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?
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
Mungo "Two Sheds" Toadfoot ( firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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
NoSpam ( email@example.com) wibbled on Sunday 16 January 2011 16:09:
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Come warmer weather, Ill take the legs off it and try sanding it down
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.
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.
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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