I'm a novice and newbie, so go easy on me, please :-)
Some houseguests have left serious white rings on our wood dining
table, and they cannot be buffed out with various methods (toothpaste,
furniture polish, light sanding, etc), so I think I'm faced with doing
a repair job. I have previously sanded and varnished a teak picnic
table, but never a nice dining room table. And because I really like
the old character of this table, I'd prefer to just repair the rings
rather than redo the entire top.
I'm hoping that I can buff out the rings with an orbital sander and
just touch up the spots, but I don't know what was used to finish the
top originally. I expect that I have to do some homework before I do
anything, but can anyone point me to a primer on
a) determining what a table is finished with
b) how to strip off a small spot of that finish
c) how to redo that stripped spot.
Thanks B A R R Y:
I don't know if I can get that here (I'm not in the US), but I don't
think I need it now.
I rubbed Isopropyl Alcohol on the rings, and they came out. Of course,
the glossy finish on the table is now dulled in those two spots, so
now I'm going to try to figure out what the finish on the table is and
see if I can put another coat on it to restore the gloss.
glossy finish on the table is now dulled >in those two spots, so now I'm going
to try to figure out >what the finish on the table is and see if I can put
another >coat on it to restore the gloss.
A dull remaining finish doesn't necessarily mean the finish was
shellac. It sounds like you have been pretty busy with this using
toothpaste, light sanding, and other methods. Any of those would
affect the original gloss.
If it is a factory finished table, it is probably finished with some
kind of catalysed lacquer. It is without doubt the factory choice for
most factories. Probably the reason the white ring disappeared is
that the alcohol (a miscible solvent) picked up the water through the
The material Barry put you onto works the same way.
To see if it is lacquer, put a drop of lacquer thinner on an
inconscipuous place and leave it for 30 - 45 minutes. Check and see
if the finish has started to dissolve. If it hasn't, it could be
anything else, but probably not lacquer.
If it is lacquer, you should be able to scuff sand the whole top and
top coat with lacquer. Forget spot repair.
To see if it is shellac, do the same as above except use anhydrous
alcohol, shorten the test times, and proceed as described.
If neither of those work, then it could be anything from a concersion
lacquer to some modified poly. In any case, you won't be spot
finishing them either.
If there is any finish left on these areas that hasn't been taken off
with sanding or toothpaste, try something like a high quality rubbing
compound from a wood working store, made for woodworking finish. You
should be able to polish it up with that, and may not need to refinish
at this time.
I have refinished many pieces and have also taken finishing classes at
the local tech school. It will be difficult to refinish a small part
of the surface and have a good result. You will almost certainly
still be able to see the repaired spot no matter what technique you
use. Of course it is possible. A master furniture restorer would
have to be hired and he/she will not give a guarantee.
Have you ever refinished any furniture, ever? Best idea is to forget
about it and save your money and energy for something else. Next best
idea is to refinish the entire surface. That job is far more
straightforward and can be accomplished much faster and easier than
trying to refinish small areas. It is better suited to the skills of
a beginner as well.
If you are totally new to refinishing it is a good idea to take a
class or read a book. Perhaps try it out on a cheaper piece first.
It is easy to do more harm than good when you are a newbie.
:-) Yes, I'm sure it will.
I did a bit of online research, and tried several methods including
the mayo. I wasn't haphazard about it; there were a couple of large
rings, so I tried several methods on small regions. On one ring, I
isolated a section (about 1/4th of the ring) and tried rubbing
toothpaste on it (this worked on a ring I had last year on an antique
chest). I left a small piece alone as an indicator, and put mayo on
the next section. I left the next piece alone, and put mayo with salt
on the last section. I let the mayo and mayo/salt sit for about 15
minutes to soak in.
On the second ring, I split it into thirds. I covered 2/3 of that ring
and applied a hair dryer to the exposed part (which had no visible
effect), and rubbed alcohol on 1/3 (which had the best effect), and
put olive oil on the last third, again for about 15 minutes.
Once I realized that alcohol had the best result, I cleaned up the
rest of the stains and carefully rubbed out the rings with an old T-
shirt and small dabs of alcohol. I was pretty careful not to spread my
workspace, and not to let the alcohol puddle at all.
What's left now isn't really that unsightful; if I look at the glare
of reflected light, I can see where I was working, but otherswise you
cannot see tell. In the morning light today I could still see a tiny
trace of both rings, so I might consider going at it a little bit
more...or not. I suppose 'well enough alone' is a reasonable lesson
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.