Hi, all. :) I have a large oil stain in the middle of an unfinished
cherry wood coffee table and I'm wondering how to get it out. My husband
stored a new weed-wacker on top of the coffeetable for about 10 years (the
table has been in the basement for about 15 yrs.) The small vial of oil
that came with the weedwacker leaked out onto the coffee table top.
I have hopes of putting the table back together (I had it professionally
stripped before storage) and I'd like to have it for my new living room.
But now I have no idea of what to do about that oil stain. The oil is the
type used for lubricating the weedwacker; it's a clear oil, and not car oil.
Should I sand it out? Should I add more oil to the rest of the table top to
match? Or can I use a paint stripper to remove the oil - again, this is
unfinished wood the oil is on? I hate to have it professionally stripped
_again_ just to remove the oil stain. Any help from this group would be
very much appreciated. TIA. :)
You have a difficult problem here. A few thoughts:
1. Can the table top be removed and turned over? Depending on how it's
fastened this may not be possible, but if screw holes on the bottom
are close to the edges you may be able to re-cut the top to eliminate
them and then re-engineer the fastening system with the old topside on
the bottom. Of course the current bottomside may not be cherry if the
piece was originally veneered, not solid.
2. Overlay the existing top with a piece of veneered cherry plywod, as
thin as you can find it. Gluded down and edge stained to hide the plys
it may be acceptable to you.
3. Failing that, and as a last resort, truy the method described in
"The Furniture Doctor", an ancient but good book. Essentially, one
uses mineral spirits (paint thiner) pooled over and around the spot,
spinkled with cat litter or equivalent, then sealed with a sheet of
plastic (like a plastic drop cloth held down with masking tape). Leave
it on for a couple of days and it'lll draw out "some" of the oil.
Maybe enough, maybe not.
3. Final thought. After 3 above, sand the top to 220 grit, seal it
with shellac, the dewaxed sealer coat type. A couple of coats will do.
Then use a mildly cherry colored stain (not water based!) on top like
a toner to try to even out the color. If the first stain is not dark
enough, add a bit of dark walnut to the some of the cherry stain and
try again. Continue until until the color matches. The problem here is
that it won't ever look like a pure oiled finish cherry, but cherry
colors vary a lot naturally and no one may notice. If you get close,
you may have won the battle.
For a good discussion on the use of toners I can suggest Jeff Jewitt's
book, it's close to gospel on finishing.
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