conference table finish

My office has a largish conference table approx. 4 feet x 12 feet. We got a "deal" on this for the low, low price of $6000. The bulk of the table is particleboard. (I was not consulted on this purchase). When I took a cursory look at the top, it looked like a plastic laminate of some kind with a faux wood grain. Well, I got an email from the boss today saying that someone had spilled coffee on it today and when they wiped it up, the area that was spilled on is now duller than the rest of the table. One of the resident geniuses told the owner that we should apply a "urethane" finish. Now, I suppose it's possible that the top is a wood veneer of some kind, but it just didn't feel like it to me...it felt like laminate. OTOH, if it was laminate, I wouldn't expect coffee to have any effect, unless that's some powerful strong coffee. Can anyone think of a way of telling for sure what the surface is? I don't think I'll be allowed to take a core sample. If it is, in fact, veneer, then poly might be the way to go. If it is laminate, then I don't know what to do or why the finish looks dull. As our resident woodworking expert (that's frightening), I've been asked to take a look at it.
todd
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On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 15:59:24 -0500, "Todd Fatheree"

I don't know how the table was built, but perhaps the top overhangs an apron by a bit, and perhaps the underside of the top is finished with the same material as the top. I don't think that anyone would use shellac on a conference table but you could try q-tipping a bit of alcohol onto this mostly hidden surface to test for it.
Nitro lacquer is a possibility and you can test for this by daubing a bit of lacquer thinner on, to see if it dissolves the finish.
I don't know how long the coffee was allowed to sit on the table and I don't know how hot the coffee was. The dulling could be caused by either moisture or heat.
In either case, I would first try to polish the dull area with a clean white dry rag first (a well washed T shirt would be good). Rub it out hard but don't put anything on the rag at this point.
If this doesn't bring it back, or if it only brings it back part way, I'd try a bit of paste wax and try to bring the finish up with that.
Anything beyond that probably demands the attention of a pro, on a six thousand dollar table.
Of course, if you can find out who made the table, it would be worth a phone call to find out more before you do anything.
Regards, Tom.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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a
Look at the description on the invoice? Call the dealer/manufacturer? At that price though, they may still be on vacation with your money. Conference room tables should be able to handle spilled coffee; maybe you can take it back and get something durable at Ikea. Ed
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Todd Fatheree wrote:

Maybe it had been waxed and polished and the coffee took some of the wax off?

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
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