The Cross House
A little over a year ago I did a post about the difficulty of restoring the trim in the dining room.
In all the other rooms of the house the many layers of shellac come off easily via denatured alcohol, revealing the original faux wood finishes.
But not in the dining room.
The trim in the room has at least two non-original layers of…something. It ain’t shellac. It ain’t varnish.
As I wrote:
I still do not know what the later finishes are, and how to easily remove them. They do not really dissolve. Just constant, tedious rubbing with 0000 steel wool and denatured alcohol has, so far, been able to reveal the original finish. The later finishes do not dissolve but rather just gum up. So, rub rub rub rub rub rub ugh ugh ugh. But this is WAY too laborious and I cringe in thinking of doing the many miles of trim in the room.
There has got to be an easier way.
I have since tried numerous other solvents and nothing works. And, even with the ONE piece of trim I was able to do, the results do not look, well, good. This proved the opposite in the parlor and library, where the removal of the later shellac revealed stunning faux wood finishes which only required some minor touching up.
I am so frustrated.
At the moment I have three thoughts:
- Hire a faux artist to recreate the original nutmeg-like wood finish.
- Just go ahead with several coats of amber shellac, after first touching up all the dings and gouges.
- Just go ahead with several coats of tinted shellac.
- Paint it all black!
The first will be expensive but would largely recreate the original look.
The second would be inexpensive and would improve things. Sorta.
The third is…intriguing. Shellac can also be tinted using aniline dye or alcohol-based stain. I have never done this before but think I will experiment some.
The fourth is shocking! Shocking! But it would not be hard or expensive. It could also be reversed. And it would look fabulous.
I lean towards #3 and #4.
The former could be more easily removed than the latter, so I am eager to see how this works out.
As dramatic as the parlor is, my plans for the dining room envision it as THE most dramatic room in the house. I want people to gasp when they step into the room.
However, none of this is a priority so there is plenty of time for pondering, crazy new ideas, and more experiments.