I have a chest-on-chest project about half done (the casework is
mostly done; need to do drawers yet), and managed to spill a
wipe-on-poly finish on the side of the upper case before I've put any
finish on it. The spill was for another project I was working on in
parallel (a book case for SWMBO); that will teach me to try to do two
things at the same time.
The sides of the cases are cherry plywood, with a cherry face frame.
I tried to soak a rag in mineral spirits and wipe it off; looks like I
got most of it, but you can still tell where it spilled.
I will be sanding it, and right now the plan is to finish it with
Watco's Natural followed by a shellac topcoat. Should I try to do any
more with cleaning it with mineral spirits (or something else), or just
hope it comes off with sanding?
I would suspect that the wood has been sealed by the poly and it will
really show up if you put anything other than the same poly on the rest
of the peice. I doubt you can sand deep enough on plywood to get it
I would consider replacing that side completly. Depending on the
location of the splill if you can't replace the whole side, you might
be able to get creative and cut out and scab in a filler piece and
maybe add some applied molding or other detail to hide the new joint,
Then just match the detail on the other side.
Or, maybe veneer over the side with 1/8" ply or a real veneer job.
It might seem drastic but I think this might save the day, other than
that you might be totaly unsatisfied with the look.
Another possibility is to use a toned finished to help blend out the
difference but this ain't easy.
Maybe try a test on a scrp piece, spill some poly, wipe it up in the
same manner and I'll bet you'll see you have some trouble.
Just to empathizes, I had a project half finsihed with a custom mixed
orange and amber shellac when I literally stepped in the bucket,
knocked it over, and finished the piece by sopping up brush fulls from
the floor and picking out the nibs as best I could. We all F%^&*k up
now and then.
I personally couldn't agree more with all of the above. Really fine
finishing leaves little room for error, and a big spill of poly sure
would surely constitute a disaster. I would much rather face building
a new side or covering it in some way rather than to look at it a
couple of months down the road and think.... "man that looks like
crap.... what was I thinking?"
Take it one more step. When the finishes begin to amber, the resins
that soaked into the wood, including the ones you helped by washing it
with thinner (sorry, just a comment not a criticism) your finishes will
turn probably turn different colors of amber as you will have untainted
wood with ONLY the finish of your choice, then you will have the side
with the poly spill on it as a substrate. My guess is that you will
see the spill better as the years go on.
If it were mine I'd rub the spilled area with acetone and 0000 steel
wool until it's no longer on the surface. (however it'll still be
penetrated in the surface). Then I'd take the same wipe on poly and
thin it 10-20% and go over the entire project thereby creating a
sealer coat. (it might even take two coats to make it look even).
Since your end goal is natural then I'd just pick the shellac topcoat
you want and finish it with several coats.
If your goal is more color then spike the shellac or wipe on poly
sealer coat with a little Transtint dye.
Experiment on scrap until you get the process you want. I have a
feeling it'll turn out looking good.
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.