How to repair a mahogany table top

Our dining table has suffered the ravages of family life for 20 years or so and the top has quite a few dings and scratches. It's not particularly valuable but the finish is very attractive so I'd prefer to try to repair the scratches and refinish it - any suggestions about where to get the necessary info?
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Have you tried The Internet? I understand it's quite useful in these situations.
Si
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On 16/01/2011 17:23, Mungo "Two Sheds" Toadfoot wrote:

Yup - I use it all the time. There's a huge amount of info and no way to filter good from bad. I was hoping for some suggestions based on personal practical experience (I admit I could have worded the question far better!)
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:o)
I often have a squint around Youtube for things of this nature; it's quite useful and, surprisingly, not just full of schoolkids filming themselves being 'cool', as it seems at first glance.
Si
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Mungo "Two Sheds" Toadfoot ( snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com) wibbled on Sunday 16 January 2011 18:52:

Yep - I have leant more about wood routing that I could ever do from a book - my mode of learning is to watch something in action. It also makes a lot of helpful information put out here fall into context better IME.
--
Tim Watts

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On 16/01/2011 18:52, Mungo "Two Sheds" Toadfoot wrote:

Surprisingly I hadn't thought of Youtube - good idea! Sadly, having stumbled over a very nice mango-wood table/chairs while looking for something else I'm now getting tempted to replace rather than repair.
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Mungo "Two Sheds" Toadfoot ( snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com) wibbled on Sunday 16 January 2011 17:23:

I think he just did! ;->
--
Tim Watts

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NoSpam ( snipped-for-privacy@hursley.ibm.com) wibbled on Sunday 16 January 2011 16:09:

Hi,
Solid mahogany? Or veneer?
I got a long long with some *very* mild sanding of an oak veneered leaf dining table I got for 25 quid (the danger was going through the veneer).
If solid, you can obviously take more off.
As to the scratches - will they sand out, do you want to fill them or even leave them as a "feature of antiquity" (it's not as daft as it sounds).
For filling - wait for someone else. There are certainly magic compounds but I know not what to recommend.
What sort of finish are you after? Again, there are many choices, including:
a) Plain waxing (again, wait for someone to recommend the best) - not so robust but trivial to repolish from time to time once the base wax is established. Hardwood lab benches lasted for decades of abject chemical and heat abuse by being waxed often. Howver, if you want a "pristine" look, a waxed finish may mark quickly with spilt liquid or heat.
b) Oils of various sorts.
c) Varnish. Personally if going down this route, I wouldn't use polyurethane - but rather something like Rustins "Bar Top" which has been recommended here many times. Not so easy to apply but supposed to be the most bastard hardwaring finish available.
d) "Treatex" which is a proprietary blend of oils and waxes. I like it where I want a non polished "real wood" look and feel (I used it on all my oak skiting and architrave) - couple of coats leave the wood texture still feelable but offers some protection. Easy to rag another coat on later. Not likely to give you a traditional polished look.
Cheers
Tim
--
Tim Watts

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On 16/01/2011 17:24, Tim Watts wrote:

Veneer - with some very nice figuring (it was a few hundred squid about 25 years ago

I guess some will go with refinishing, a few ill need filling and the rest can become a "feechur"

At the moment I think it's lacquered - it looks too good to be 25 year old polyurethane.
Having done a little investigation it seems that I would have to get "all" the lacquer off if I was going to varnish or oil it - maybe that will turn-out to be a piece of sandpaper too far. I've just seen some very nice (and some not-so-nice) mango-wood furniture and the flexible friend is tempting me to splash out :-(
Thanks for the info.
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On 18/01/2011 16:40, NoSpam wrote:

I have done a couple of restoration jobs recently... one was a kitchen table, which was solid wood. The other was a Victorian music cabinet with mahogany veneer.
The former I attacked with a belt sander to take it down to bare wood, and then though a couple of grades of paper on a random orbit sander to finish it. The table top was made from several planks, and the original detail had a little decorative groove effect at the joint of each plank. Needless to say these were a bit of a pain on a table used for eating, since the grooves would collect crumbs etc. Hence many years ago someone had made a stab at filling them with something unsuitable (probably polyfilla!) prior to its last refinishing, so to tidy that up, I routed a neat square edged rebate into top where each "groove" was, and inlaid a strip of contrasting wood. The table wanted a fairly bullet proof finish, so I gave it three coats of SF clear yacht varnish to finish it, and that came up rather nicely.
For the music cabinet, one needed to be a little gentler with since there was only a limited thickness of veneer. It the top was also in quite a bad way to start with. So I used a flat cabinet scraper on it first to get the worst of the flakeynes off, and then a couple of grades of paper on the random orbit sander to get back to wood. The rest of the cabinet has a traditional French polish, so I thought I had better redo the top to match. The only shellac product I had to hand was a bottle of knotting solution. So applied lots of thin coats of that with a "rubber" made from some cotton cloth. The result was actually rather nice.
--
Cheers,

John.

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On 16/01/2011 16:09, NoSpam wrote:

I have a similar problem to you. I do a lot of looking at poorly computers and some time ago, I slid a computer case across the table and 2 of the screws that hold the plastic feet to the bottom of the case had come unscrewed just enough to scratch the dining table top by about 0.25mm :-((( Come warmer weather, Ill take the legs off it and try sanding it down outside.
Dave
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Bennett's "Discovering and Restoring Antique Furniture" is about the best general how-to <(Amazon.com product link shortened)> Most antique restoration books are _not_ to be trusted, especially not for wood finishes.
The "steam ironing" technique is worth trying for dent removal and some scratches, so long as you're already having to deal with (white) hot water rings.
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On 18/01/2011 20:13, Andy Dingley wrote:

It isn't an antique so I believe the finish is likely to be lacquer.
There aren't any rings - just scratches on the (rather nice) table top and on the chair legs. From the figuring it must be a veneered top. I'm starting to think that this may not be a DIY job ... but I need to find-out about the compatibility of different finishes, and also how much a restorer would charge.
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Flexner's finishing book is about the best guide. Bit American, but a good book.
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On 18/01/2011 21:40, NoSpam wrote:

A quick fix might be a suitably coloured wax crayon rubbed over the scratches. Very difficult to restore modern lacquers without stripping and doing a total re-finish
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On 19/01/2011 11:07, stuart noble wrote:

Axminster do some furniture coloured wax repair sticks IIRC. They can certainly make damage far less noticeable...
--
Cheers,

John.

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On 19/01/2011 19:50, John Rumm wrote:

I think "less noticeable" is going to have to be the aim, rather than fully refinishing it. Maybe a quick attack with 0000 wire wool, then a combination of running some french polish into the smaller scratches and some wax into the larger ones, then an overall zap with some decent polish. Thanks for all the suggestions.
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