How to clean Mahogany?

My grandma is giving me an old mahogany dining set that once belonged to my great-grandma. The table is about 65-70 years old and has been sitting out in my grandma's garage, wrapped up in this plastic wrap, for the past 15 or so years.
Anyway, my fiance and I went to go look at it yesterday - its beautiful. We were both rather suprised to see that it is in decent condition. However, the top of the table needs a bit of TLC. There are a couple of spots that are sort of a milky white color (water spots maybe??). The chairs were also stored upside-down on top of the table and they've left a bit of a mark. They didn't scratch the table top or anything, you can just tell where each of the chairs were sitting. So... do any of you know how we can get rid of those spots? Or could you point me to a website where I might be able to find some directions?? I've never done anything like this before and I don't want to use the wrong thing and ruin it.
Thanks in advance! Melly
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"Melly" wrote in message ..

<sniP>
The first step would be to deternine what the finish is.
Personally, _I_ would stat by giving the peices some time to breath, unwrapped, out of the storage area, and then perhaps give a quick wipe down with denatured alcohol on a dampened lint-free rag
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Yes, it is probably either varnish, shellac, or just a wax finish. It would be helpful if we knew what is on the table.

down
I don't think I would do that, if it is shellac the alcohol could soften/strip it. I would use a mild mixture of dishsoap with a soft bristle brush. If the spots don't come out, then the op can decide if they want to strip it or have someone else take a look at it.
Frank
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"Frank Ketchum" wrote in message

a quick wipre witha damp cloth will not "strip"the finish off. all it will possibly do is loosen up the surface slightly, and it will return to it's original(but cleaner) state as the alchohol/solvent will quickly flash off again.
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Thanks for all of your advice. How do I determine what the finish is?
wrote in message

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(Melly)

Generally, fine furntiure is finished with shellac, nitrocellulose lacquer, or a varnish. You want to find out which one by a process of elimination.
Find a spot under the table, that is finished, but is hard to see when the table is used normally.
You will need: cotton swabs, denatured alcohol, lacquer thinner, vinyl gloves, and a ventilated work space.
Apply a small blob of alcohol on the hidden surface with a swab. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. If the area under the blob becomes softened, blisters or starts to lift off, you have your answer: shellac.
If not shellac, then put a small dab of lacquer thinner on the same spot. Let it sit and look for softening, etc. If it softens the finish, you have lacquer.
Otherwise, you have varnish, or some other really tough polymer finish like CAB lacquer.
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snipped-for-privacy@swcp.com (jim mcnamara) wrote:

HooooooooDoggies Lookie who the 'possum dragged in. Still pinin' away with yer urinestain? Wassup?
Spokeshave stopped by a while back and appears to be re-loitering. Paddy'O'Lac just wrote up a nostalgic bit and now you, Jums. You newbies keep yer eyes peeled for Walt, Doug and Tom now, ya hears?
--
Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
Offering a shim for the Porter-Cable 557 type 2 fence design.
  Click to see the full signature.
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I'm the wood finisher from NM, Jim McNamara is the one who lived in Sugarland, TX for years. I used to loiter here long before Jim with a capital J showed up, back when Paddy wasn't selling seedlac.
jim
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GOOD to see you back, hope you loiter and chat for a long time! Mebbe ad Domingo Rose to sig line?
On 30 Jun 2004 09:19:20 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@swcp.com (jim mcnamara) wrote:

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"Fly-by-Night CC" wrote in message

A more appropriate charge would be Malicious Mischief. :-)
-- J G (formerly "Spokey")
Sheriff Bart is Mongo's friend.......
http://www.shavings.net/images/Memphis/reflect_john.jpg
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The milky white spots could happen if SOMEBODY put something hot directly on the finish (say.... I dunno.... a BAKED POTATO or something....). The heat could cause water or wood oils under the finish to volatilize and make a distinct milky white spot. DAMHIKT.
It's hard to get this type of milky white spot out by rubbing or polishing because its on the underside of the finish coat. The white spot on my similar table hasn't gone away yet, it's been about 5+ yrs.
-jbb

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SIL used rottenstone and damp rag to get blush out of their table. Daughter commented the table has never look so good. Unfortunately it looked good only in spots where he abraded the finish. Jeff Jewitt has a forum on his site www.homesteadfinishing.com dedicated to restoration/refinishing, or words similar.
On Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:06:44 GMT, "J.B. Bobbitt"

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On 28 Jun 2004 14:32:07 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Melly) wrote:

firstly, if this is a valuable piece as it sounds like it might be, get an expert restorer involved. you might be able to do the actual work yourself, but the knowledge must come from a qualified person who physically examines the stuff in person.
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