On Friday, August 3, 2012 8:46:49 AM UTC-5, dadiOH wrote:
3. under the finish; i.e., the finish is gone and you are seeing what was under it (which isn't wood)
The Chris's grandfather made the table, so I would think the table top is nice wood, appropriate for clearcoating to show the nice wood. Painting, or maybe even staining, such a table would be abnormal.
One thing I had thought of was there was some damage and someone patched/puttied (filled in, somehow) those areas, then (possibly?) *applied a clearcoat over the repair. It's hard to tell, for sure, what is there, as per the picture.
*Chris says the finish is completely gone over these spots, hence, has the areas simply been filled in with something, for filling divot(?)/trauma damaged.
I often visit this forum - http://www.refinishwizard.com/phpbb/viewforum.php?f=1 - maybe the pros, here, can give another opinion or further insight.
Chris, can you possibly get some further history from your mother, regarding the "damage" or some possible refinishing work in the past?
Whether you try the repair, yourself, or refinish the whole top or get someone to repair/refinish it, something will have to be done to those spots. I would test sand (or scrape), lightly at first, a small area to see if the white comes off or is affected, somehow, just to get some idea of what is there: Whether it is separate from the clearcoating, imbedded into the clear coating or is the clear coating, itself, that has been changed. Posting a pic of any change, as per sanding/scraping, might help diagnose the issue for subsequent recourse.