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My wife and I bought a beautiful walnut cabinet from a 2nd hand store this afternoon. When we got it home she took a damp cotton cloth to the top to dust it off and clean it. To her shock, the finish started coming off on the cloth. She got me and I tested an area with a spray bottle, and the finish got quite sticky when wet for just maybe 10 seconds. What was a beautiful flawless top is now discolored and looks awful. What sort of finish is that water soluble? What can we do about it?

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Gees, I can't think of any water soluble furniture finish. I saw a thread one time about someone finishing a floor with soap. Anyway if it dissolves that easy if it were me I would wash it all off, sand it and put a real finish on it. Since you don't know what is on it if you use a water based polyurethane I would seal the wood with Zinsser Sealcoat first.
 
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