for the product suggestions mgee76. I'm don't think we can get waterlox or MagnaMax here in France, but I'll look for equivalents. This would be the first rosewood top that we've done, so we'll take the plunge with a table that didn't cost too much. I used spray cars a long time ago, and have all the gear. Hoping it won't be too different. Do you think I'll need a different spray tip/nozzle for lacquer?

- 07 Nov 2017

Thank you leif, we've actually already stripped it, which went fine. It's not here with me right now so I can't show a picture. Will try to post one soon. The darker stain that you can see to the far back at the right is still there. With teak furniture, I've had quite good results with oxalic acid for removing stains. Can I try oxalic on rosewood, or is it best avoided ? Do you have any other suggestion fro the stain?

- 07 Nov 2017

Good advice here. I would only add that neither polyurethane nor shellac (alone, as in French polish) are great choices. Polyurethane, while durable, is too difficult to remove or repair. Shellac, while simple to remove or repair, is easily damaged by heat, water, or alcohol and therefore needs an appropriate topcoat like lacquer on a coffee/cocktail table.

- 07 Nov 2017

Thanks tktoo. So I'll now need to find a good lacquer that's available in France,as the ML Campbell's MagnaMax suggested above does not seem to be.

- 07 Nov 2017

I know it's a bit different in Europe, but you should be able to find some kind of pre-cat lacquer over there. I just like the MagnaMax for various reasons... most pre-cats are all about the same.

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