Asked on Apr 5, 2020

How can I fix this?

Gina ShumateCarrie @ Curly Crafty MomBecky at Flipping the Flip


I started sanding down these end tables to get a natural wood look. Just seconds into sanding these weird patches started forming and I’m not sure how to fix it! If I keep sanding, it just gets darker! Help! What am I doing wrong and how can I fix it to match the light wood? (It’s the dark spots on top of the table in the picture)

16 answers
  • I'm sorry, but it looks like you have have sanded through veneer and that's the wood underneath. You may have to paint it.

  • Cynthia H
    Cynthia H
    on Apr 5, 2020

    Unfortunately, it looks like veneer is being sanded through. You can remove the veneer although unless it's an old piece of furniture, the wood isn't going to be nice. What does the wood underneath the table look like? That will probably be your main wood. You can also replace veneer, but, it can be pricey. You can paint what you are left with, is another way to go. You can replace the top with a new piece of wood, a faux finish, mosaic, etc. You may still be able to stain dark or do a whitewash, but, you may not like the final product. Depending on the look you wanted, is how you should proceed. Good luck!

  • Gk
    on Apr 5, 2020

    Stop sanding and leave it as is! I think that is the wood under the veneer showing through and if you keep sanding you will see more of it! You can still stain it all as is--it will give it a more rustic look as that wood underneath will take the stain a bit differently. If you use a darker stain it may be less apparent. I like Minwax Expresso for a darker stain. Once you get it stained you may be OK with it. It can still function well as a end table. One of those OOPS moments. We have all had one or more!

  • William
    on Apr 5, 2020

    Yep you sanded thru the veneer and exposing the substrate. You can prime and paint it. Or you can use gel stain but you can only go darker.

  • Dee
    on Apr 5, 2020

    Since you sanded through the veneer, you are going to have to paint the piece. Staining will show the patches unless you go very dark. I would paint and then use a dark wax and buffer to get a nice sheen. Or you can use a soft poly over the paint.

  • Unique Creations By Anita
    Unique Creations By Anita
    on Apr 5, 2020

    You can try and stain the wood, but i don't think you will get a consistent colour. You may need to go to a darker color to hide the damage.

  • Johnavallance82
    on Apr 5, 2020

    Hello Jordan,

    The only way is to go darker or paint to disguise the error! It can happen to the best of us! Use the experience to add creativity. Maybe, colour it as you would want it to be, then if the marks still show through either add a trim around the area and stain or paint the outside frame to lose the damage there. Best wishes. If it's worth doing - It's worth that bit extra time to fix it! You'll be pleased you did!

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom
    Holly Lengner - Lost Mom
    on Apr 5, 2020

    If you don't want to see the dark spots, I would paint the tables. I know you wanted to go with a natural look, but perhaps painting the tables white would work for you.

  • Kelli L. Milligan
    Kelli L. Milligan
    on Apr 5, 2020

    Unfortunately you sand too much and went thru the veneer. You should always use liquid stripper to remove old finish if you don't want to paint. At this point all you can do is paint or replace top.

  • Jeremy Hoffpauir
    Jeremy Hoffpauir
    on Apr 5, 2020

    The wood underneath is veneer so don't continue sanding. Probably best to paint the table. Unfortunately, very few table tops are made from solid wood nowadays. They are made with thin layers of wood - similar to plywood.

    If you need painting ideas, checkout this post.

    Hope this Helps! Jeremy -

  • Kmdreamer
    on Apr 5, 2020

    That's probably from the stain were it sunk in to the wood deep in side

  • Linda
    on Apr 5, 2020

    I think what you are sanding is a veneer and you are sanding through it. You could do a paint finish that looks like wood on top.

  • J Brown
    J Brown
    on Apr 5, 2020

    Before giving up try a little bleach to lighten the stain

  • Is it veneer? I’m having a hard time telling from the photo. Sometimes solid wood can have darker spots or hidden stains within the wood. I think what you’ve got is a cool look going on - I personally would oil it up and enjoy the variations but that’s me.

  • Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom
    Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom
    on Apr 8, 2020

    Could you maybe stain it to cover these marks? It looks like they go pretty deep.

  • Gina Shumate
    Gina Shumate
    on Apr 10, 2020

    You can try Retique It Liquid wood its actually pretty amazing and made with real wood so its stainable. I personally found it when I gouged the surface of a dresser I was taking the veneer off of and didnt want to have to paint it. It worked awesome and I use it all the time.

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