Alternatives to Red Lead

In a fire repair job, a finisher wishes he had some "red lead" pigment (currently banned). He gets advice on a workaround. March 13, 2009

I have a customer who had a fire in a large cabinet I had built for him. I have sanded out all the burned areas. In the case of the solid wood areas it is fine but I am limited how much more I can sand the surface which is mahogany veneered. I cannot reshoot the surface so I am French polishing them. In the past I mixed polish in a shading block then added a little red lead to lighten dark areas. Now unfortunately shading blocks or red lead are unavailable. Stripping everything and bleaching is too much work and still would not guarantee a satisfactory solution. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor S:
Red lead is still available but you have to sign a waiver to get it. There are safer alternatives, but I understand. I love and hoard my stash of red lead under lock and key.

Try using a chrome yellow with whatever red you have on hand, you can get close, or if you don't need to really block the color with pigments try the orasol dyes, which will help you recreate the glow of color you are after without the full "painting it out" that pigments can do. Just depends on how much blocking effect you need.

From contributor G:
Is this cabinet used for food storage? You may find some regulations prohibiting the use of red lead.

From the original questioner:
Itís not food related. It is a combination of two cased windows flanked with bookcases .It extends the width of the room with columns and a top section with. The curtains caught on fire in one of the bays (owner was lighting his pipe and got distracted).