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Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/refinish vintage Ethan Allen maple dresser nutmeg 211 finish


Purchased dresser listed as "Excellent Condition" to find it was badly scratched, soiled and spots without stain. I saw your thoughtful and expert responses to other Ethan Allen refinishing questions. I'm already out too much money on this purchase to afford having it professionally stripped and restained. Have any suggestions where to check on getting this nutmeg stain and tonner that's needed? The wood appears in area to be lifted, raised in spots. Would this be repaired by being sanded even? Also the antiqued brass pulls are oxidzed (blue/green)and bad looking. The seller only disclosed this furniture was in his unheated garage that's next to a lake for 5 years to be damaged from the extreme weather exposure. Thank you for your consideration and any input you might have to help me. I greatly appreciate it. Sincerely,

Hi Jill, Ethan Allan finishes are not available as a single stain, as their finishes are comprised of a multi step,often multi stain, layered finish.. often toned with a colored lacquer toner, and then clear coated with the appropriate sheen of lacquer. These finishes are not the realm of the "do it yourselfer", and in a case like yours, it sounds like the piece is in bad shape's possible some of it could be restored without finish removal, but typically when a finish is in that bad a shape, stripping off the old finish is the best route to take.....NOT by sanding, but with stripper.Then any repair work needs to be done, and the finish needs to be recreated, and in the case of these pieces, it's advanced finishing....the materials needed,like the stains, toners, are available, but it's not like I can tell you exactly what to purchase, there is no freely available formula to recreate the finish, and Ethan Allen cannot( and will not) help you. That means it's up to you, or the person who does the work, to recreate the factory finish, (especially if only refinishing part of it, like the top for instance),and that requires a working knowledge of color, materials, and techniques to do so.Not something I can provide to you in a forum like this, it takes years of training and experience to do this kind of work.SO many people think they can just buy the "right" stain and "viola", the finish will look just like it used to, but these layered finishes are complex and difficult to create, especially without the proper training, and knowledge needed for such a skill.Aerosol lacquer toners are available in a multitude of colors,in pigmented and dye based forms,but to know what to buy and what to use, and on top of what staining, glazing, or other schedules, is an impossible task for me to help you with. Often they use a dye stain, followed by a pigmented stain, and/or glaze, sealer coat, then a colored toning lacquer, and then a few coats of the appropriate sheen Lacquer top coats to produce these finishes....wish I had a better answer, but in this case, to reproduce the factory look, takes skill...this is not to say you couldn't refinish it in another way, and end up with a nice look, but recreating the factory finish is only possible by....recreating the factory finish. Please post back if need be- Regards- Greg

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Greg Scholl


Questions on Woodworking, wood finishing and refinishing of all kinds, repairing furniture and wooden objects, Architectural details, Woodturning, carving, tool usage, product usage, some chemistry as it applies to woodworking and related interests,cabinet making and furniture construction/design, etc. I have experience with all manners of colorants, finishes, paints, stains, dyes, glazes, and coatings, wood species recognition and usage,tool recommendations, blade types and recommendation,techniques and methods for many Woodworking related issues, etc.


Fine furniture restorer and cabinet maker for over 30 years,serving high end Antique dealers, Interior designers, Collectors in the CT area. Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.) Sold, built, serviced, setup Home, Industrial, and Commercial stationary woodworking tools for a major tool retailer in CT. for three years, sold hand and power tools , provided knowledge, parts replacement, service, and on site service, Trade show Demo, and training as well.

Published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (12/97), included on Fine Woodworkings first "Best of Fine Woodworking" CD-ROM (2002) ...("27 year compilation of expert know-how")

Art School at Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, CT., 9 year apprenticeship in a European run Cabinet and Restoration shop in CT., various classes on subjects having to do with the field. Seminars from major Tool manufacturers, Skil/Bosch, Delta, Powermatic, Ritter, Porter cable, Milwaukee, Dewalt/B&Decker, Performax.

Past/Present Clients
Many varied clients including work on Martha Stewarts' Westport, CT. show house, many fine Antique dealers and private collectors in and around Fairfield County and in Woodbury, CT. (the Antiques capital of CT.), Golden Age of Trucking Museum,Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.), local Museums and Historical Societies. For the last two years I have been employed with Schwenke Auctioneers Inc.- Woodbury Auction LLC., as a staff photographer,IT tech,and doing restoration and repair work as well.

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