Fraim shelves restoration

i recently discussed with my carpenter a change colour to total black of a Fraim rack i have in the basement. Since i don’t like the Ash veneer, we also thought rosewood option but at the end we’ll get the orginal shelves sanded to bare mdf, re- veneered in cherry and tinted in black in letting the cheery veneer still visible (open pore tinting). We’ll also power coat the Fraim legs in black. For the record, the singles shelves weight on my scale is varying from 1,6 kg to a maximum of 1.89 kg circa. For the moment i’ll put back on duty my old Audiotach tables

Do you need to sand back to the bare MDF? That seems extreme to me and could weaken the MDF/veneer/glue sandwich, respecting you want to re-veneer.

Why not just (lightly) sand the veneer to get a key for black tint paint?


Couldn’t agree more, getting back to the MDF is going to be very difficult.

Yes, it is, otherwise tinting these would cover the veneer completly. If i want he could also reproduce a new one from scratch with same spec.

What about vinyl wrapping them instead?

The idea was to see the wood veneer through the tint like my Aldo Rossi Milano chairs.

That seems like a huge amount of work to me given the rather small amount of veneer that is really visible around the boxes, glass shelves and uprights. Still, if you have a professional who can do it, why not. It might be easier to trade in the ash rack for a cherry, but of course the grain on that will probably be filled so you might not get the effect you want.
Not sure about powder coating, I’m aware that there are different ways to do it but what I have seen always makes the surface look and feel like a cheap plastic coating. I would have thought that getting them anodised in black would be a better look.
Good luck with your project.

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Of course this project might seem absurd, however for me is like a sort of experment. In fact, for the start, had to be only one or two shelves, at the end we are doing all the stack. I’m pretty confident with his job, He already did a good part of my furnitures and doors.

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It would be interesting to see the renovation documented with photos to illustrate the process involved, if that can be done in association with the person carrying out the work?

I’m certainly very curious as to how this turns out, as I have sun damaged Quadraspire EVO4 shelving which could do with a little attention, and their construction is similar to Naim shelves.

if your carpenter is as skilled as you write, how about starting with a bare piece of MDF and cut it to size? If things work out, you can sell the original shelves, otherwise you have a backup.

Of course, he can build this from scratch albeit at more expense, also we’d theorically infringe
Naim cpyright.

I’m not so sure. Sanding off the old veneer accurately, without removing any of the softer MDF underneath, could be considerably harder than cutting out new sheets of MDF with the right equipment and materials.

Especially, as I’ve come across, where the glue used for the veneer (somehow!) bonded with the upper-parts of the MDF (perhaps as it should?) and, I assume, the bonding compound used within the MDF.

The latter can get very micro-grainy & bumpy when the surface is attacked.

@rsch - respecting the skills of your carpenter here but if you want the grain to come through any stain/varnish/paint, would it not be better first-up to test-sand the underneath of a shelf (noting the bases are simply normal shelves inverted) i.e. isn’t seen, and see if the grain on the veneer can be opened-up slightly, so as it will accept varnish/stain and still show the grain through?

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