Woodworking and refinishing advice

JHZR2

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46,257
Location
New Jersey
We have an original Philadelphia Chippendale (1750-1780) chair. Some time in recent history, before we got it, it got a small chip. I know originality is essential to antiques collectors, and there is no way in going to refinish it or do anything like that. That said, the chair has been in the family forever, so while it is valuable, value isn't my main intent. I just want the wood to be protected and not stand out as a chip. Any suggestions? I'm not sure what was used back then, or what my approach might be. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks!
 
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2,008
Location
grande prairie AB
We used to use putty sticks with cheap furniture. I have felt pen type chip repair pens that work pretty good. That is the extent of my woodworking skill. Nice chair though. hope someone can help ya.
 
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827
Location
Twin Cities MN USA
I would leave it. Antiques seem to be appreciated more with a little of the lived on look. If you really want to fix it, check with a furniture refinisher and find out the correct way to fix it.
 
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13,233
Location
North Carolina
If it were mine,i might touch the area with a matching stain, but i would not try and fill it in with putty or wood filler. A touch of matching stain with a very small brush or q- tip and it will be mostly unnoticable. Only you will look at that spot because you know its there, others will probably never notice.
 

JHZR2

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46,257
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New Jersey
Originally Posted By: dlundblad
Try rubbing a walnut on it. I would think that would look more natural than anything else.
Yeah, even stains scare me. I figure the wood was oiled back then. Who knows what with, but that's why I'm asking...
 
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5,532
Location
Canada
The original finish was most likely shillac (French polish) I would not try to fill the chip, if a repair was to be made, I would cut and let in a small piece of matching wood (this is how such repairs were made back in the day) But as I say, I would not think the chip in question justifies that. Just put it down to Patina. To stain the wood to make look less obvious, I would be very leery of using hardwear store wood stain, as once applied, if wrong, you are going to have a real hard time getting rid of it. Shillac would be ideal as it can be built up in layers or (mostly) removed with alcohol if it gets too dark. My guess would be to try an Orange shillac or Button polish, test it on a hidden area first like the rails under the seat cushion. Or better still, try cleaning the whole chair with a small bunched cloth (Dolly) soaked in methanol, this, done cautiously, will redistribute the polish that was originally used on the chair.
 
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13,087
Location
Indiana
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
Originally Posted By: dlundblad
Try rubbing a walnut on it. I would think that would look more natural than anything else.
Yeah, even stains scare me. I figure the wood was oiled back then. Who knows what with, but that's why I'm asking...
Try an actual walnut. The oils from the nut will darken the wood.
 
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4,837
Location
Central Texas
I'd recommend reading any finishing book by Bob Flexner. I think the one I have is "Understanding Wood Finishing". That said, that looks like a wiped/brushed oil finish, with pigment as the pores look darker. Shellac looks glossy unless flattened. You can use a repair pen or a fine brush w/finish or take it somewhere. Be sure to practice/color match first on wood not easily seen such as underneath when the chair is turned over.
 
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