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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A friendly older woman who lives down the street approached me today because she noticed me working on furniture in the garage, and asked if I could repair her table. I took a couple pictures, and tried to explain that I don't have much experience with finishing but that I would see if I could help her out. She didn't seem to hear that, asking me to let her know how much it would cost if I needed to just refinish the entire top. This really isn't my thing, but I would like to help her if I can. The obvious spot is a result of nail polish remover, and there is some minor (almost invisible damage) that she showed me on the far side, I couldn't even see it but I could feel a bit of roughness. Any advice on the best way to go about this? Or should I just send her to a professional refinisher?
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Probably the easiest fix would be to completely refinish the top. Not only did she spill nail polish remover but she wiped it off taking the finish off with it. If she had ignored it and let it dry it would have been fixable.

You could touch it up and make it look better but the spot will never go away. The first step would be to clean the table with a wax and grease remover like Dupont Prepsol Solvent. If the photo is a true representation of the color to touch it up I would use a small soft artist paint brush and color the spot with amber shellac. It may take several coats and shellac is difficult to brush. The second coat and after you have to brush real fast to keep from taking the first coat off. Once the color is as close as it's going to get spray a couple coats of lacquer sanding sealer on the spot and start trying to sand it level. Don't sand long enough you take the color off though. Once you get the spot smooth sand the entire top and spray a coat of lacquer over the top.

Had she not wiped the finish off just a clean and recoat would have been enough.
 

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If you aren't versed in refinishing, I'd let this one pass. Stripping the finish and refinishing would be the best option, but that's a huge undertaking, doubly so when you consider the table has a high gloss finish. An excellent project, but not one you want to try on someone else's property
 

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A friendly older woman who lives down the street approached me today because she noticed me working on furniture in the garage, and asked if I could repair her table. I took a couple pictures, and tried to explain that I don't have much experience with finishing but that I would see if I could help her out. She didn't seem to hear that, asking me to let her know how much it would cost if I needed to just refinish the entire top. This really isn't my thing, but I would like to help her if I can. The obvious spot is a result of nail polish remover, and there is some minor (almost invisible damage) that she showed me on the far side, I couldn't even see it but I could feel a bit of roughness. Any advice on the best way to go about this? Or should I just send her to a professional refinisher?
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if you don't have spray equiptment , than you are done before you start, you just can't fix that spot, not going to happen, this for a pro, i used to refenish and this isn't for someone's first fix , you will get into trouble and now have to pay ?? let it go good luck
 

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For me, one big clue was the 'spot of roughness' that you could hardly see. This tells me that the customer has very high expectations, as she is asking you to fix a very minor problem. When the difference between what they have, and what they want, is perfection, it's a pretty poor deal on your end.

My guess is that she'd never be happy with anything that you could do.
 

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You would have to refinish the entire top. You could fix the spot if you knew how to match the color, shade in the lacquer, and use "no blush" to blend everything in. If that top is buffed out, then thats another can of worms..........

A professional finisher can fix it, and from your post, thats what I would tell her.
 

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If you thought you would want to take on the job of refinishing the top of the table you could always spray 2 or 3 coats of amber shellac on a piece of scrap oak and see if it matches the table. At least you would know how to match the color before committing to the refinish.

From what I can see the old finish wasn't done very good. It may just be the picture but the color looks blotchy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sounds like the spot repair is a pretty poor option unless you've got the experience, and refinishing the top is just not a job I'm interested in. I thought about explaining it to her and offering to attempt the spot repair for free, with full disclosure that it will most likely still be visible; but I'm too worried she'll say yes :laughing:. If it were my table it would be a different story, but I think I'll take the advice and pass. Thanks to everyone for the valuable advice
 

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Sounds like the spot repair is a pretty poor option unless you've got the experience, and refinishing the top is just not a job I'm interested in. I thought about explaining it to her and offering to attempt the spot repair for free, with full disclosure that it will most likely still be visible; but I'm too worried she'll say yes :laughing:. If it were my table it would be a different story, but I think I'll take the advice and pass. Thanks to everyone for the valuable advice
Even for a professional refinisher touching up that spot would be mottled. If a spot like that was on the skirt of the table or legs where it was less conspicious I would do that but on a table top it would stick out like a sore thumb. It would look better than it does now though and then people tend to use a piece of furniture for years with a spot like that and let water get to the wood making the spot worse.
 

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Honestly, I think it would be better to wash the top off with acetone and rematch the color with the rest of the group.
 

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nail polish is a lacquer

Nail polish remover is a combination of solvents which will remove lacquer. Which leads me to believe the top was finished in lacquer. Which means a clear lacquer based finish like Deft could be used to "blend" the area where the finish has been removed.

If this were my table, I would try a "spot" repair using the Deft as a solvent and finish. It may require a fine hair artist's brush to help blend the area. It's worth a try and if it doesn't work, then a complete refinish would be in order.

I had to do something very similar to the top of a computer desk which was finish in Mission Oak and I was able to blend it quite well. Of course this isn't a computer desk and it will be very visible in the center of a table top. However, doing nothing is not the answer either.

Feel free to disregard any of my free advice..... :boat:
 

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Nail polish remover is a combination of solvents which will remove lacquer. Which leads me to believe the top was finished in lacquer. Which means a clear lacquer based finish like Deft could be used to "blend" the area where the finish has been removed.

If this were my table, I would try a "spot" repair using the Deft as a solvent and finish. It may require a fine hair artist's brush to help blend the area. It's worth a try and if it doesn't work, then a complete refinish would be in order.

I had to do something very similar to the top of a computer desk which was finish in Mission Oak and I was able to blend it quite well. Of course this isn't a computer desk and it will be very visible in the center of a table top. However, doing nothing is not the answer either.

Feel free to disregard any of my free advice..... :boat:
I agree that its lacquer, but I think it will be extremely hard to blend the topcoat in even if you get the color pretty close. I don't think the color will be that hard to match, but getting the gloss to be even with the rest of the top and not be noticeable will be nearly impossible.

Its not gonna hurt nothing to try and spot fix it before washing it off, but I think washing it off and refinishing the top is the easiest approach.
 
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