Finish on Walnut Brunswick Anniversary

Kjs1948

Registered
I've got a 1948 Anniversary that gets a lot of Play. The problem I'm having is that the top of the rails continually get scratched from the cues rubbing on the top of the rails during shots.... especially when Breaking.

My question is if anyone knows of a HARD clear finish over the Walnut that will not scratch. Currently the rails were sealed with A water based Polyurethane and it is not working! Is there some Harder top coat I could put on the top rails?


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Billiards0518

Registered
First of all, water-based poly is CRAP!

I don't believe I've ever seen a walnut Anniversary table. Typically, they were cherry with rosewood top rails.

In either case, the original finish (assuming it doesn't have laminate rails, which were also common in later Anniversary productions) should be lacquer.

Lacquer will scratch. Like concrete, it never stops curing. So, it reaches a point where it will stop getting harder and start getting brittle. That's years in the future. Lacquer is also yellowing. This can be mitigated by using a product like Sherwin Williams CAB acrylic lacquer. I've had good success with it not taking on a yellow tint.

You can also use a pre-catalyzed lacquer. This will aid in curing time (get harder faster). I don't recommend using a brush to apply any of these. They should be sprayed on.

Back to the wood...

If they are walnut, great. Make sure you use a fish-eye preventative. ANY oil or silicone in the wood will cause the lacquer to separate.

If they are rosewood, you'll have a MUCH bigger problem with fish-eye. Short of being a professional finisher, there isn't much an amateur is going to do to keep it from happening. Rosewood is a VERY oily wood.
 

Billiards0518

Registered
Short of going to a UV-cured finish, the only thing that's going to slow down the scratches is time. Your finish HAS to cure to its optimum hardness.
 

Billiards0518

Registered
Also, if you're going to do a lacquer finish, you'll need to use either a sanding sealer or a vinyl sealer. I prefer the latter.
 

Kjs1948

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Kjs1948

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I have this Anniversary at home and have no scratches..



We have two other tables at the pool room at the clubhouse that has the problem wit scratching.


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Billiards0518

Registered
Yeah. That's mahogany. Not walnut.

Similar properties as working with walnut (as far as finishes go) except, mahogany has a very open grain. For the best results, you'll want to use a paste grain filler first, followed by vinyl sealer, finally, either a pre-catalyzed or catalyzed lacquer. Pre-cat lacquer has the catalyzer already mixed in. Not quite as fast curing as a catalyzed lacquer (where you add the catalyst).

Again, on a 70 year old table, you'll want to do everything you can to reduce fish-eye (unless you don't mind having round circles where the finish separated).

When you strip off the old finish, make sure you wash down the bare wood with lacquer thinner. Once sanded and prepped, wash it down again but, this time, don't touch it with your bare hands (oils from your skin will also cause fish-eye). Apply paste wood filler and remove the excess as per the directions on the can. Coat it out with vinyl sealer. Sand again. Finally, several coats of the lacquer of your choice (pre-catalyzed acrylic lacquer is what I recommend. All available from Sherwin Williams or your local Mohawk Finishes dealer).
 

Billiards0518

Registered
Sorry... I was mistaken before. Centennial tables have rosewood. Anniversary tables have mahogany or laminate. I have seen a few with rosewood. But, I think someone swapped out the rails from a Centennial on them.
 

trentfromtoledo

8onthebreaktoledo
Gold Member
Silver Member
Walnut

All Anniversary's are Walnut or like you said Formica in the latter versions.

Read here:

http://antiquetables.brunswickbilliards.com/our_rich_history/antique_tables/anniversary.html


Having 15 or so Anniversary restorations under my belt, I assure you that it is indeed Walnut just like it says on their website :)

It comes down to this: All finishes will scratch. If people playing on these restored antiques do not realize this fact, they absolutely should not be playing on it like a bunch of BANGERS. I would be SERIOUSLY pissed if someone came and played like that on my 50+ year old table that I paid a lot of money for.

Trent from Toledo

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trentfromtoledo

8onthebreaktoledo
Gold Member
Silver Member
No match of pissing.

Was only stating facts. No pissing match. People that either own these tables or are thinking about buying one should know that these are precious antiques and not a table for abuse. I LOVE these Anniversary tables and getting the opportunity to restore them for my clients is a privilege. The polished aluminum is raw and needs to be cleaned and polished to retain its luster. The finish, what ever is used, demands respect to or it will look like crap! Headed to Ft. Lauderdale this morning to install another OS 8' Anniversary C-I restoration :) Good article!!! Have a good day sir!

Trent from Toledo
 

Billiards0518

Registered
Was only stating facts. No pissing match. People that either own these tables or are thinking about buying one should know that these are precious antiques and not a table for abuse. I LOVE these Anniversary tables and getting the opportunity to restore them for my clients is a privilege. The polished aluminum is raw and needs to be cleaned and polished to retain its luster. The finish, what ever is used, demands respect to or it will look like crap! Headed to Ft. Lauderdale this morning to install another OS 8' Anniversary C-I restoration :) Good article!!! Have a good day sir!

Trent from Toledo

Thank you!

Down here in the south, we don't run across many Anniversaries or Centennials. The Anniversaries that I have run across have all had laminate. The grain structure of the wood in the OP's photos look more like mahogany than walnut. Good to know though.

As for what brand of finish used, I do believe there are LOTS of good products out there on the market. However, regardless of which products anyone uses, the end result will be substantially worse if one doesn't have proper technique.

I stress the "fish-eye" issue. I have been restoring pool tables for the past 20 years (pianos for the past 13). I have seen first-hand what oils from skin and use of furniture polish can do. It can make applying a new finish a NIGHTMARE!

My Sherwin Williams rep once told me of a production shop that had fish-eye issues. Come to find out it was from perfume that one of the workers was using. I don't know if that's what their problem actually was, but, I guess it could be.

As I said previously, spraying on the new finish will give better results for ALL furniture. One technique for preventing fish-eye is to spray VERY light coats of either sanding sealer or vinyl sealer. Basically, dusting the piece in multiple passes until enough VERY small droplets have basically filled in the spots that want to fish-eye. This can not be achieved with a brush.

Grain filler will fill in the pores of the wood and yield a MUCH better product in the end.

I refinished a set of rails for one of our hotels here in downtown New Orleans about 2 years ago. I used Sherwin Williams CAB acrylic lacquer. I went by there last week and noticed, although the rails did have SOME scratches (normal with wear), they basically looked as good as the day I reinstalled them.

If anyone wants any tips on refinishing, don't hesitate to drop me a message. I'll be happy to help.
 
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