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By ainsers
#1339770
I have a set of vintage Ercol pebble tables and unfortunately I spilt some water on the top, which left some lighter marks. The tables are stained dark, and it looks as if the water has actually taken the wood stain off.

I would like to re-stain the top to get rid of these marks and I am looking for some advice on how best to do this? I'm hoping I can just apply a matching stain product to cover the marks – Does anyone know what product is best to use? Photos of the marks below:

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Many thanks!
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By ED65
#1340331
ainsers wrote:I would like to re-stain the top to get rid of these marks and I am looking for some advice on how best to do this? I'm hoping I can just apply a matching stain product to cover the marks – Does anyone know what product is best to use?

Spot repairing finish is typically very hard to do really successfully, depending on the quality of final result you want.

There are "scratch cover" products intended for restoring/hiding small losses due to scratches, or lifted finish like you have here, but typically all they do is colour in the defects rather than restore the finish , i.e. level the surface, which I imagine is what many are hoping for. So they don't always work as well as expected, and there's no way of knowing in advance how they'll do on an individual piece, making them a try-it-and-see proposition unfortunately.

As a result the best course of action when there's a small bit of damage like this is often to go all the way back to bare wood and refinish. And the best way to remove the old finish is with chemical stripper, even though it is messy and unpleasant work.
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By custard
#1341954
ED65 wrote:As a result the best course of action when there's a small bit of damage like this is often to go all the way back to bare wood and refinish. And the best way to remove the old finish is with chemical stripper, even though it is messy and unpleasant work.


Ed, why do you do this? You have virtually no practical experience of woodworking or finishing, yet you consistently offer truly terrible advice.

Here's the correct answer.

In treating water damage you need to avoid making the problem worse, so firstly try non damaging possible solutions. Like a domestic iron on the "wool" setting, keep it moving and work through a clean tea towel or t-shirt.

That'll work in over half of cases.
By ainsers
#1343334
Hi guys! Thanks so much for the advice :)

I actually already tried the iron method, but unfortunately this didn't work!
In that case will stripping down and restaining be the best solution, as Ed has suggested?

Many thanks
By Sgian Dubh
#1343381
As the warm iron didn't work, the next relatively non-invasive method you could try uses industrial alcohol (aka Meths), a fine white cotton cloth (e.g., old white handkerchief) and a wad of cotton wool.

The method is to make up a squash ball size± wad of cotton wool, reasonably loosely packed, but not too loose, and wrap this in the cloth: place the wad of cotton wool in the centre of the cloth and pull the cloth's edges up and twist these together so that you have a crease free roughly dome shaped underside. Effectively you've made a polisher's rubber. Next unwrap the cotton covering cloth, and pour some alcohol over the cotton wool, not soaking, but enough that a gentle squeeze pushes out some alcohol. Wrap up the cotton cloth as before to recreate the rubber.

Now the tricky bit. Squeeze the rubber to get a bit of alcohol on to the covering cloth, just a smidge. Hold the rubber in your hand and start a swinging pendulum action above the white spot. Keep lowering your swinging hand until the cloth just lightly brushes the surface of the polish, and work your way over the damaged surface a small spot at a time, keeping the surface of the cotton cloth just barely damp with the alcohol.

Be patient, cautious, and gentle. Monitor progress, take breaks, have another go if it looks like the technique is improving things, but more work seems to be required. This may work, it may not, and that depends on the finish you're working with, e.g., it works on shellac, nitrocellulose finishes and usually pretty well on pre-cat lacquer - I can't recall for sure what ercol used to use on their furniture before they went all water borne, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't shellac. You'll know if it works, or not, just by looking at the results after probably just a few minutes, perhaps a bit longer.

If that fails, it may be time to get relatively aggressive and drastic with your repairs, but it sure as hell helps if you already know what you're doing, ha, ha. Slainte.