Customer has a large cedar chest that belonged to her mother and wants to keep it.
But it needs a touch up, outside around the top of the lid. Interior is like new.
Question is: What can be done to the exterior to correct for a few light scratches on or around the lid?
I guess, due to overtime, it doesn't spark anymore - could just be body oils or?
Don't want to modify the color (red like cedar is).
What could be rubbed across the surface to just make it look more consistent?
If the lid has a molded edge I would sand the profile edge all the way around. A wash coat of shellac on the edge - a colored aerosol to add color - two light costs of clear satin. You won't need a heavy finish build - those cedar pieces are lightly finished to resemble an oil finish but they are lacquer
Are they scratches or rub marks? My general rule of thumb is scratches get touched up, rub marks creating a fine patina are left alone.
Another thing I've found is some scratch or dings marks are very hard to get a touch up marker or stain finish to penetrate into it. Hand oils could be one reason. Furniture polish will create a barrier between the wood and the stain. I have had some luck wiping the blemish with Denatured Alcohol to remove the oils. Use it sparingly or you will have a bigger mess than what you started with.
Furniture with a fake finish seems to be impossible to touch up. I think they use a sealer before they spray on the paint like finish. I haven't figured out how to touch up this type finish. I bet Steve knows.
For customers that want their furniture to look like new I have found feathering rub marks with 2 or 3 coats of spray lacquer helps.
Once in a while I get a piece that needs more work than I can handle. I send those customers to a refinisher who has more experience and equipment than I do.
This sounds like a nice piece, and one that needs a finish type determined.
I would need to check in a location suitable. I mean discretely if a finish type and or thinner reducer I may use has conflicts with the present finish. As you you know the drill they always mention to us.
This above method would help finding if this present finish can handle some touch up. In your question Doyle I dont really hear you just asking for a wax option for the other non scratched touch up area. As we would not want even the small scratch areas have their surrounding edge bubbled up.
Thats my start, and pictures are always great in this situation, even if some determine it abstract 😎
One key word - lacquer
Therefore, basically did what Steve said, wash coat with some lacquer touch up.
I did do the 0000 steel wool process, helped clean it up.
Two coats of clear like Steve said.
After about an hour, left it to dry.
Fake finishes are a pain but can be touched up just like true wood color finishes. Faux finishes are either painted backgrounds with glazes moved around to resemble grain or photographic finishes that are a picture of wood grain. I think Doyle's chest is cedar wood and probably all wood.
Testing finishes is always a good idea but if you are going to sand the edge down to raw wood it doesn't matter what the old finish is. To further be safe using shellac as a sealer or barrier coat will stop different finishes from reacting with each other.