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Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/rubberwood refinishing


Hey Greg,

I have refinished a rubber wood table from Malaysia and I used the soy based stripper.  My first attempt had stripper seeping throughout the finish.  So I stripped it again and tried again.  I used the soy based stripper, washed with water, then with acetone.  Allowed it to dry.  Used General Finishes gel stain for color.  After the 3rd day of drying I began to prep for finish and found small areas of no color.  The stripper was still coming out of the pores!  So, I used a heat gun to pull it out and went over the whole table.  I touched up the small colorless spots and let it dry a few days.  Then I sprayed GF Enduro Clear Poly (water based) on it.  I let it dry 7 days and then polished it with Pumice and a felt block for a satin look.  I used mineral oil mixed with spirits for the lube.  I let it dry over the weekend and now there are dull spots all over the table.  Large ones as the joints of the "finger joint" and small ones too.  I'm not sure why it's waiting so long to seep out, but is the problem that I didn't use a methyl chloride stripper?  Now what should I do?


Hi Stephen, sorry about the late reply. It's likely that it isn't the stripper. Rubber wood has a latex content in the wood, and it sounds more like it's the natural resin that is giving you fits. I have had the unpleasant task of dealing with rubber wood as well, but luckily the last time was without staining. Just a clear coat, which went on ok. My suggestion would be to use the MC stripper, or try the CitrusStrip product, followed by a wash of something like WilBond solvent. However, the real trick I have found is a wash coat of dewaxed blonde shellac, as a first step in the refinish. It will bind to anything, and while it will somewhat limit stain absorption, a gel stain over it will work fine...and a second or even third coat of stain will not cause issues because of the urethane in the gel stain. Dewaxed shellac can be found at WoodCraft still I think in flake form,and you definitely want to use a dewaxed product... but I usually buy from Jeff Jewitt's site at Homestead.

His site is EXCELLENT and worth a poke around for the sheer wealth of knowledge and products, application tips, and on and on...Please check it out.
Feel free to post back if need be, and best of luck.

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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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