At Ackerman & Sons we specialize in the finest quality finishes. Our process is as follows:
Repairs: All major repairs are completed first, to prevent glue from soaking into the raw wood. Any glue on the old finish will be stripped off, and the stripper will not degrade our specially formulated aliphatic-resin glues.
Stripping: We hand-strip only, using an improved flow-over system. The stripper is kept in a reservoir, and pumped through a nylon bristled brush. We work from top to bottom, quickly and carefully removing the old finish. The stripper we use is formulated to leave older urea-formaldehyde glues on valuable antiques intact. A rinse mixture of water, oxalic acid, and mild bleach is used to even out color tones and bring mineral discoloration to the surface where they can be sanded off during the prepping phase.
Prepping: Before sanding we steam out nicks and dents, eliminating the need to remove more wood from thin veneers and precious solid woods than is needed. Drawers and doors are fitted and stopped, slides and glides checked, leaves fitted, and detailing completed. Minor repairs are done and all surfaces, including drawer insides, are sanded to finish quality. Flat surfaces are block sanded to eliminate the typical waviness associated with machine sanding.
Finishing: A colorfast base stain is used to bring items to a preliminary color. Every surface is completely sealed with a non-stearated sanding sealer, including all under and inside areas. This helps prevent splitting, cupping, bowing and warping by slowing the woods ability to gain and give off moisture (called climatizing). Grainy formal woods (walnut and mahogany) are then pastewood filled and given additional coats of sealer to fill the grain. To achieve a more distinct figuring we often pigment the pastewood filler. Aniline dyes, known for their depth and clarity, are used to shade entire pieces or individual areas to specific color tones. Precatalyzed lacquer topcoats, selected for their water and acid resistance, are applied, and hand rubbed to the desired sheen.