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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

I just picked up this second hand table the other day. It seems to have lots of white "cracks" on the surface of the table as if the finish has been split apart. When running my hand across the surface, I can feel some of these cracks, but others I can not. Is this intentional in the table design?

Is there an easy way to fix/repair this? Does anyone have a clue as to what type of wood this is? The only information I have is that it was made in India. The table top measures 84" X 42" X 3" thick.

Thanks in advance!
 

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My guess is that those cracks were more absorbent than the surrounding wood and the fibers in the crack dried differently, causing the finish (or possibly wax) to turn white.

I think it looks cool!
 

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I also thinks it looks cool as-is. It's a natural thing so it shouldn't look fake or "perfect"
 

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It looks like cedar to me.

I don’t know if it’s this is the right term but it looks like crazing in the finish.

Like a lot of things you can either live with it, or fix it. My personal feeling is it’’s too unique not to refinish it. Should be a fairly easy job.
 

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Is it the finish or wood putty?
 

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@Rebelwork That was exactly what I was thinking.
If it is the finish and if hopefully lacquer was used, you can get an aerosol can of I think it is called 'Flow Out Blender'.
This will only work on lacquer. You dont spray it directly on the area, you spray it slightly above and parallel to the surface. It will drift down and re-melt the lacquer and turn clear. If the problem is filler, it will be a long tedious fix.
 

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Hard to tell from a photo.. What is called a destructive test would be to put some lacquer thinner over it or inject with a hypo needle. If it softens up and acts like one uniform wet mass, it is probably the finish. Another destructive test would be to get a fine pointed object like an ice pick and see if it breaks up into lots of small pieces. If it does, than it is likely a filler. BTW, a destructive test by definition is one that destroys the test area. Off hand I can't think of any non-destructive tests.
There is also a small test kit that can determine if a finish is lacquer or poly. Cant remember the name of it but it can be found at large refinishing suppliers.
 

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Might be that someone waxed the table top, getting a bulk of wax into the crevices. Wiped clean with water, the wax whitened?
Have you tried anything to remove the blemishes... like a hard tooth brush? Is the whitened areas soft or hard?

As per the close up pic - Looks like the whiteness is more pronounced deep within the crack, itself, and a lighter shade of whiteness has migrated beyond the cracks' edges. Can't tell if the shades of white is within/affects the finish or under it.

Sonny
 

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Might be that someone waxed the table top, getting a bulk of wax into the crevices. Wiped clean with water, the wax whitened?..........................Sonny
I never thought of that one, but then again I am not an oil and waxer.
You may be right.
 

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Are you sure the original finisher didn't use regular natural woodputty?
 

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After further consideration, this appears to be a dining table. I don't wax my dining table and don't know of anyone who does. Might not be wax in those cracks after all. But no telling what the cause is from our pictures-only perspective. The wood putty suggestion certainly is a likely suspect.

Rebel, I don't think BJ has a history of the table.

Maybe do any destructive testing on the bench, first, see what discoveries and/or remedies can be accomplished, before tackling the table top.

Sonny
 

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It's not unual for new hobby woodworkers to buy wood putty off the shelf and use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
When using a sharp pointed object as @Tony B suggested, it broke in to a bunch of pieces. I can see wood grain underneath the surface of white cracks once they shatter. I do not have a picture of the breakage at this time. I also applied lacquer thinner in areas of the table, and the finish became tacky and moved around a bit as well.
 

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Now is the time to decide if you can tackle this yourself or take it to a professional re-finisher. The non-commercial stripping chemicals are not worth a damned thing. Usually at home you will be wasting your money on it. A refinisher will remove all of the finish and probably a good amount of the filler. Most of the time, a filler doesn't take a stain very well at all. When the refinisher is done stripping you can look at it and make up your mind then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think I will just try to do it myself. I will post the results. I am hoping to finish it up by October! Thanks everyone!
 

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If you are going to do it yourself, start with cleaning out the individual parts with the filler. You can buy very cheaply a set of picks from Harbor Freight Mini Pick and Hook Set
They have a few other different styles of picks, they all should work. I think the set in the HF link would be my first choice.
Once you have cleaned all of the inclusions, you can fill them with a tinted epoxy. Black would be my first choice. Also note, that if you go this route, you wont have as much picking to do because you wont have to get every single spot cleaned out - just enough to cover it and be flush with the top, DO NOT USE WOOD PUTTY!

Keep us informed of your progress no matter what route you take,
 
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