My oak table top has posed a new problem.
The original lacquer is all but gone. The table has been used for many
years as such. I used a varnish remover to get rid of what was left but
when I started to sand it lightly my sandpaper came up with brown dust
bunnies. The paper filled up to useless quickly. I suspect that there may
be vegetable oil etc on the surface. What do I do to get rid of it or at
least neutralize the oils in the oak?
hard to say without seeing it, but some combination of sugar soap, maybe
patio deck cleaner (oxalic acid and detergents) or even caustic soda
(good on surface grease) should sort it.
Some of these may lighten the oak in patches - ammonia fuming will
darken it again and is a useful technique for evening out patchy cleaned
oak. It will darken all the oak though - good for "old" pieces, not good
on modern pieces that are deliberately light.
I certainely wouldn't go fuming this piece, at least "I" wouldn't
suggest it without a lot more information and can't imagine why I would
given the info you haveprovided in this post.
Not sure what you are seeing on the sand paper. Are these "bunnies"
gummy or is the paper just loading up. If the paper is loading up you
may have varnish/poly/lacquer still on the surface.
Lots of questions. What color is the wood? Can you see raw, un-colored
wood? If it is some sort of oil, you might try wiping the table down
with naptha or acetone.
Pictures would really help.
I wouldn't recommend it blindly, but it's a useful technique.
Oak fuming isn't magic - it's only doing what teh timber will do
naturally, given a century or so. So if you have a piece that's that
sort of age, and you have to sand or plane it to remove damage, then
you're left with a pale and non-oxidised spot of previously unexposed
timber. Fuming can darken this to match the rest, and it's likely to be
a better match, more easily achieved, than anything done with stains.
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