How to repair a mahogany table top

Discussion in 'UK DIY' started by NoSpam, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. NoSpam

    NoSpam Guest

    Our dining table has suffered the ravages of family life for 20 years or
    so and the top has quite a few dings and scratches. It's not
    particularly valuable but the finish is very attractive so I'd prefer to
    try to repair the scratches and refinish it - any suggestions about
    where to get the necessary info?
    NoSpam, Jan 16, 2011
    #1
  2. NoSpam

    Tim Watts Guest

    NoSpam () wibbled on Sunday 16 January 2011 16:09:

    > Our dining table has suffered the ravages of family life for 20 years or
    > so and the top has quite a few dings and scratches. It's not
    > particularly valuable but the finish is very attractive so I'd prefer to
    > try to repair the scratches and refinish it - any suggestions about
    > where to get the necessary info?


    Hi,

    Solid mahogany? Or veneer?

    I got a long long with some *very* mild sanding of an oak veneered leaf
    dining table I got for 25 quid (the danger was going through the veneer).

    If solid, you can obviously take more off.

    As to the scratches - will they sand out, do you want to fill them or even
    leave them as a "feature of antiquity" (it's not as daft as it sounds).

    For filling - wait for someone else. There are certainly magic compounds but
    I know not what to recommend.

    What sort of finish are you after? Again, there are many choices, including:

    a) Plain waxing (again, wait for someone to recommend the best) - not so
    robust but trivial to repolish from time to time once the base wax is
    established. Hardwood lab benches lasted for decades of abject chemical and
    heat abuse by being waxed often. Howver, if you want a "pristine" look, a
    waxed finish may mark quickly with spilt liquid or heat.

    b) Oils of various sorts.

    c) Varnish. Personally if going down this route, I wouldn't use polyurethane
    - but rather something like Rustins "Bar Top" which has been recommended
    here many times. Not so easy to apply but supposed to be the most bastard
    hardwaring finish available.

    d) "Treatex" which is a proprietary blend of oils and waxes. I like it where
    I want a non polished "real wood" look and feel (I used it on all my oak
    skiting and architrave) - couple of coats leave the wood texture still
    feelable but offers some protection. Easy to rag another coat on later. Not
    likely to give you a traditional polished look.

    Cheers

    Tim

    --
    Tim Watts
    Tim Watts, Jan 16, 2011
    #2
  3. NoSpam

    NoSpam Guest

    On 16/01/2011 17:23, Mungo "Two Sheds" Toadfoot wrote:
    > "NoSpam"<> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> Our dining table has suffered the ravages of family life for 20 years or
    >> so and the top has quite a few dings and scratches. It's not particularly
    >> valuable but the finish is very attractive so I'd prefer to try to repair
    >> the scratches and refinish it - any suggestions about where to get the
    >> necessary info?

    >
    > Have you tried The Internet? I understand it's quite useful in these
    > situations.
    >
    > Si
    >
    >


    Yup - I use it all the time. There's a huge amount of info and no way to
    filter good from bad. I was hoping for some suggestions based on
    personal practical experience (I admit I could have worded the question
    far better!)
    NoSpam, Jan 16, 2011
    #3
  4. NoSpam

    Tim Watts Guest

    Mungo "Two Sheds" Toadfoot () wibbled on Sunday 16
    January 2011 17:23:

    >
    > "NoSpam" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> Our dining table has suffered the ravages of family life for 20 years or
    >> so and the top has quite a few dings and scratches. It's not particularly
    >> valuable but the finish is very attractive so I'd prefer to try to repair
    >> the scratches and refinish it - any suggestions about where to get the
    >> necessary info?

    >
    > Have you tried The Internet? I understand it's quite useful in these
    > situations.
    >
    > Si


    I think he just did! ;->


    --
    Tim Watts
    Tim Watts, Jan 16, 2011
    #4
  5. NoSpam

    Tim Watts Guest

    Mungo "Two Sheds" Toadfoot () wibbled on Sunday 16
    January 2011 18:52:


    > I often have a squint around Youtube for things of this nature; it's quite
    > useful and, surprisingly, not just full of schoolkids filming themselves
    > being 'cool', as it seems at first glance.
    >
    > Si


    Yep - I have leant more about wood routing that I could ever do from a book
    - my mode of learning is to watch something in action. It also makes a lot
    of helpful information put out here fall into context better IME.

    --
    Tim Watts
    Tim Watts, Jan 16, 2011
    #5
  6. NoSpam

    Dave Guest

    On 16/01/2011 16:09, NoSpam wrote:
    > Our dining table has suffered the ravages of family life for 20 years or
    > so and the top has quite a few dings and scratches. It's not
    > particularly valuable but the finish is very attractive so I'd prefer to
    > try to repair the scratches and refinish it - any suggestions about
    > where to get the necessary info?


    I have a similar problem to you. I do a lot of looking at poorly
    computers and some time ago, I slid a computer case across the table and
    2 of the screws that hold the plastic feet to the bottom of the case had
    come unscrewed just enough to scratch the dining table top by about
    0.25mm :-(((
    Come warmer weather, Ill take the legs off it and try sanding it down
    outside.

    Dave
    Dave, Jan 16, 2011
    #6
  7. NoSpam

    NoSpam Guest

    On 16/01/2011 17:24, Tim Watts wrote:
    > NoSpam () wibbled on Sunday 16 January 2011 16:09:
    >
    >> Our dining table has suffered the ravages of family life for 20 years or
    >> so and the top has quite a few dings and scratches. It's not
    >> particularly valuable but the finish is very attractive so I'd prefer to
    >> try to repair the scratches and refinish it - any suggestions about
    >> where to get the necessary info?

    >
    > Hi,
    >
    > Solid mahogany? Or veneer?

    Veneer - with some very nice figuring (it was a few hundred squid about
    25 years ago

    > I got a long long with some *very* mild sanding of an oak veneered leaf
    > dining table I got for 25 quid (the danger was going through the veneer).
    >
    > If solid, you can obviously take more off.
    >
    > As to the scratches - will they sand out, do you want to fill them or even
    > leave them as a "feature of antiquity" (it's not as daft as it sounds).

    I guess some will go with refinishing, a few ill need filling and the
    rest can become a "feechur"
    >
    > For filling - wait for someone else. There are certainly magic compounds but
    > I know not what to recommend.
    >
    > What sort of finish are you after? Again, there are many choices, including:
    >
    > a) Plain waxing (again, wait for someone to recommend the best) - not so
    > robust but trivial to repolish from time to time once the base wax is
    > established. Hardwood lab benches lasted for decades of abject chemical and
    > heat abuse by being waxed often. Howver, if you want a "pristine" look, a
    > waxed finish may mark quickly with spilt liquid or heat.
    >
    > b) Oils of various sorts.
    >
    > c) Varnish. Personally if going down this route, I wouldn't use polyurethane
    > - but rather something like Rustins "Bar Top" which has been recommended
    > here many times. Not so easy to apply but supposed to be the most bastard
    > hardwaring finish available.
    >
    > d) "Treatex" which is a proprietary blend of oils and waxes. I like it where
    > I want a non polished "real wood" look and feel (I used it on all my oak
    > skiting and architrave) - couple of coats leave the wood texture still
    > feelable but offers some protection. Easy to rag another coat on later. Not
    > likely to give you a traditional polished look.
    >

    At the moment I think it's lacquered - it looks too good to be 25 year
    old polyurethane.

    Having done a little investigation it seems that I would have to get
    "all" the lacquer off if I was going to varnish or oil it - maybe that
    will turn-out to be a piece of sandpaper too far. I've just seen some
    very nice (and some not-so-nice) mango-wood furniture and the flexible
    friend is tempting me to splash out :-(

    Thanks for the info.
    NoSpam, Jan 18, 2011
    #7
  8. NoSpam

    NoSpam Guest

    On 16/01/2011 18:52, Mungo "Two Sheds" Toadfoot wrote:
    > "NoSpam"<> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> On 16/01/2011 17:23, Mungo "Two Sheds" Toadfoot wrote:
    >>> "NoSpam"<> wrote in message
    >>> news:...
    >>>> Our dining table has suffered the ravages of family life for 20 years or
    >>>> so and the top has quite a few dings and scratches. It's not
    >>>> particularly
    >>>> valuable but the finish is very attractive so I'd prefer to try to
    >>>> repair
    >>>> the scratches and refinish it - any suggestions about where to get the
    >>>> necessary info?
    >>>
    >>> Have you tried The Internet? I understand it's quite useful in these
    >>> situations.
    >>>
    >>> Si
    >>>
    >>>

    >>
    >> Yup - I use it all the time. There's a huge amount of info and no way to
    >> filter good from bad. I was hoping for some suggestions based on personal
    >> practical experience (I admit I could have worded the question far
    >> better!)

    >
    > :eek:)
    >
    > I often have a squint around Youtube for things of this nature; it's quite
    > useful and, surprisingly, not just full of schoolkids filming themselves
    > being 'cool', as it seems at first glance.
    >
    > Si
    >
    >

    Surprisingly I hadn't thought of Youtube - good idea!
    Sadly, having stumbled over a very nice mango-wood table/chairs while
    looking for something else I'm now getting tempted to replace rather
    than repair.
    NoSpam, Jan 18, 2011
    #8
  9. NoSpam

    harry Guest

    On Jan 16, 4:09 pm, NoSpam <> wrote:
    > Our dining table has suffered the ravages of family life for 20 years or
    > so and the top has quite a few dings and scratches. It's not
    > particularly valuable but the finish is very attractive so I'd prefer to
    > try to repair the scratches and refinish it - any suggestions about
    > where to get the necessary info?


    Depends on whether it's solid or veneered. If sold it can be sanded
    but it's more likely to be veneered. there are various epoxy
    compounds, the trick being to match the colours. If you want a good
    job, best left to an expert.
    harry, Jan 18, 2011
    #9
  10. NoSpam

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On Jan 16, 4:09 pm, NoSpam <> wrote:
    > Our dining table has suffered the ravages of family life for 20 years or
    > so and the top has quite a few dings and scratches. It's not
    > particularly valuable but the finish is very attractive so I'd prefer to
    > try to repair the scratches and refinish it - any suggestions about
    > where to get the necessary info?


    Bennett's "Discovering and Restoring Antique Furniture" is about the
    best general how-to
    <http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/030434740X/codesmiths>
    Most antique restoration books are _not_ to be trusted, especially not
    for wood finishes.

    The "steam ironing" technique is worth trying for dent removal and
    some scratches, so long as you're already having to deal with (white)
    hot water rings.
    Andy Dingley, Jan 18, 2011
    #10
  11. NoSpam

    NoSpam Guest

    On 18/01/2011 20:13, Andy Dingley wrote:
    > On Jan 16, 4:09 pm, NoSpam<> wrote:
    >> Our dining table has suffered the ravages of family life for 20 years or
    >> so and the top has quite a few dings and scratches. It's not
    >> particularly valuable but the finish is very attractive so I'd prefer to
    >> try to repair the scratches and refinish it - any suggestions about
    >> where to get the necessary info?

    >
    > Bennett's "Discovering and Restoring Antique Furniture" is about the
    > best general how-to
    > <http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/030434740X/codesmiths>
    > Most antique restoration books are _not_ to be trusted, especially not
    > for wood finishes.
    >
    > The "steam ironing" technique is worth trying for dent removal and
    > some scratches, so long as you're already having to deal with (white)
    > hot water rings.


    It isn't an antique so I believe the finish is likely to be lacquer.

    There aren't any rings - just scratches on the (rather nice) table top
    and on the chair legs. From the figuring it must be a veneered top.
    I'm starting to think that this may not be a DIY job ... but I need to
    find-out about the compatibility of different finishes, and also how
    much a restorer would charge.
    NoSpam, Jan 18, 2011
    #11
  12. NoSpam

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On Jan 18, 9:40 pm, NoSpam <> wrote:
    > There aren't any rings - just scratches on the (rather nice) table top
    > and on the chair legs. From the figuring it must be a veneered top.
    > I'm starting to think that this may not be a DIY job ... but I need to
    > find-out about the compatibility of different finishes, and also how
    > much a restorer would charge.


    Flexner's finishing book is about the best guide. Bit American, but a
    good book.
    Andy Dingley, Jan 18, 2011
    #12
  13. NoSpam

    stuart noble Guest

    On 18/01/2011 21:40, NoSpam wrote:
    > On 18/01/2011 20:13, Andy Dingley wrote:
    >> On Jan 16, 4:09 pm, NoSpam<> wrote:
    >>> Our dining table has suffered the ravages of family life for 20 years or
    >>> so and the top has quite a few dings and scratches. It's not
    >>> particularly valuable but the finish is very attractive so I'd prefer to
    >>> try to repair the scratches and refinish it - any suggestions about
    >>> where to get the necessary info?

    >>
    >> Bennett's "Discovering and Restoring Antique Furniture" is about the
    >> best general how-to
    >> <http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/030434740X/codesmiths>
    >> Most antique restoration books are _not_ to be trusted, especially not
    >> for wood finishes.
    >>
    >> The "steam ironing" technique is worth trying for dent removal and
    >> some scratches, so long as you're already having to deal with (white)
    >> hot water rings.

    >
    > It isn't an antique so I believe the finish is likely to be lacquer.
    >
    > There aren't any rings - just scratches on the (rather nice) table top
    > and on the chair legs. From the figuring it must be a veneered top.
    > I'm starting to think that this may not be a DIY job ... but I need to
    > find-out about the compatibility of different finishes, and also how
    > much a restorer would charge.


    A quick fix might be a suitably coloured wax crayon rubbed over the
    scratches. Very difficult to restore modern lacquers without stripping
    and doing a total re-finish
    stuart noble, Jan 19, 2011
    #13
  14. NoSpam

    NoSpam Guest

    On 19/01/2011 19:50, John Rumm wrote:
    > On 19/01/2011 11:07, stuart noble wrote:
    >> On 18/01/2011 21:40, NoSpam wrote:
    >>> On 18/01/2011 20:13, Andy Dingley wrote:
    >>>> On Jan 16, 4:09 pm, NoSpam<> wrote:
    >>>>> Our dining table has suffered the ravages of family life for 20
    >>>>> years or
    >>>>> so and the top has quite a few dings and scratches. It's not
    >>>>> particularly valuable but the finish is very attractive so I'd
    >>>>> prefer to
    >>>>> try to repair the scratches and refinish it - any suggestions about
    >>>>> where to get the necessary info?
    >>>>
    >>>> Bennett's "Discovering and Restoring Antique Furniture" is about the
    >>>> best general how-to
    >>>> <http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/030434740X/codesmiths>
    >>>> Most antique restoration books are _not_ to be trusted, especially not
    >>>> for wood finishes.
    >>>>
    >>>> The "steam ironing" technique is worth trying for dent removal and
    >>>> some scratches, so long as you're already having to deal with (white)
    >>>> hot water rings.
    >>>
    >>> It isn't an antique so I believe the finish is likely to be lacquer.
    >>>
    >>> There aren't any rings - just scratches on the (rather nice) table top
    >>> and on the chair legs. From the figuring it must be a veneered top.
    >>> I'm starting to think that this may not be a DIY job ... but I need to
    >>> find-out about the compatibility of different finishes, and also how
    >>> much a restorer would charge.

    >>
    >> A quick fix might be a suitably coloured wax crayon rubbed over the
    >> scratches. Very difficult to restore modern lacquers without stripping
    >> and doing a total re-finish

    >
    > Axminster do some furniture coloured wax repair sticks IIRC. They can
    > certainly make damage far less noticeable...
    >


    I think "less noticeable" is going to have to be the aim, rather than
    fully refinishing it. Maybe a quick attack with 0000 wire wool, then a
    combination of running some french polish into the smaller scratches and
    some wax into the larger ones, then an overall zap with some decent polish.
    Thanks for all the suggestions.
    NoSpam, Jan 27, 2011
    #14

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