Water damaged surface


Need a little help repairing a water damaged cherry dining table. This is a quality piece built in the mid 50's with that period's deep red stain. A roof leak has left the surface a bit cloudy which rings a bell in my head but I don't recall the exact key to the problem. Would this be a shellac finish? It seems to me that there is a fix for this but I just don't recall it. Any help would be appreciated.
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C & M wrote:

Sounds like an insurance claim.
Get a pro to evaluate before you try to save a buck.
After all, that's why you pay those premiums.
Lew
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If you're set on trying to fix this yourself, here is what Bob Flexner has to say on the subject in this book _Understanding Wood Finishing_. He talks specifically about water rings from a glass, but it should apply to any moisture that has penetrated a finish. He suggest first trying applying an oily substance, such as furniture polish, petroleum jelly, or mayonnaise (his suggestion, not mine) and allowing it to remain on the surface overnight. He states that the oil has a greater affinity to the finish than water and will sometimes replace the water if the damage is superficial.
If that doesn't work, you have to decide how much you want to work on this. Flexner's next suggestion is to wipe the finish with a cloth dampened with alcohol. Quoting from his section on this:
"Dampen a cloth with any commonly available alcohol (denature alcohol is best) and wipe it gently over the damaged area. Since alcohol will dissolve shellac and damage lacquer and water base, in addition to causing water rings itself, begin with a very slight dampening and add more alcohol if necessary, observing closely what is happening. You will have the cloth dampened enough when it leaves the appearance of a comet's tail trailing as you wipe. The comet's tail is caused by the alcohol evaporating. Don't rub hard. Wiping with alcohol will remove water rings in all but the most severe cases."
If the above doesn't do the job, my suggestion would be to leave it to a pro to decide the next step. As for the type of finish, I don't know what people were using in the 50s as a finish, however, I'd be surprised to find a commercial operation (if this is, in fact, a commercially-made piece), to use shellac.
todd
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