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Have ink spot on 1940's mahagony telephone table but want to refinish

Want to remove, what looks like an ink spot on a wood table. Have tried mineral spirits, toothpaste and baking soda mix, wood bleach and sanding. Nothing has worked. Any ideas? Ultimately I would like to paint the base and stain and refinish the top.

Round stain (looks like ink?) on the top of this table. Would like to remove it.
"Before"
23 comments
  • Z
    Z
    on Aug 18, 2013

    I have no clue if it'll work on wood, but I once had a dear friend {{♥ miss you Lynn ♥}} that always used hair spray to remove ink from clothing. It's worth a shot, I would think.

    • Lacey Jackson
      Lacey Jackson Canada
      on Aug 20, 2013

      @Z is right. Hairspray works on fabrics. No idea on wood except sanding. :)

  • Tammy w
    Tammy w Scheller, IL
    on Aug 18, 2013

    I worked for a company that decorated wood and we would use permanent ink for details. If we goofed up..rubbing alcohol would take it off...even if it had already been sealed. hope it works for you.

  • Kat Tellez
    Kat Tellez Torrance, CA
    on Aug 20, 2013

    I use rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer to clean ink off the desks in my classroom. I I would use the gel for a bit more control. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, then mopit up with some paper towels. It may take a few treatments to get enough of it out for you to work with since the ink has been there for so long.

  • Debbie
    Debbie Sykesville, MD
    on Aug 20, 2013

    If you will be stripping it, maybe that will help. If you are going to refinish with paint. Seal the stain with Zinsser Bulls Eyes Shellac. I have a blog post coming soon on that product. Great to seal stains etc.

  • Larose LoganOakes
    Larose LoganOakes Annandale, VA
    on Aug 20, 2013

    Somewhere I read that real mayo will remove water spots from wood. But it has to be REAL mayo not some generic or substitute. Let me look for the link on HT. and I will get back to you. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CEYQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dummies.com%2Fhow-to%2Fcontent%2Fhow-to-remove-water-stains-from-wood-furniture.html&ei=XYkTUp_nI4Xr2AW01oDQCQ&usg=AFQjCNEUU4-wRTWoVz5tyvbWI0TYOSG8eA

  • KMS Woodworks
    KMS Woodworks Nederland, CO
    on Aug 20, 2013

    Rubbing alcohol would be my first try. If that does not work some Carbon Tetrachloride. You may not be able to get all of it out...but it should be "better". One of the great things about re-working old classic pieces is the "character and history" they hold. full sanding and the use of a darker stain on the top will greatly minimize the appearance of the ink rink...but its shadow will remind you of its past.

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    White Oak Studio Designs Pullman, MI
    on Aug 20, 2013

    Thanks everyone. I think the big issue here is that the ink is very old, black ink. Most "modern" recipes are for blue ink, the more modern ink. We are trying wood bleach, again and again and am hoping.

  • Angela Weaver
    Angela Weaver Broaddus, TX
    on Aug 20, 2013

    If that top is solid, try sanding the whole top until it disappears

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    White Oak Studio Designs Pullman, MI
    on Aug 20, 2013

    It is veneer. We have been sanding but can't sand too deep. Back to bleaching....Thank you!

  • April E
    April E Oklahoma City, OK
    on Aug 20, 2013

    most of the old inks were more like stains as opposed to inks so said get some color remover the same as you would use on fabric and mix the powder with a small amount of hot water to form a paste and try that on your ink stain leave it for 2-3 hours covered w/ plastic to keep damp it worked on a tray table I have it should work on this but you will need to allow your table to slow dry with weight on it so your veneer doesn't buckle

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    White Oak Studio Designs Pullman, MI
    on Aug 21, 2013

    We have tried mineral spirits, toothpaste and baking soda mix, wood bleach and sanding. The top is veneer so have to be cautious on the sanding. After multiple bleaching the BLACK ink stain is there but barely so. So it's certainly going to be a dark stain, maybe Jacobean! I "hope" to paint the base in a neutral CeCe Caldwell's Kansas Wheat and Jacobean would look nice with that I think. Will post again when completed. Thank you everyone for your kindness in sharing great ideas and your experiences.

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    White Oak Studio Designs Pullman, MI
    on Aug 21, 2013

    "Old inks were more like stains"....this certainly reflects what we have been seeing with this project. This is new to me info. and very helpful. Thank you so much for sharing. Most all of my Internet searching just pulled up info. on newer/blue inks and how to remove them.

  • KMS Woodworks
    KMS Woodworks Nederland, CO
    on Aug 21, 2013

    Acetone (or nail polish remover) is another solvent that may work. Most likely this is "india ink". I used it a lot in grad school when labeling botanical specimens. It is one of the most durable inks out there. Unlike more modern "inks" india ink is made from finely ground "carbon black" or soot, and not from "dye" as most modern inks...solvents do not do much to carbon black.

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    White Oak Studio Designs Pullman, MI
    on Aug 21, 2013

    Excellent advice and information. Thank you!

  • Z
    Z
    on Aug 21, 2013

    You're welcome. Once I knew it was most likely India Ink I just Googled removing India Ink from wood.

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    White Oak Studio Designs Pullman, MI
    on Aug 22, 2013

    I stained the top of this piece yesterday. We DO NOT see the ink stain. YEA! I am painting the base now. Will post a pic when it is done. Thank you everyone for all of your help. I am grateful!

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    White Oak Studio Designs Pullman, MI
    on Aug 23, 2013

    Just added a picture of the completed stained top. There is a bit of glare in this image but in real life it looks good. Thanks HT for your help!

  • KMS Woodworks
    KMS Woodworks Nederland, CO
    on Aug 24, 2013

    Looking good...have you put a top coat on it yet?

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    White Oak Studio Designs Pullman, MI
    on Aug 24, 2013

    Thanks. No, no top coat yet. Do you have a suggestion for me? I am using Minwax stain with a sealer in it. There is still a very slight spot in the front/left where the bleach made the wood a tad bit lighter. I'm waiting for the current coat to dry and then I want to add some more stain in that spot to try to make it match better. I just didn't want to wait to post and I am watching my granddaughter for the next week and won't have any computer time!

    • Z
      Z
      on Aug 24, 2013

      @White Oak Studio Designs It looks lovely. I'd recommend Minwax Wipe-On Poly in Satin. Have fun with your granddaughter!

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    White Oak Studio Designs Pullman, MI
    on Aug 25, 2013

    Do you actually use wipe-on Poly OVER Minwax stain with poly sealer right in it? Wouldn't that be kind of an overkill?

    • Sia@South 47th
      Sia@South 47th Sacramento, CA
      on Aug 27, 2013

      @White Oak Studio Designs I like the new look of your name and homepage. Best of luck with your business!! xox

  • WalkTheCreativePath
    WalkTheCreativePath Chapin, SC
    on Aug 25, 2013

    Use Krud Kutter from Lowes

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    White Oak Studio Designs Pullman, MI
    on Aug 27, 2013

    Sia, I'm 62 yrs. old and not too terribly computer savvy. I was able to get help from the HT technical service to create the new homepage.

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