Donna R
Donna R
  • Hometalker
  • Lumberton, TX
Asked on Sep 2, 2012

What's the best way to repair damage to the top of a stained table?

Ada12326474Barbara ValentiJanet
+35

Answered

My smart college daughter set a tissue with nail polish remover in it right on top of this end table. We just bought the table a few months ago. We would like to know what is the best way to repair these two spots of damage? Taking it back to furniture store for repair is $100 an hour and no, we didn't take out a warranty on it because it's not like we have little kids running around anymore...
q what s the best way to repair damage to top of a stained table, furniture repair, painted furniture, painting over finishes, painting wood furniture
q what s the best way to repair damage to top of a stained table, furniture repair, painted furniture, painting over finishes, painting wood furniture
38 answers
  • To correct this you will need to lightly sand the finish on the top until the damage area is gone. This most likely will require it going down to the wood surface. The furniture store in which you purchased this table should be able to provide you with the stain that was used. You will then need to stain and polish it back to new finish using the products that they supply to you. The job is an easy one. But unless you know exactly what finish was used on the top, you will, unless you have a lot of refinishing experience, will never match the color or the look unless you have the same stuff that they used. The entire project will take about two hours with sanding, finishing and sealing.

  • Donna R
    on Sep 2, 2012

    To WE: Thank you for your advice and for taking the time to answer. Having read other comments you've made, I know you are knowledgeable and trust what you recommend. I looked up the stain on this table and it says "caramel". Well, I've never seen that stain anywhere. This furniture store just sells the tables, they don't make them but hopefully they can get the stain from the manufacturer. I'll go in and talk to them next week. I was afraid it was going to come down to having to sand and restain. Since the wood is so varied with the stain, lights and darks, I wonder if I could pick a stain close to it at one of the big box stores. I know you just have a picture to go by but in looking at it, off the top of your head, can you suggest what stain you would use? I have done some furniture staining thru the years but has always been on things where I started from scratch, have not tried to repair and match. Again, thanks so much.

  • Donna R
    on Sep 2, 2012

    According to the description of it on the furniture store's website, it's birch solids and cherry veneers. I believe the top is birch. I also noticed when looking it up that it had a one year manufacter's warranty so I'm going to find out about that as well. I know they offered us a protection plan and usually we do that on leather or upholstered furniture but didn't really think it was necessary for end tables.

  • The store should be able to order a small container of the stain for you. I know this has happened before to a few of my past clients and they all had luck getting it. Most furniture manufactures have special blends that they make up and then call them what ever they want. You may be able to find this same stuff in a good quality paint store, forget about the big box stores. But your best bet is to get it from the manufacture and find out what final finish they used over the stain. Staining to match takes years of experience and trial and error. So I would have no idea of what color you would even begin with. What you will end up doing is to pretty much sand out the bad spot, color it and blend to the outside areas, then finish with a few coats of clear finish starting from the center of the stain and working out with several coats to build up the finish until it is level again.

  • Donna R
    on Sep 2, 2012

    Gosh, you are a wealth of info! So I should just concentrate on where the stain is and not redo the entire top of the table? Thanks so much for your time and knowledge. It's people like you who make Hometalk such a wonderful place!

  • Thanks, Love to help, Yes your going to sand from the center out, not so much to make a hole where the stain is, but to gradually work out from the center. Then when refinishing, you work again from the center towards the outside edges with each coat going out just a big further each time so to fill in what you sanded. IN any case you will end up putting a final finish on the entire top so it matches properly. Start with 220 finish sandpaper working to finer as you work your way to the edges. Use a sanding block also. Do not use your fingers to hold the paper. Your fingers, will create an uneven sand finish that will show up once the top final finish is done.

  • Becky (J) P
    on Sep 2, 2012

    that's a terrible accident. I had the same type of thing happen to my oak trash can, left a D battery sit there too long and it started leaking. Now I have a large circle right smack dab in the middle. I cover it up with restaurant coupons! lol

  • Donna R
    on Sep 3, 2012

    To WE - I never knew that about sanding with your hands, which I do all the time. My husband is always trying to get me to use a sanding block but I didn't know that it made a difference as far as affecting the accuracy of sanding. Really appreciate all the great advice and details of how to get these ugly spots repaired! To Becky J., yes, I've considered several things like putting down pictures and laying a glass top over it to hide the stains! Right now, I keep a coaster over them! The wood is really pretty and I just want to see it and enjoy this new table. One of those things where you wish you could go back in time and not have let it happen. Sounds like it's fixable thanks to WE.

  • Bill G
    on Sep 3, 2012

    I've had some luck with a product called "Formby's Furniture Refinisher" try it on a Q-tip on the area in question, this sometimes will do the trick. try it in a place on the underside first till you get the hang of moving the old finish and stain the way you want it.

  • Bernice H
    on Sep 3, 2012

    Hey Sheila..love that idea. Just a little whimsy! Sorry for you Donna..my sister did this when we were teens. I never knew what happened about it because she hid it, then a couple of years later left at 16, so I dont remember any noise about it.

  • Donna R
    on Sep 3, 2012

    Thanks Bill, I have used that product before and it's a good one. Yes Sheila, I have done that to shirts that got paint or Clorox stains on them to hide the stain! Works well. Bernice, it's good you didn't get blamed! Thanks everyone!

  • Susan S
    on Sep 3, 2012

    Donna - as to the mfgr. warranty - that only pertains to any structural defects or if the finish should fail in some way. However, it does NOT cover damage caused by the consumer. You have been given some excellent advice by Woodbridge and it would be worth a try to call the store where you purchased it to see if you can get a repair kit or at least some stain that would match the finish. Good luck with this!!

  • Donna R
    on Sep 3, 2012

    Susan S. the paperwork says (upon reading it again), "manufacturer warrants products against defects in materials and workmanship for 1 year from the date of shipment by manufacturer. Warranty applies only to products used exclusively for personal, family or household purposes by original purchaser." So with what your are writing, I guess this means only if there is a flaw from the manufacturer. Well, shoot. I was focused on the part that reads, "used by personal, family, etc." and thinking it meant it covered something we had done. There's always a catch! Yes, I'm going to try what Woodbridge E. recommended. Thanks Susan S. I love the people on Hometalk!

  • Susan S
    on Sep 3, 2012

    Well, I'm not an authority but having worked in the furniture industry most of my adult life I do know what the warranty is or is not about. No mfgrs. warranty ever covers anything but defects occuring in the plant during the making of their products. If the finish had failed in some way - i.e. crazing or becoming tacky to the touch then you'd have a valid complaint, Unfortunately, nail polish remover becomes what they would classify as consumer inflicted damage. You might also check w/the store where it was purchased to see if they have their own customer service dept. If it's a large enough operation, they would be able to fix it for you.

  • Donna R
    on Sep 3, 2012

    Thanks Susan. Yes, I see now that the warranty wouldn't cover what happened. The furniture store does have a repair service. $50. to look at it and $100. per hour for repair! I'm hoping they can get the stain as WE suggested. Hope they don't tell me they can't because they want me to go thru their repair shop. We have bought from them over the years so maybe they will work with us. By chance, were you a salesperson in the furniture business?

  • Susan S
    on Sep 3, 2012

    yep!! Interior design, accessorizing, staging model homes, in-home consultations, floor planning, etc. etc. Most of my experience was in working in high end furniture stores featuring custom designed upholstery, window treatments, rugs, flooring, carpets - the whole shebang!! Offices too!!

  • Donna R
    on Sep 3, 2012

    Wow, Susan S., you are very talented. I wish I would have gone in that direction when I was young and would be sitting here with years of experience now. Interior design has always been my main interest, well outside of family.

  • Susan S
    on Sep 3, 2012

    I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with a store in N. Va early in my career who firmly believed in really investing in his personnel by sending us directly to some of the top end manufacturers and letting us learn first hand how furniture is made and then those mfgrs. also had special training set up while we were there. All that plus a great deal of OJT and real life experiences so I guess some if it sank in along the way!! What I do regret is not knowing early enough in life that I had a penchant for Interior design and really taking advantage of some of the better design schools. Oh well . . . . .but it's been fun anyway!!

  • Donna R
    on Sep 3, 2012

    I knew early in life I wanted to be a designer, I just didn't have the guts to leave home at that time plus my parents really didn't have the money. I ended doing what I said I would never do and that was being a secretary. Yuk. However, I've always enjoyed my own home and ended up with a career as wife and mom, which was always what I really wanted. In the last years, have had my own small business of making and selling things in gift shops and at craft shows. This weekend, we bought new recliners and I started talking to the saleslady about working in the furniture business. She said they require 40 hours a week and it's 5% commission, no salary plus always work on Saturdays so don't really want to do that at this stage of my life. You did have good opportunities and I bet you were excellent at it. I imagine you have a lot of great stories!

  • Susan S
    on Sep 4, 2012

    Oh yeah, I went the secretary route early on for a few years too! As to the position you were talking about. That's exactly why I left "the business". I was tired of weekends and that's pretty much a have to when your in any kind of sales. The commission rate sounds decent but then again, it's either feast or famine. When it's good it's very very good and when it's bad it's horrid!! Most stores won't hire part time either and if you're trying to build a clientele you need to be there when your client comes in. Ususally though, you would schedule appointments w/people you had an ongoing project in the works with. Otherwise, somebody else gets the sale. It can be a dog-eat-dog situation and there are lots more sales people with no scruples or ethics than those who do. That's the good, the bad & the ugly. However, when you work on a big project and your client is over the top thrilled it's the best feeling in the world!!

  • Donna R
    on Sep 4, 2012

    I bet it is Susan! Probably makes it all worth while to have that very happy client. Yes, I can see how it would be a dog eat dog world. What I don't understand is they had a board with pictures of all the sales people. There must have been twenty - twenty-five. I don't see how they can make that much with such competition. As you said, you have to be there to work up your clientele. Maybe I should go back to my first real dream.....to be a Walmart Greeter! They always look happy! :)

  • Susan S
    on Sep 4, 2012

    LOL!! Well for sure - being a WM greeter there wouldn't be much pressure!! Just smile & nod and stick smiley faces on lil kids hands!! RE: Salespeople - that is a pretty large staff. My last store was 4 of us when I left but we were more design oriented but even before the recession I think we might have had maybe 8 so it never was a large amount. Back in the 80's I worked at a really large store in Fairfax, Va and we catered to the D.C. Capitol Hill crowd. It was nothing to see diplomats in our store. We were so busy that on weekends people had to take a number and wait for an available sales person. Most of the time you were balancing 3 - 4 customers at a time!! Whew!! I was also 20 yrs younger then too!! I'm like you though, I'm at a stage of my life where I AM NOT building a career and I simply don't have the killer instinct - go for the jugular mentality any more!

  • Donna R
    on Sep 4, 2012

    No, me either. Not competitive anymore! I like being at this stage of my life! Just wish I would have known when I was younger, what I know now but that's always the way. Wow, I bet you could write a book about the Fairfax Store. Sounds interesting! Imagine you had some tired feet by the end of the day.

  • Susan S
    on Sep 4, 2012

    Oh Lord - don't you know it. All of us girls would bring an extra pair of shoes and by the end of the day our "hang-out" area had a huge pile of shoes where we'd all kicked off one pair (usually the heels) and went to the uglies. By that point you didn't care anymore what your feet looked like or if your shoes matched your outfit!! LOL

  • Sharron W
    on Sep 4, 2012

    @Donna, a soft cloth damp with rubbing alcohol will take this off....but will also take the varnish....then you have to do a feathering in light coats of varnish to blend it back in....I have done this repair on a piece of my furniture years ago and it came out really well....But it was repeated LIGHT rubbing with the alcohol so that I only took off the finish as deep as the FNP had Penetrated and then I let it dry overnight, (cause the rubbing alcohol softened the varnish in a wider area than just the polish, cause I was trying to not leave one small hole that was 5 layers deep, if that makes sense) Then I wiped it off with a damp soapy rag to get off the alcohol residue. Sanded lightly with 1000 grit sandpaper....wipe with a tack cloth, painted with a thinned coat of varnish let dry and repeat...until it's even with the top and then rub the entire top lightly with steel wool and tack cloth and then the last coat of varnish goes over the entire top.

  • Sharron that would assume that there is a varnish finish. Most of the stuff done today uses a different type of finish that would not work with the suggestion that you have suggested. Not that it is a bad one, just need to be careful and know what is on the top to begin with.

  • Donna R
    on Sep 4, 2012

    Thanks Sharron and WE. That's good info. This week I'm going to go to the furniture store with all the paperwork on the table and see if they will order the stain from the manufacturer. If not, then I will have to go to Plan B. Thanks so much.

  • Sharron W
    on Sep 4, 2012

    @WE, yep, wasn't thinking it probably is a poly based finish...

  • Ellen H
    on Dec 11, 2012

    @Donna R Did you repair the table? How did it work? I have a spot of bare wood on my dining room table where my husband laid the package from K-9 Advantix - apparently the vial had leaked and there was some on the wrapper. (I quit using topical flea protection on my dogs after that - I mean if it strips the finish off furniture - how good can it be for the dogs?)

  • Donna R
    on Dec 12, 2012

    No, @Ellen H, I never did get this figured out. The company sent me those paint/stain pens but I haven't tried them. Mainly because I had already tried another brand of those and they didn't work. Wow, that's scary about the flea protection. That's what we use!

  • Barbara Valenti
    on Mar 14, 2015

    My father in law was in the antique business and if he were still alive he would recommend: Clean the area good with some mild soap and water, allow to dry, buff with super fine steel wool then use shoe polish. Put a thin layer on first, allow to sit a few mins. Buff, repeat if necessary until you get the desired stain you want. The holes can be filler with wood filler first then buffed down. Hope this helps!.

  • Barbara Valenti
    on Mar 14, 2015

    I forgot to add, always work in the same direction as the wood grain. This way hopefully you will leave no scratch marks.

  • Barbara Valenti
    on Mar 14, 2015

    Thought of something else, guess you think this girl will never shut up. A brown crayon is great in many ways. Melt some wax into the area, after you have prepared the area. Then finish off with the shoe polish.

  • Barbara Valenti
    on Mar 14, 2015

    Hey, let us know how it turns out. I am done now! Lol

  • Barbara Valenti
    on Mar 14, 2015

    Here she comes again! I forgot to add, the shoe polish has to be the waxy kind, not the liquid. In the little round tins!

  • Janet
    on Dec 11, 2015

    Dang I got the one not in a tin:{

  • Barbara Valenti
    on Dec 20, 2015

    Oh my, I am so sorry. Well do all the prep work then give it a try. It might work? Let me know the results please. I am interested!

  • Ada12326474
    on Oct 30, 2016

    O

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