Help with Veneer Repair


A relative just gave me a dining table that has been sitting in a sunny room for about 20 years, and the veneer / finish has deteriorated over time due to sun exposure. Can someone help me with a guess as to what I should do? I have posted some pictures at
http://home.houston.rr.com/jonshaddox/table /
This is a solid wood table covered in veneer, and I'm sure it is likely to have a lacquer finish on it. I'm thinking I might need to remove the finish (a lacquer thinner test did dull the finish, so I am assuming it is lacquer). Will lacquer thinner remove this kind of finish, long after it has cured (okay, I think 20 years qualifies!). How should I do this, if so? Should I remove the finish and re-lacquer? Does it look like it will need some stain-matching, or will a few coats of lacquer magically return the original looks (if any of you can venture a guess from the pictures). Should I stain? Should I sand? Does the veneer itself look damaged beyond repair to you? Any ideas?
As for me, I'm just a lurker here who has been doing ww for about 6 years - mostly furniture (beds, tables, wine racks, frames, boxes, whatever). Have never done anything with veneer, and don't have any equipment (veneer press, etc) for that. Have never done any refinishing of any kind. Don't know nothing about no refinishing nohow. That's why I'm here.
Thanks.
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Jon:
It looks like the finish on the table is certainly a lacquer of some sort. You test seems to bear this out.
I lifted this from something I posted a while back, with a couple of the spelling areas corrected and the info tailored for your table project. Hope it helps.
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Take the table outside in the shade or put it in your garage with a fan to circulate the fumes. Make sure the table (can you take the top off?) is completely out of the sunlight so it stays cool.
If it is the top only, put it on some saw horses put over a cheap tarp (I buy mone at Big Lots - 6'X8' is something like $2). Clean off the surface with a brush.
If you are not refinishing the sides, then tape to the finish edge with good quality masking tape, NOT the blue stuff. Apply Bix K3 (the orange can) or better as directed.
This is an old timer's tip, and it will take the sting out of the stripping. When you see the finish starting to bubble (which in your case should be immediately), and you are ready to hit it with the plastic putty knife to scrape, don't do it.
Put on a couple of handfuls of sawdust in the area you are working first and literally scrub the door with a stiff nylon brush. Keep the sawdust in the brush, and buy a couple of different brushes at the dollar store to make sure you have the one you want.
The sawdust is the tip here, and it is worth its weight in gold. The sawdust will do three things; it acts as a pore and nook and cranny cleaner, a mild abrasive, and it will pick up the spent stripper with a lot of the old finish attached. Work your table in thirds, and the table will be pretty close to or actually dry at the first third by the time you get to the end.
You won't believe what that sawdust will do to the loosened paint and how much it speeds and cleans up this nasty process.
Brush off any loose sawdust. With only a coat or two of finish to remove (in your case just one), you shouldn't need to do this more than once if you are patient enough to let the Bix work (always hard for me, no matter how many times I do it). Sand as needed to make you happy and wipe the door down with lacquer thinner if you are going back with lacquer, or paint thinner if you choose the urethane route.
If this is a utility dining room table and not some keepsake or prized piece, I would put on polyurethane for the water and scuff resistance. Put three coats of of finish on it, following the manufacturer's recommendations for recoating and drying times.
Good luck! Post us another pic and let us see how and what you did!
Robert
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Thanks Robert!
I will let you know how it turns out.
Jon
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