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I recently bought a new "rustic" dining table and I found a big scratch on the "apron," which I thought was solid pine but it might be veneered. The tabletop is just stained without a poly finish. I thought I could easily fix it myself (first mistake) so I bought some matching stain to touch it up. I used some fine steel wool to sand the scratch area. I applied the stain but even after several tries the wood won't take the stain at all. So now I'm stuck with a bare, unstained spot that looks worse than the scratch I was "fixing."
I was thinking there might be something, like a stain-type paint that I could cover the spot with. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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It would be helpful if you would post a picture of the table. From your description I think if you want the table to look like it is suppose to you should strip the stain off of the top and the finish off of the skirt. You don't know the history of the table and what someone else may have done or screwed up buying an unfinished project. They may have stripped the finish off the top and failed to properly rinse the residue of the remover off. The residue contains wax and if you finish over it the new finish wouldn't adhere correctly. Anyway the wood needs to be sanded to a uniform appearance and then stain it. Depending on where you live that may not be practical right now. Paint and varnish removers don't do well at all below 70 degrees and you don't want to work removers indoors. The fumes are a carcinogen. It might be best to put a plastic table cloth over it and wait until spring. I use Kleen Strip paint and varnish remover.

About the scratch on the skirt, if you can determine the skirt is solid wood I would sand it off. If it is veneer sometimes you can get most of it out by putting a hot iron on a wet rag on the spot. The steam wil swell the grain in the scratch to where it is nearly level again. Then most of the time the scratched veneer can be sanded. If it is really bad you may have to resort to using wood putty.
 

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Thank you Steve for your response. Your suggestion would probably be the right thing to do, but it's a little too much work for me. It's a fairly small spot, so I'm going to ignore it for now. I was thinking about using a gel stain to cover it up because the gel is more of a surface cover that doesn't need to soak into the wood.
 

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Thank you Steve for your response. Your suggestion would probably be the right thing to do, but it's a little too much work for me. It's a fairly small spot, so I'm going to ignore it for now. I was thinking about using a gel stain to cover it up because the gel is more of a surface cover that doesn't need to soak into the wood.
If the gel stain matches the color that might work if the spot is minor but chances are the spot will look different regardless of what you put on it. A lot of different projects you can touch up but usually a flaw on a table top will stick out like a swore thumb.
 

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We have an introduction section where you can say a few words about yourself. If you fill out your profile in your "User Control Panel", you can list any hobbies, experience or other facts. You can also list your general geographical location which would be a help in answering some questions.

Since your repair would be to the area of the apron, you could get a good match for coloring. What you likely did was abrade the area too smoothly, which would make stain penetration difficult. You might try sanding with 180x-220x, and fade out the edges of the sanding area so you don't have a sharp sanded line next to a colored area. Sand only with the grain.

If you have a very soft paint brush, maybe only 1" wide with long hair bristles, there is a technique you could try. If you don't have a good brush, pick up a woman's make-up brush. The one she dabs in the colored face war paint (maybe called blush) and whisks it over the skin. It might look like a shaving brush. Very soft bristles. You can snip off the outside rows of bristles until you have a nicely shaped straight brush.

If you have already tried a stain (the one that didn't take), and it's an oil base stain, take the can and stir it well. Have a clean cloth ready, and get some stain on the brush and let it flash dry off for a few minutes. Then lightly whisk over the bare area with the grain. You might try this on a sample first, but if you can get the hang of this, it's really pretty easy.

If you want to try a gel stain, and you have the right color, read the directions, as each brand may differ. But, basically, the way it works is you brush it on (some may have a flash time of a few minutes), and then wipe/brush it off to the intensity to match. The more it's drawn off, the lighter it will get. It would be to your benefit to also try this on a sample. If you have no wood scraps, use cardboard.










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