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Old 12-01-2002, 06:35 PM
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Re-finishing wood trim pieces

If left in the sun, over time, as everyone knows, the finish on the wood pieces tends to start cracking. I learned this lesson on a 75 300D, which had always been garaged, but now is outside. Within one summer, the sun cracked the finish on the wood on the glove box. When I purchased the 87 300D, the finish on the console was already cracked. So, I decided to refinish it. Following is what I did.

This is just an FYI on what I did.

I used Klean Strip KS-3 Premium stripper that will remove polyurethane. This stuff is mean and will dissolve anything in it’s path. I stripped the console in the garage. Not wise as one tends to breath the vapors and one of the chemicals in the stripper causes cancer. Not too bright. Subsequent pieces were stripped outside in a small box with a piece a newspaper “tented” over the stripper covered piece. A reflector type temporary lighting fixture was used to create heat, which speeds up the stripping process. –

I started with the console, but could not really match up to the other pieces in color. So, I stripped all pieces, even those on the ash tray. Remove as much of the plastic pieces attached to the wood as possible.

For a stain, I used Watco dark walnut penetrating oil finish as the base stain. If you want a reddish tint to the wood, you can go the dark walnut with an oil based cherry stain. You can make it as dark/light as you want by applying additional coats of stain. I used one coat of dark walnut and cherry. The penetrating oil type stain brings out the grain in the wood and might no be pleasing to some.

Over the stain, was hand rubbed numerous coats of Behr Tung Oil finish. The tung oil has UV inhibitors, which should help preserve the original color and wood. The tung oil creates a mat finish. One can use Formby’s Tung oil if they want a glossy finish. I like tung oil because you cannot make in mistakes – runs, drips, dust specks on the finish, etc. Plus, it can be reapplied in the future if a scratch develops. Granted, tung oils are not as dent and scratch resistant as the polyurethane, but unless you have kids, I do not think that will be a detriment. At least the finish will not crack and it can always be touched up without sanding like a poly does.

Now for the purist, it is verboten to change the color of the original wood. I find the new color richer and warmer and compliments the Palamino interior.


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