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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to woodworking and could use some simple advice for a simple problem: I have an end table that has had some abuse over the years. There are scratches in the finish and areas where the finish has completely rubbed off with the walnut veneer exposed in some areas, but no chipping or blistering to the veneer. This affects about a quarter of the total surface of the top of the table. My plan is to sand it by hand down to the veneer, clean it, re-stain it, and add a coat or two of poly. Is this the right course of action? Any advice is greatly appreciated. Or just point me to a post that has dealt with this. Thanks.

-Joe
 

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If it were me I would start with a methylene chloride paint and varnish remover and take the finish off. Sometimes you can fight with the finish trying to sand it off and it will sand through the veneer before you get finish sanded off in some spots. When you have furniture with veneer on it, the less sanding you do the better. If it's walnut chances are you wouldn't need to stain it as walnut is dark anyway.

You mention scratches. If there is any severe scratches in the wood, if you take the finish off first you have the option of steaming the scratches to minimize the amount of sanding needed to clean them up. You can take a wet rag and place it on the scratched spot and place a hot iron on it. The iron is like you iron clothes with. The steam from the iron will greatly raise the grain making the wood that was scratched swell reducing the damage.
 

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I would start with the least toxic of strippers, like a waterbase citrus stripper called Citristrip Gel. It can be used indoors and cleans up with water. If one or two applications doesn't remove the finish, go to an MC (methylene chloride) stripper. I get good results from"Aircraft Stripper" in the blue can. With any stripper, follow directions on the product, and use gauntlet type chemically resistant gloves, and eye/face protection. Using a two cartridge respirator is recommended. Work in a ventilated area.





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Discussion Starter #4
The scratches are only through the finish in most places. Does the ironing method harm the glue?

I attached a photo of the end table.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The method was recommended earlier in the post:

You mention scratches. If there is any severe scratches in the wood, if you take the finish off first you have the option of steaming the scratches to minimize the amount of sanding needed to clean them up. You can take a wet rag and place it on the scratched spot and place a hot iron on it. The iron is like you iron clothes with. The steam from the iron will greatly raise the grain making the wood that was scratched swell reducing the damage.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Is there a need for multiple coats of stain, or will one be enough? Also, with polyurethane, should I sand/ tackcloth between coats?
 

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Is there a need for multiple coats of stain, or will one be enough?
You should try to do it with one application.

Also, with polyurethane, should I sand/ tackcloth between coats?
Sand between coats with 320x. I wouldn't use a tack cloth...it can leave a residue. Just blow off with air away from the finishing area, as you can create dust.




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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks a lot for the advice so far! As far as cleaning before re-staining goes, should I use mineral spirits/naptha?
 

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I'm sorry about the confusion with steaming the scratches. It's a last resort for stubborn scratches in the wood. If the scratches are just in the finish that will come off when you strip it. Steaming scratches is far more effective than just wetting it. Sometimes it takes repeated treatments on really bad scratches. It won't hurt the glue unless the veneer is failing anyway.

As far as finishing the table back, the table is mahogany. It's customary on mahogany especially that era furniture to use a grain filler after you get it sanded. It fills the grain so you don't see the texture of the wood in the final finish. The finish should look like almost like it had a sheet of glass on it. Mowhawk Finishing Products sells a paste wood grain filler that has the mahogany stain in it. It should color the wood as it fills the grain. It's never a good idea to use multiple coats of oil stain. If you use one just apply it and wipe it off in a couple of minutes and let dry. If the color is inadequate then a dye can be added to supplement the color. As far as cleaning between coats just use a clean dry cloth and compressed air if you have it.


 
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