MAHOGANY is an open-grain hard wood of great beauty. Though it should be filled, staining is optional. It is used for the finest furniture of 18th Century type and may be finished to show the grain with clear varnish, shellac, or oil in high gloss or wax finish.
BLOND MAHOGANY is bleached mahogany. It is used today for some 1 8th Century furniture and for some pieces of Modern design.
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WALNUT has an easily recognized open grain and is a hard wood. It has been used since the 1 7th Century for fine furniture. It is usually finished with shellac or clear varnish rubbed to a tortoise-shell-like high gloss.
The purpose of stain anil filler is to improve the wood. They are not always needed but when they are used, they are applied before the varnish, shellac, or wax. Stain gives new wood a uniform tone. On old or new wood it may be used to get a change of color darkening, silvering, fuming, or mellowing. It will act differently 011 different parts of the same wood. Therefore it is wise to see a sample panel for color and to be sure you select the right type of stain. The varieties are spirit stain, water stain, and oil stain. If in doubt, try the stain on a small piece of wood before doing an entire piece of furniture. Fillers are used on open-grain woods (new or old with the finish removed) to give a smooth surface. It is a white or neutral paste which may be thinned with turpentine. Clear varnish protects but reveals the grain of the wood. It is applied after the filler. First, clean the wood. Then stain, fill, and varnish.
If refinishing hard, elose-grain wood, see below:
Before starting to refinish dingy old furniture, clean it thoroughly with soap and water, using a soft cloth and a small brush for ornamental parts. You may find this to be so beneficial that a furniture polish or wax will restore the original beauty of the finish. It is worth trying.