The Cross House
This post is a cry for help.
You see, I started to refinish the trim in the living room of the Cross House.
I have done this many many many times previously over the decades and have never encountered what I did the other day.
All my woodwork has an alligatored finish. And it has been pretty banged up for 120-years.
As all the walls, ceilings, windows, and floors get restored or renewed, the woodwork in the house will only look worse and worse if nothing is done.
The problem? I stripped off the alligatored varnish/shellac and the result is WAY lighter than I expected. I expected something between what WAS and what IS.
The reason that I am freaked out is that I am totally beyond my element. All the issues with the house to date — structural, HAVC, electric, exterior painting, sash restoration, etc — phases me not in the least as I have many decades of experience.
But this? EEK!
So, here is the problem:
The wood trim, to my deep surprise, appears to be cherry. An 1895 newspaper article on the house describes the adjacent library as having cheery trim. So having cherry in the living room should not, perhaps, be a surprise. But I am still surprised. And delighted!
The wood does not appear to be stained. I suspect that the varnish or shellac was.
A friend told me to try some amber shellac and see what that looks like. Even Home Depot carries this.
It may be possible, but seems unlikely, that the wood WAS as light as seen in the image. The historic house across the street has one room with almost blond bird’s eye maple and this is clearly original.
What I had been hoping for was a shade between what WAS and what IS.
There are miles of trim in the house and a zillion doors. All needs to be refinished. What I need is the LEAST time-consuming solution. I mean, if the PERFECT solution take two hours per square inch, and a pretty good solution takes 2 minutes per square inch, I am going for the latter, baby!
Anyway, there are a lot of people out there with a ton of experience regarding this issue.
And I am only too willing to accept the kindness of strangers.