How do I refinish a scratched coffee table & white marked end tables?

by Annandale
coffee table

end table 1
end table 2
  16 answers
  • Karen Krysowaty Karen Krysowaty on Sep 20, 2017

    if they are wood then sand down the finish, if the scratches are deep you can fill with some wood putty, wipe it all down and then apply the stain of your choice and then a varnish finish

    • Annandale Annandale on Sep 21, 2017

      They're cherry, and I actually made the scratches on the coffee table myself with steel wool. I was hoping to avoid sanding, but may have to. Thank you.

  • Loretta Loretta on Sep 20, 2017

    White marks can be removed using a hot iron. Place cloth over white mark and hold iron for a few seconds at a time till white ring is gone. Worked great for me.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 20, 2017

    What material is the table made of Laminate or real wood

  • Eleanor Korf Eleanor Korf on Sep 20, 2017

    Assuming the tables are solid wood I would remove the existing finish either with a stripper, or sanding with an electric sander; but you probably could have to use both. Then sand and stain (this part can be tricky because different wood takes stain differently. I recommend you practice your stain on a scrap of wood that is as similar to the wood you are working with as you can get. Once the stain is dry you can apply a new finish. I am assuming the white marks you are talking about are from either wet or hot liquids in glasses that were sent on the table. That might take more work to remove the marks IF they are not surface only. If you don't have a palm sander I would suggest you buy one, along with sandpaper with varying degrees of grit (any home improvement store can help you if you don't know what to buy).

    If the scratch or white marks continue to show after you have done the above you can either live with the scratch or marks, or (to at least this wood lovers horror) paint the items after preparing them to take the paint. It will be quite a bit of work but you will have the satisfaction of making the pieces beautiful again. Good luck and I hope you greatly enjoy your "new" pieces of furniture.

    • Annandale Annandale on Sep 21, 2017

      Boy, that sounds like a lot of work, but that may have to be what I do. Thanks for the guidance.

  • FL FL on Sep 20, 2017

    I used to use a product called Old English Scratch Cover for (light) or (Dark) wood and while polishing up the wood, it would cover small scratches and blend into the wood. An 8 ounce bottle at Walmart costs $4.32.

  • Robert Robert on Sep 20, 2017

    The answer I saw in pin.... said to use appropriate Sharpie colour marker pen. Another suggestion was to mix 1/2 cup of vinegar with 1/2 cup of olive oil then rub it on. Sorry but haven't tried either suggestions to can't verify if they work. If you do try them please let me know if anyone works.

  • Annandale Annandale on Sep 21, 2017

    I tried olive oil on this cherry coffee table when I first thought I would use fine steel wool on it. Regrettably, that didn't work. Would be afraid to use vinegar; fearful of stripping it (although might need to in the end. Thanks for your suggestions.

  • FL FL on Sep 21, 2017

  • Karen Krysowaty Karen Krysowaty on Sep 21, 2017

    Good luck, for me the sanding is the fun part. The staining is the part I don't enjoy.

  • Annandale Annandale on Sep 23, 2017

    Real wood - cherry

  • Janette Janette on Sep 24, 2017

    Use ordernery walnuts just rub on surface then buff off

  • Janette Janette on Sep 24, 2017

    Break out of she'll first

  • Annandale Annandale on Sep 24, 2017


  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Mar 13, 2023

    You could try using Mayonnaise as a polish after you have used the Iron.

  • Deb K Deb K on Mar 13, 2023

    Hello, hope this helps you out.

  • Mogie Mogie on Mar 13, 2023

    1. Most light or surface scratches can be removed by lightly sanding the area with a sanding sponge or sanding block. Make sure you always sand in the direction of the grain. This is because sandpaper puts scratches into your dining table, so the lower the grit (80, 120) the coarser the paper and the deeper the scratches. Going with the grain of the wood allows the scratches to blend in with the natural grain. If you go across the grain the scratches will not blend in and will stand out.
    2. Light scratches can be removed by initially using fine sandpaper (180 grit) before using something lighter (240 grit) to blend in and minimise the scratches caused by the 180 grit. If the scratches are deeper, you may want to consider a medium sandpaper (120 grit) before this step.
    3. Finish sanding the area using finer sandpaper (240 grit) in the direction of the grain – this will blend in and remove the scratches caused by the lower grit paper. Make sure that you never jump from coarse sandpaper (120 grit) straight to fine sandpaper (240) as you will see the scratch marks from the coarse paper.
    4. Once you’ve removed the scratch or mark, ensure you clean all of the dust off the dining table, before refinishing using the oiling or waxing steps in ‘how to oil your dining table’.