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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Tiki Carving Questions on stripping and restoration of Witco-like works

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Questions on stripping and restoration of Witco-like works
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 23, 2003
Posts: 825
From: KS/MO
Posted: 2004-07-26 10:49 am   Permalink

It may be presumptuous of me to post this is creating tiki, as its really a restoration attempt, but the hands-on experienced people seem to be in this forum so here goes. I'm restoring some wood masks which were painted by the restaurant that last owned them. I picked one to experiment on that had been used as a dart board and had a piece of one cheek missing so I figured I couldn't do it too much more harm. This is the mask when I bought it:

I read quite a bit on TC, and for this first one, I used a modification of a method suggested by Basement Kahuna for stripping rattan:

I laid the mask on a garbage bag in the back of a van and slathered it with Citrustrip for woodwork (which I chose over the furniture version so it'd cling to the ridges better). I let it work for 45 minutes while I drove to a car wash where I hit it with a high pressure spray of water for three passes of five minutes each until I got everything off that was going to come off. I did not use soap as I was afraid of it soaking into any open grain and hindering later finishes though I don't really know if that was a valid concern. I set the piece out in the sun to dry quickly:

The remaining bits of paint revealed that the piece had an underlying paint job which had been more sparing and precise. The underlying colors were muted tones of off-white, red, mustard, burnt orange and that sort of minty-green that was used on Hamilton beach malt mixers in the 50's. I think I could have lived with that first paint scheme; its too bad I had to blow most of it away.

This is after another round of Citrustrip and pressure-spraying. I still have a few flecks of paint to pick out and there is a stubborn area of spraypaint overspray from where the previous owners were painting something nearby. Here's a view of the center area as it stands now:

There was some slight erosion of the wood in the valleys of the piece, but nothing too bad and I think that if I try this again, I can avoid that problem by holding the wand farther away. I think most of the eroded wood was that which was originally burned. The ridges on the piece are hard; the valleys have a softer texture like driftwood nuggets.

I may try to burn the paint off the next one, just for the experience, although I don't know if I want to buy a torch just for that.

What I am wondering now is: where do I go from here? Have any of you stripped and refinished a surface-burned work? Did you re-burn the surface? I am told that sometimes in re-burning a piece loses a bit of detail but this one in in deep relief and has lots of detail to start with. How would a stain react on a surface that is partially bare and partially burned?. Do I apply another coating like Minwax? I'd especially like to be adept at this before I tackle a Witco boy and girl I've got that are completely covered with paint. Thanks for reading.

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