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9/23/2020 3:47:02 PM
Posted: 5/28/2010 6:49:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/1/2010 4:43:25 AM EDT by rocko]
The fiancee was doing her nails and spilled some sort of solvent on our relatively new coffee table - unknown if it was nail polish remover or if one of the binary parts that go along with acrylic nails...  It was not noticed until several hours later at which point the finish in a 1x1.5" oval was mostly a gummy mess.   I'm not sure what it was finished with, presumably lacquer.    Aforementioned gummy mess was wiped off..     It looks like there is still -some- lacquer left, and the stain was not damaged - left with a low spot in the finish with "sharp" edges outlining the damage (in retrospect, perhaps should just have let it presumably redry and not lose the finish material, but we didn't realize the solvent had been there that long at the time).  

Any tips on a minimally aggressive DIY fix with low chances that I'll make it worse?

Pics:





And another spot, where some sort of bottle was placed... this is just a glossy spot on the surface, hoping some steel wool will just blend to the original luster.



Here's the entire table (from the store's site, not mine...)

Link Posted: 5/28/2010 9:03:50 AM EDT
three word fix for you..

"COFFEE TABLE BOOK" preferably on the AR15 or 1911 pistol ..if you must, Architecture types are OK and manly enough but only if the subject is Pre 1940

other than that, a no pro job is going to glare if you try to "refill" the hole..a complete restrip will be in order to get back to a smooth finish.

I use a new "greener" product to strip, just used it on an old rocker.CITRUSTRIP..worked quite well..
Link Posted: 5/28/2010 9:43:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/28/2010 9:43:37 PM EDT by Mike_Mills]
This repair will probably take some knowledge and skill to do well.  Proceed without those and you are risking making it worse.

If I were doing this, I would try something like this -

Find out what the finish is if you can.  Then, go buy a small quantity of it.  Daub it on (french polish) and polish to blend.  If you get a build up on top of the existing finish around the perimeter, you can cut this down by sanding it (600 grit on a FLAT! sanding block ought to do it).  Polish to reutrn the surface lustre.




Link Posted: 5/29/2010 10:18:50 AM EDT
I spent another second thinking about this.  

The simplest way to fix this is most likely to refinish the entire top surface.
Link Posted: 5/29/2010 12:35:59 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Mike_Mills:
I spent another second thinking about this.  

The simplest way to fix this is most likely to refinish the entire top surface.


Hope it is not a veneer top.

It is VERY easy to lift the veneer or sand through it trying to remove the old finish.
Link Posted: 5/29/2010 11:30:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/30/2010 10:05:25 AM EDT by Mike_Mills]
Originally Posted By rocko:
The fiancee was doing her nails and spilled some sort of solvent on our relatively new coffee table - unknown if it was nail polish remover or if one of the binary parts that go along with acrylic nails...  It was not noticed until several hours later at which point the finish in a 1x1.5" oval was mostly a gummy mess.   I'm not sure what it was finished with, presumably lacquer.    Aforementioned gummy mess was wiped off..     It looks like there is still -some- lacquer left, and the stain was not damaged - left with a low spot in the finish with "sharp" edges outlining the damage (in retrospect, perhaps should just have let it presumably redry and not lose the finish material, but we didn't realize the solvent had been there that long at the time).  

Any tips on a minimally aggressive DIY fix with low chances that I'll make it worse?


You just haven't given enough information to formulate a decent response.  I think one needs to know a lot more about the table.  Perhaps test some Bullseye shellac in a disceet place.  If the original finish survives the shellac, infill the bare spot with it.
Link Posted: 5/30/2010 6:08:33 AM EDT
Pictures would do a world of good here!
Link Posted: 6/1/2010 4:43:37 AM EDT
Updated w/ pics
Link Posted: 6/1/2010 8:03:32 AM EDT
going to have to refinish the top for sure, look into that citrustrip,,I liked the results..I have refinished personally 2 dozen peices over the last 25 years..used Formbys and some on line recipes etc of chemical strippers,,much happier with the smell and overall action of this green stuff so far..
tape off the edges, watch for spill over, and you can just get the top stripped, restained and polyurthene soft sheen finish in 3 days max..

CHEF
Link Posted: 6/1/2010 9:42:12 PM EDT
Nice info.



I will have to refinish most of furniture bought in the last 18 months. My pets managed to scratch everything, bed, dressor, night stands, and table.
That will be fun.
Link Posted: 6/2/2010 7:30:30 AM EDT
The acetone in the nail polish did the damage.  Get some lacquer thinner, mineral spirits and denatured alcohol. Try the mineral spirits,
thinner and alcohol on three separate spots and see what happens. If
nothing happens at all, you have a varnish finish and the only solution
is to strip it down and start over. If it's lacquer, the thinner will
dissolve the finish and dry back into a smooth spot. If it is shellac,
the same thing will happen with the alcohol. The lacquer/shellac
finishes can be filled by putting drops of finish on the bare spot, and then smoothed down by wiping a small amount of the appropriate solvent on the
finish and letting it dry.



If you have to strip the entire top, you will have a difficult time matching the color of the top versus the legs.  You will need to use dye, NOT the oil stains you can buy in the bigbox stores, to get the right color.  Woodcraft.com, Woodworker's Supply, or Rocklers will have dye.

Link Posted: 6/2/2010 6:17:08 PM EDT
I happen to work in the furniture industry. In fact, I manage the finishing operations for a high end furniture manufacturer in NC. So I'll offer you some free expert advice.

The fact that the damage was done by nail polish remover (whiuch is acetone) pretty much narrows down the list of possible finishes on that piece. It's most likely a standard nitrocellulose lacquer, or a pre-catalyzed nitrocellulose lacquer. Odds are very high that it's the former. NC lacquer is the most common commercial furniture finish in use today and has been the standard for generations.

In the furniture industry, acetone is often reffered to as "wash-off" because it is used to wash the finish off a piece if you screw up the finishing process. Good news is there is a way we can determine whether it's pre-cat lacquer or standard lacquer and both can be fairly easilly repaired if you know what your doing. Here is how to proceed:

-Get an aerosal can of lacquer based sanding sealer from the hardware store, get a can of regular lacquer as well. Preferable semi gloss based on the pictures.
-Get some 320 grit sand paper and a sanding block. The block should be a fairly hard material and perfectly flat on one side. Wood or very hard rubber would make a good block.
-Sand the defect fairly well with the 320 keeping the block flat on the surface. Try to sand the defect and the area a few inchest around it. Sand it well, but not so much that you cut through the finish, in particular the underlying color coats. Your not trying to remove the defect all at once.
-Spray the sanded area with a pretty heavy coat of the sealer. Let it dry.

At this point the sealer will lay down smooth and stick. If it peal, crackles, or otherwise shows signs of poor adhesion, your table has pre-cat lacquer on it. If that's the case, go by a couple gallons of acetone and wash the whole thing off. Feel free to get it soaking wet with acetone and rub the finish off with a rag. It won't hurt a thing. When your done, very lightly sand the piece with 320 and refinish.

If the sealer seemed to stick, proceed as follows:

-sand the repaired area again with the block and 320. sand aggressively in order to cut down the sealer you just sprayed, but again not so deep you remove color..
-Keep repeating this spray and sand process on the repaired area. What you are doing is gradually filling up the pit the nail polish made and then sanding it smooth. Almost like using body filler on a car.
-When the area is filled you'll see it while sanding as the paper will cut the surface evenly smooth.
-Now you can take the lacquer you bought and recoat the whole top for a nice even finish.
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