I tried oxalic acid on the dark reddish stain on my old round oak table with
no change. I then tried a strong solution of chlorine which turned part of
the stain into a soft white pulp. I rinsed it all off and let it dry but
the stain was still there. I decided that the only way I could make use of
this oak table would be to heavily sand the surface down past the stain -
but I could never get below it.
Now I'm wondering if this "stain" isn't actually a natural part of the wood,
like a knot. If it is, I'm surprised the maker of this oak table would have
used such a piece of wood in the first place since the 3" reddish area in
the center of the table sure looks like a stain. Of course there are still
traces of white paint underneath the table that must have covered up the
ugly "stain", or knot.
I'm not sure what to do now and figure my options are nil. My wife
definitely doesn't want this table in our home the way it looks, so I guess
I'll have to dispose of it in some way. Maybe an antique dealer would give
me a few bucks for it. I guess I could paint it white....
Try sanding the piece down to about 180 grit and then apply a wash
coat of shellac.
Go to Jeff Jewitt's website and get some Transtint dyes that are in
the color range of the average color of the wood. Mix up some of this
in shellac and brush it on the light colored area with light brush
strokes, going with the grain. Don't worry about getting things
perfectly blended in but don't make the light area darker than the
Seal the whole thing with another wash coat of shellac.
Go back to Jeff's website and get some Transtint in the color range
between the middle and the darkest colors in the piece. Mix it with
shellac and run this lightly over the piece with the tip of the brush.
Don't worry about getting it even looking, you are actually graining
in the piece.
Blend the two Transtints together and mix them into the shellac to
create a toner. Go over the whole piece to unify it.
Then you can clearcoat with your top finish of choice.
BTW - most commercial stuff uses a blend of woods that are not
selected for grain and color match - as the maker intended there to be
a finish which would absolve him of the responsibility of doing this
careful work. Those of us who strip these pieces down and hope to
clearcoat them are often disappointed in the results.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.)
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
Oxalic acid doesn't work on red stains. Its action is on the metal
tannates that cause so much trouble with oak, and those are either
blue or black.
You can use any bleach on any timber, so if it's ink or something than
a peroxide or a hypochlorite bleach might just work. The compatibility
issues are about the types of colour you're addressing, and
possibility preserving some inherent colour of the timber. The "wrong"
bleach won't fail, it will just not work on that stain.
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