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 Post subject: Repair advice
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2017, 11:01 
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Hi all,

We have an oak table from Oak Furniture Land. I'm not sure how the table was finished, but we have a pot of brown wax sold with the table that we apply every few months. My wife spilled nail polish remover on it some time ago (not sure if it was acetone based or not), causing some damage as shown in the photos below.

My question is, how do I repair this? I've tried applying more wax, which hasn't helped. Can I repair just the damaged patches or will I need to do the whole surface? How do I go about it?

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table_2.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Repair advice
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2017, 12:04 
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How does a complete strip and refinish sound? :-( Yeah sorry but that may be your only option.

You can make seamless localised repairs on some finishes but it's tricky work at the best of times, needs experience and often requires not-cheap finishing supplies that have to be ordered specially. Taking all the finish off the top and starting from a level playing field can actually be easier and faster, plus there's much greater assurance of a satisfactory outcome.

I think it unlikely that getting it done professionally would make economic sense on something from OFL.

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 Post subject: Re: Repair advice
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2017, 13:26 
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You're lucky in that you live in Fareham, where you might still have some old fashioned repair polishers who could do a localised repair at a reasonable price. Otherwise it's strip and re-finish.

Nail varnish remover is the reason dressing tables often had a sheet of glass on the top.


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 Post subject: Re: Repair advice
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2017, 13:36 
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custard wrote:
You're lucky in that you live in Fareham, where you might still have some old fashioned repair polishers who could do a localised repair at a reasonable price. Otherwise it's strip and re-finish.

Nail varnish remover is the reason dressing tables often had a sheet of glass on the top.

Perfumes also have a high alcohol content. Eau De Parfum is 80-85% alcohol, Eau de Toilette is 85-95%. Whilst not as bad/good as acetone, alcohol will also damage many finishes.

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 Post subject: Re: Repair advice
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2017, 13:55 
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Since the table is damaged and anything you try won’t make it too much worse, I would try wiping from the polished surface to the damaged surface with methylated spirits. It was an old trick for restoring French polished items that had small marks in the surface.


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 Post subject: Re: Repair advice
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2017, 16:16 
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Thanks for the advice. I’ll look for a local repair first, then try the methylated spirit trick before stripping and starting again.

What is the procedure for stripping? Is it just sanding down to bare wood? If so, what type of sander is best?

As for finishing, do I just apply the wax I have onto the bare wood, or do I need to do something else first?

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Repair advice
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2017, 18:52 
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The original finish is 99.9% likely to be a spray lacquer or polyurethane so an alcohol shouldn't have any effect on it. That tip works with French polish because alcohol is the solvent for shellac, which is what French polish is (French polishing referring to the method rather than the finish itself).

space.dandy wrote:
What is the procedure for stripping? Is it just sanding down to bare wood?
You can remove finishes by sanding but it's not a good way to do it. I meant using a chemical stripper. It's a messy job but it removes the finish with minimal risk of damaging the tabletop.

Are you woodworker? If you have a card scraper you can scrape finishes from wood and it's actually a great method for large flat areas where speed is a requirement, but like sanding it takes some wood from the surface so will remove any built up 'patina' from light exposure (only using quotes here because of the age of the piece). But with something of this vintage that'll soon come back.

space.dandy wrote:
As for finishing, do I just apply the wax I have onto the bare wood, or do I need to do something else first?
You could apply wax directly to the wood but it wouldn't provide any real protection, wax is both too soft and applied too thinly to protect even from water.

You can refinish it in any way you like of course, for my money oil-based polyurethane is hard to beat. You'll be able to achieve good results as a first timer using an inexpensive product, with little or no specialised equipment (don't even need to buy a brush if you don't want to!) and the resulting finish both looks good and has excellent durability.

The method I'd advise is diluting it to turn it into wiping varnish which you then literally wipe on the wood. You should be able to read the sample pages from one of Bob Flexner's books on Google Books, here. Pages 34 and 35 pretty much tell you all you need to know to get started.

And there's little else you need to know to complete the job, at its simplest with wiping varnish you just continue to wipe on coats and wipe away excess until you're satisfied with how the thing looks after the initial drying period, which given the time of year will probably be overnight or a bit longer.

For a working tabletop I'd go with at least four coats, do more if you want better durability.

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