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Rosewood tabletop trim repair advice.2/21
I am a furniture refinisher, but currently am looking at a project that requires a bit more fabrication.
I have a large, vintage oval Rosewood tabletop that I am going to refinish. The substrate is plywood with Rosewood veneer. The main area that needs to be addressed is the trim... about half of it is missing. It's a pretty simple half round, but solid Rosewood and I imagine it was shaped after glue up.
My question is: how would you approach this? My current plan it to remove the remaining trip, strip and prepare the table surface for finish, and then fabricate new trim. I'm hung up on how to proceed from there.
The trim exists in lengths of about 3 feet. I don't really need to reapply it to exactly the same dimensions, but it would be nice. I was thinking Walnut... but is there a better species for this?
I haven't done any steam bending before... is this beyond my scope? As far as I understand, I will build a steam box and steam it, then fit it to the table top and clamp it in place with a jig that matches the table shape. From there, am I good to glue up, or? I have read here about potentially not getting a good glue joint after steaming.
I have a shaper and bit that will get me 75% to the profile of the trim, and then I can finish shaping after glue up... is that my best choice?
Thanks all for any advice.
And here are pictures that show the damage, the missing trim.
"I haven't done any steam bending before... is this beyond my scope?" No idea what your current scope is, so can't say if it is beyond. I would only replace what is missing. You're not going to have a perfect table with that broken veneer on the surface anyway. That small profile should cold bend just fine. I can't tell if walnut would be too dark to match the finish. Poplar will be soft, but very easier to dye and tone to proper color. Whatever they used appears to be soft with all those dents. That thing has really seen the abuse!
Thanks for the response!
Hmmm. You think it isn't Rosewood? I guess I'd have a better idea if I stripped it first and removed what was on there. The many dents definitely bother me and will have to go. But I suppose it's possible that they used a different wood.
I'm not afraid to try the steam bending... just never done it before so I'm full of questions and have a lot more reading to do. This is a top-dollar table so it needs to look excellent... that busted section will be repaired and most of the surface abuse appears to be superficial and should come out. The owner of this new table will surely be careful with it, so if the new wood is somewhat soft, I don't think that will hurt it too much.
My plan was to get some lengths of test wood, cut to size and about 4" wide. Run an edge through the shaper and then rip it off and see how it works, then go from there. If I can avoid steaming or soaking, that would be nice.
My choice would be a thin half round of mahogany and just glue and pin nail it around the table. Fill and sand the top and stain it all to match.
I'm not sure steam would do much on rosewood. I know luthiers bend exotic woods around a heated pipe to get the wood relaxed, but that is for tight bends. Your bends are very large in comparison, cold bending should work well. As for wood species on that bead, I can't tell from the pictures. It does look pretty blond on the dented sections. Not at all uncommon for a different species on the edge like that. I had a highly figured crotch figured mahogany dining room set to refinish. When I got it stripped, the edge profiles were poplar glued to veneered solid core panels. This was production furniture, probably from the 50s.
Well this is all very reassuring, thanks!
I'm not going to be looking to stain the top, as I want to display the Rosewood as much as possible, but may have to do some light color work on repairs. Selecting a species that colors to match the table top will be key, then.
We use mahogany solids with rosewood all the time. That edge looks like mahogany to me but you will know after you strip it.
I'd forget any thoughts of steam or cold bending. The first is too much work just getting set up, and the second would always be pulling itself loose on the ends. If you just try bending any thickness of wood, you can never bend it all the way to the end, so there would be a straight piece 8 times the thickness unbent.
I'd miter short sections of walnut, which I'd scribe and bandsaw to the line. After gluing and bradding onto the edge, use a router with 1/4 round bit first from top, then from the bottom. Then sand to fair the curve for the bullnose.
As for the notion of that being a fine piece of rosewood, it doesn't look all that special to me. If it is one of the many species, I'd guess East Indian, which can start off as a really dark deep brown with hints of bluish purple, which will fade faster than walnut to a medium muddy brown, so would be better off stained with a pigmented stain.
Hmmm. I would assume that it was Brazilian Rosewood, based only on the age and manufacturer. I guess I can't imagine any point to staining it? The goal is to make it look like it did when it was first produced, and I would be surprised to learn that it was stained originally.
I am leaning towards using Mahogany. Will do some tests and report back. Thanks for all the suggestions so far!
So I did a few tests and decided to use a piece of wood I picked up from a sale about a year ago... not really sure what it is. Maybe somebody here knows?
It kinda looks like Walnut, a little bit, and has about the same feel. Lots more going on in the grain, though. Heavier than Walnut but not as heavy as exotic species. Has a distinct, pleasurable small when cut or sanded, almost like potpourri.
I cut the half-round on a shaper and then ripped it off with a table saw. Fiddled around with some colors and think I've got a decent finish schedule to get it to match the table.
Now I'm trying to decide the best way to apply it... fortunately, it will not need to be steamed or heated to conform to the shape, so all I have to do is decide the best way to clamp it.
Do you think tape would suffice to hold it in place? Would be using Titebond III. I suppose I could put a couple small nails in the ends and cover them, to be safe.