HOW TO REPAIR WOODEN FURNITURE FINISH

thanks to This Old House

removing water stains from wood furniture surface

White rings, caused when water vapor penetrates into a finish, can be removed by wiping them gently with a cloth barely dampened with denatured alcohol. (Black rings indicate damaged wood and require complete removal of the surrounding finish before any repair can be attempted.) Too much alcohol can dull the finish. If that happens, restore a satin sheen by rubbing with extra-fine 0000 steel wool and paste wax. To bring back a gloss finish, use auto polishing compound applied with a rag. To make the repair blend in, go over the damaged area and the entire adjacent surface.

fixing shallow chips in wood furniture stain surface

Where a clear finish is chipped but the underlying color is intact, fill the ding with a few drops of clear nail polish. After the polish dries, sand flush with 600-grit sandpaper. To restore the sheen on satin finishes, rub with 0000 steel wool and paste wax; for gloss finishes, use auto polishing compound and a rag.

using touch up markers on scratches and worn edges of stained wood furniture

Felt-tip touch-up markers come in a variety of wood tones to match common furniture finishes. Use them to color large scratches or edges where the stain has worn away. Apply only to damaged areas, and wipe immediately if any gets on the neighboring finish.

Apply a coat of paste wax over the repair and the entire adjacent surface to impart an even sheen.

For Gouges, Nicks, and Dings:

A gouge sometimes has a slightly raised burr around its perimeter. Level it by sanding lightly with 600-grit paper.

Next, choose a wax stick that closely matches the finish, or blend two or more sticks together (in your hand or in the gouge) to get just the right color. Rub the stick over the gouge until it’s slightly overfilled with wax.

Scrape off the excess wax with the edge of a credit card. The wax should just fill the gouge; rub off any wax on the surrounding surface with a piece of a brown paper bag wrapped around a flat block.

Apply a coat of paste wax over the repair and the entire adjacent surface to impart an even sheen.

scrape off excess wax off of stained wood surface

KEEPING IT CLEAN–

On the shelves of supermarkets, hardware stores, and home-improvement centers you can find dozens of products that promise to clean, pick up dust, impart shine, add a nice aroma—or all of the above—to your furniture. The truth is that although none of them will do your finish any harm, none is absolutely necessary to keep furniture looking its best. Dusting with a dry cloth generates friction, which creates a slight static charge on the surface that in turn attracts more dust. Dusting/polishing sprays, such as Pledge, reduce the static and help the rag hold the dust, but a damp cloth does both these things just as well. Some sprays leave behind a thin film of oil that temporarily adds shine, but the oil acts like a magnet for whatever dust lands on it.

For routine cleaning, diluted dishwashing soap or furniture cleaner such as Murphy Oil Soap is gentle and effective. Avoid strong alkaline- or ammonia-based detergents (like window cleaners); they can harm some finishes. And never use scrubbing cleansers, which contain abrasives that will dull almost any sheen.

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