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Thread: refinishing a lens board question

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    8,187

    refinishing a lens board question

    I just obtained a couple of very nice lens board for my 5x7 Agfa Ansco.
    Over the years I've refinished several 6x6 Deardorff boards and thought I had my lens board refinishing act down
    ...well, not quite.
    'Dorffs are mahogany and respond nicely to lacquer----several p!$$ coats, steel wool in between the coats and a couple of top coats of lacquer Agfa Anscos OTOH are either painted gray or a dark cherry stained Mahogany.
    One of my new old lens boards is Agfa gray with nice grain underneath.
    Leaving it gray wasn't an option.
    Clear lacquer isn't going to match either.
    When I come across lens boards with ho-hum grain (usually plywood) I generally opt for a coat of satin black enamel.
    But the grain on this lens board is soooo pretty!
    Repainting it would just be wrong.
    So I spent part of my Sunday afternoon at the Ace looking at samples of cherry stains.

    Of course none match, nor even come close!

    So I thought I'd ask here---who makes a close enough stain to Agfa Ansco dark cherry?
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Posts
    10,314

    Re: refinishing a lens board question

    Did you bring the board to the store so they could see what you are trying to do?

  3. #3
    Les
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    733

    Re: refinishing a lens board question

    John, you may have a woodcraft near you....and they could fix you up. There are several places that carry quality stains. Garret Wade (in NYC) used to carry real nice stuff,
    but I wasn't able to find it. Maybe not looking hard enough. Try this....and good luck.

    https://www.woodcraft.com/products/g...rry-stain-pint

    Les

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    164

    Re: refinishing a lens board question

    Ebonizing it would show the grain nicely.

  5. #5

    Join Date
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    San Joaquin Valley, California
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    Re: refinishing a lens board question

    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Vogt View Post
    John, you may have a woodcraft near you....and they could fix you up. There are several places that carry quality stains. Garret Wade (in NYC) used to carry real nice stuff,
    but I wasn't able to find it. Maybe not looking hard enough. Try this....and good luck.

    https://www.woodcraft.com/products/g...rry-stain-pint


    Les
    That looks like it! Now I'm thinking the lens board isn't mahogany but maple (a major embarrassment on my part going on!) I should have known better.

    The other lens board I believe has the original finish. It it's got a lacquer finish it should be easy enough to restore---that one is definitely mahogany going by the color of the wood in the cut out.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    North Dakota
    Posts
    489

    Re: refinishing a lens board question

    Once you get the tint where you want it, why not Tung Oil finish? Easy to do and easy to work over if you get scratches or a marred surface.
    I tend to procrastinate on stuff. One of these days I'll do something about it.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    SooooCal/LA USA
    Posts
    966

    Re: refinishing a lens board question

    Don't count on the stain to match perfectly, as it's hard to match, and often when it's finished, the color will shift again (wood is just like that sometimes)...

    My cheap/fast/easy finish over smaller pieces of hardwoods is to spread a very thin, even layer of superglue over the piece with a razor blade, sand to level if necessary, then very fine steel wool... This brings out the natural grain well, and a tough finish... Hardens woods too for drilling/boring etc...

    Steve K

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Utah USA
    Posts
    47

    Re: refinishing a lens board question

    If it is maple, it is very difficult to get the stain to "bring out the grain"--mostly stain will just put a color tint across the wood. My preference for maple is a clear coat, and I can't think of a better choice than dewaxed clear shellac, or orange shellac if you want a warm hue. Shellac is a good choice because its one of the better finishes that blocks moisture from coming out of the wood, thereby making the wood more stable.

    For color finishes, there are 2 types: stain and dyes. Dyes act like colored glass, and are my preference for hardwoods with nice grain patterns; stains are opaque pigments, acting like thinned down paint to obscure the grain. Some finishes, like Minwax, are a combination of the two. Stains are nice for things like oak where you want to accentuate the pores.

    Watco finish isn't a dye, but it acts like one, and does a nice job and is commonly available.

    Gel stains can give you a strong tone but very even.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    34

    Re: refinishing a lens board question

    John,

    Don't bother with lacquer, stain, oil finish, and especially polyurethane. If they are the original boards then they were finished with shellac unless they've been refinished before.

    Assuming they're the original shellac finish, I would recommend that you gently wet sanding with mineral spirit with 800-1000 grit. To keep the patina, do not sand all the way to the wood. Fill deep scratched areas with a dark brown marker, wipe off excess immediately.

    Finally, re-apply a coat of thinned shellac/alcohol and a drop of oil on a cotton rag applicator, gently glide over the surface in circular motion, keep moving around the board evenly. When you dip into the shellac, make sure you wait a few seconds for the applicator surface to a bit dry before you put it to the board. If it gets sticky then apply a drop of oil to the applicator. No need to re-stain the wood, the warm color of shellac will restore the color. Zinser shellac is too thick to put on straight, thinned 1:1 with denature alcohol. Best done temperature above 80F in full sun. Daytime temperatures have been above 90F in California, so it's a perfect time for this.

    You can also send them to me and I'll shellac them for you.

    Jeff

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    8,187

    Re: refinishing a lens board question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff T View Post
    John,

    Don't bother with lacquer, stain, oil finish, and especially polyurethane. If they are the original boards then they were finished with shellac unless they've been refinished before.

    Assuming they're the original shellac finish, I would recommend that you gently wet sanding with mineral spirit with 800-1000 grit. To keep the patina, do not sand all the way to the wood. Fill deep scratched areas with a dark brown marker, wipe off excess immediately.

    Finally, re-apply a coat of thinned shellac/alcohol and a drop of oil on a cotton rag applicator, gently glide over the surface in circular motion, keep moving around the board evenly. When you dip into the shellac, make sure you wait a few seconds for the applicator surface to a bit dry before you put it to the board. If it gets sticky then apply a drop of oil to the applicator. No need to re-stain the wood, the warm color of shellac will restore the color. Zinser shellac is too thick to put on straight, thinned 1:1 with denature alcohol. Best done temperature above 80F in full sun. Daytime temperatures have been above 90F in California, so it's a perfect time for this.

    You can also send them to me and I'll shellac them for you.

    Jeff
    Thanks, that's good to know!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

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