How Can I Prevent Bleed Through on Mahogany Furniture from the 1920's - 1930's?

ANSWER: Many mahogany pieces from the late 1920s to early 1930s have an aniline dye lacquer finish which can bleed through no matter how many times you paint or prime over it. Although ideal coverage over an aniline dye lacquer can never be guaranteed, the following two products have been known to minimize bleed through:

1) A stain blocking primer such as General Finishes Stain Blocker or Zinsser B-I-N.

2) A shellac seal coat will usually stop most of the bleeding

Note: If you are trying to cover red mahogany with a white you may never be able to stop the bleed through. General Finishes Stain Blocker is most likely to stop the bleed-through of all options listed above because it was specifically engineered to block the most persistent bleed-through.

Tips from GF:

-Never guarantee a finish on this era of furniture. Inform your customers of this issue and steer customers away from using light colors.

-Clean the project and use Zinsser B-I-N primer 

-Use a dark paint color

If none of this works, we recommend that you strip and refinish with a penetrating oil stain followed by a clear coat. 

Stripping Recommendations:

1) GF recommends using good quality citrus stripper or a soy gel stripper as they are more gentle than traditional chemical strippers.

2) Remove any remaining finish with 150 grit sandpaper. 

3) Once you have removed the old finish, wash the piece down with a 50/50 blend of denatured alcohol and water to remove any residue oils and waxes. 

4) Once these stages have been completed, it is safe to use any type of wood stain to restore the original look of the piece.