So my neighbor asks me to look at his kids desk to see if I know how
to fix it. He had a 10 gal aquarium on it for about a year with a
towel between the tank and the desk top. There are black spots and
streaks in the top where moisture was trapped.
The top is MDF core red oak veneer with what looks like about a 1/64"
thick veneer. There is no stain on the wood, just a clear coat which I
will assume is either an acrylic or poly product. There are a few
areas where the finish has lifted and flaked off around the black
stains and the grain has lifted a little bit. There may even be a few
small areas of delamination.
All the neighbor wants is for the staining to be gone. I don't know if
the stain is mold, mildew or something else. The wife tried some
mildew product on it with no success. That may of been what caused
some of the grain to raise.
Has anyone seen this before and know a good method to correct the
problem. I'm looking for ways to remove the stain. It seems to be a
surface stain or growth, I was able to scratch some of it off with a
finger nail but other areas did nothing when scratched.
My first thought was to try a weak bleach solution.
This was my first thought, but I'd guess that any staining (whether
mold or other discoloration) would penetrate at least 1/64". Sand
lightly so you don't go through the veneer! I'd try bleach, as that
should kill and remove anything fungal (mold/mildew). Can't hurt, and
even if it does, you're not out too much as the top is already
discolored. I wouldn't use a large volume of bleach or anything
water-based, as that could swell/disintegrate the MDF.
I'd plan on replacing or refacing the top (1/4" red oak ply isn't too
expensive, and could be glued right on top of the old surface, and then
maybe the whole top could be edge-banded?). That way, if none of the
stain removal or sanding procedures work, you won't be too
disappointed, and you can just move on to the new surface.
I'd try some wood bleach (check out the info at the following link)
If that doesn't work - the black stain may go all the way through the
veneer, - then you could replace the top or just re-veneer over the
Some stains in some woods can be easily removed with a mild acid. This is a
trick which will save you a lot of grief if you ever have wooden kitchen
worktops which are very easily marked by iron pans or cans:
Saturate a piece of paper towel with lemon juice, lay it on the wood, cover
with cling film or a polythene bag to stop it drying out, leave it
overnight. In the morning, the stain will be gone.
Oxalic acid bleach is usually used to remove black stains from oak.
Available at any hardware store.
Try stripping the finish, let dry, bleach with oxalic acid solution, let
dry, sand ever so gently by hand with 150 or 180, stain and finish.
Looks like the Oxalic Acid bleach is the way to go. I know it is a
water based stain in oak.
This piece of furniture will not stand for much sanding, and since it
is a MDF veneer with a breadboard border of solid oak with a full
radius bullnose re covering is not an option.
Thanks for all the suggestions.
I think you could recover it.
I've seen several tables in restaurants that have a bullnose solid wood
edge, that have a sheet of Formica just applied to the top. It is held back
from the edge a uniform distance, and looks good. Yes there is a 1/16"
height difference between it and the perimeter of the edge, but it has never
caused me any problems (and I am a klutz.)
It is a fix, not a restoration, but I think a field of solid color matte
laminate framed in the existing oak edges would look OK, and when the next
aquarium is placed on it, there won't be any problems.
Good luck, whatever you do. Hope the neighbor helps you with YOUR next
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.