Windsor Chair Resources

Windsor chairmaking tips-tools

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Tip Index
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Crackle Finish

What experience do folks have with getting a "crackle" finish? I have tried the Old Fashioned Milk Paint product with mixed success. Any tips on getting good results with that product, and any other techniques that you reccommend? MB 11/18/99

Reply: I'd suggest taking one of the milk paint classes with Eli Rios and Old Mill in York PA. You'll learn the basics of making a very believeable old finish. JT 11/19/99

REPLY: To add a bit of the crackle effect to a chair or any sort of case work,I use a heat gun. Mine is an industrial Stanley...but I think a hair dryer might do also.I actually found this technique quite by accident.I had to get some samples out to a customer in a real hurry, and couldn't wait for the milk paint to dry....so I put the heat gun to it.(Temperature up high and held in close).Paint is to be wet, and as it dries too fast...crackle happens.I then put another wet coat over that and do the same thing(2 colors).Now, restraint is important here I think,interpretation (art) is on your mind...vary the level (intensity)of the effect, as you apply it to different areas.Again try this on scrap first.To finish off,try over this, the burning shellac thing, buff (wipe) out shellac coat with a dampend wrag(with alcohol)to remove any runs or lap lines.Consider also a dark tinted wax to add a final character to the piece.Have fun. MWT 7/9/04.

FIRE ANTIQUING

QUESTION:  MWT, Do tell about this "setting a piece on fire" process. I am curious what this is all about? Is it a crackle procedure? Thanks. SS 7/5/04

REPLY: A bit about setting perfectly good furniture on fire.It's sometimes a part of the Antiquing process I go through,trying to add some age to a chair or Settee.It is not used(the process) to produce a crackle,which is done in a different manner,but the two done together produces a finish that I like.After painting the chair,and rubbing the final coat out to whatever degree or way that you do...you mix up what I call burn mix shellac.3lb.cut amber shellac and denatured alcohol.Ratio: 3to1 -3 alcohol to 1 part shellac.Do small areas at a time,OUTSIDE the shop.Brush on liberally, and set off with a match immediately.This is a good two person job,but I usually do it alone.The mixture flashes up and burns off quickly, leaving behind a thin dark layer of cured shellac.Also I add dark walnut Trans-Tint dye(Woodcraft) to the burn mix to darken the result even more.There's more to all this than what I've described here.....but you get the idea at least what it's about.After you burn the chair...you still have more work to do to get the thing done.Experiment on scrap!Additionally, the crackle additives one can buy, seems to be more trouble than it's worth in my opinion, and fake looking.There's a better way, and very simple to do. MWT 7/6/04.

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