Table top repair.

Discussion in 'Your DIY and Workshop Projects' started by Retired, Sep 11, 2018.

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    Retired

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    Hi,

    A couple of years ago our lovely neighbour was very distressed having just ruined a table top dropping nail varnish remover upon it removing a patch of the tables finish which was highly visible. This was made worse because this table was one of three being a nest of tables and had high sentimental value to her.

    I'm hopelessly colour blind and dislike any job requiring colour matching but I've made lots of furniture from scratch over the years so this table shouldn't be too much of a problem?

    As I say I really am hopelessly colour blind; one day I sat at the computer with Bron and we both did a colour blind test consisting of 24 different images; Bron was correct in all 24 I was correct in 3; well I know I'm not perfect.

    Any attempt then by me to patch up the damage would possibly only make the damage worse; it had penetrated the finish down to bare wood; this is something I would definitely not recommend to a novice but with the table sitting on the bench and this time pulling the scraper towards me I attacked it with my Stanley #80 scraper;



    This scraper when razor sharp is a joy to own and use taking a great deal less effort than using a standard card scraper; it can quickly bring a sawn hardwood board ready to accept finish; scrapers are really only used on hardwood such as this table top. With the old finish now completely removed and the bare timber sanded and dusted off time now to stain but this is where it can go horribly wrong; I have spirit and water based stains so prepared a sample piece of timber to test the colours; I applied three different colours and let Carole have a look where she chose one of the colours; although I'm colour blind I can easily identify different shades and the colour chosen by Carole was to me the wrong colour so I quietly applied the stain I thought to be correct?

    I can French Polish but I don't think this a suitable finish for such a table and although lacquer would be acceptable; for wear and tear though I like using Polyurethane Varnish which is cheap and can be bought in high gloss or matt. The problem with Polyurethane Varnish applied by a novice it can be very unsightly indeed and produce a "Toffee apple" effect; if overworked it starts to pick up and become sticky resulting in a mess. I find applying Polyurethane Varnish is best done very quickly indeed with a decent brush; put plenty on level it off and walk away leaving it a couple of days or longer to harden; care is needed not to apply too much on vertical surfaces otherwise curtains will appear but on this level small table top I just slapped it on and after crossing with the brush finished using brush strokes with the grain but going gently; the Polyurethane Varnish then dries nicely without brush marks; the result can be seen in the pictures below. This proved a lot more work than trying to touch in the damage but I think the end result was well worth it. Carole was delighted when I took the finished table round to her; my reward was a batch of home baked dairy free buns baked by Carole. Carole moved next door to us about five years ago when her husband sadly died; Bron and I do lots to help her but don't mind because Carole is such a good neighbour.

    Just one of many such favours I've carried out over the years but I treat each as a separate project taking my time to do the best possible job I can.

    I hope this is of interest.

    Kind regards, Colin.

    DSCN2181.JPG
    Not a job for a novice or anyone timid.

    DSCN2182.JPG
    Drastic action but highly effective in removing a finish quickly.

    DSCN2183.JPG
    A quick going over with a Bosch random orbit sander.

    DSCN2184.JPG
    Preparation pays off ready to accept stain.

    DSCN2185.JPG DSCN2186.JPG
    Stain applied and the light patch will disappear or I hope it would.

    DSCN2189.JPG DSCN2190.JPG
    Table now restored to as new with all signs of damage removed; Carol was absolutely delighted.

    DSCN2191.JPG

    Stain test samples.
     
    Retired, Sep 11, 2018
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    imjohnbrown86

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    Thanks for sharing, and really a very nice work done. Got lot of inputs from the post.
     
    imjohnbrown86, Nov 8, 2018
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    Retired

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    Hi,

    Many thanks for your kind comment; I'm pleased the information is of use; solid hardwood furniture is easier to refinish than veneered furniture because there's no risk of breaking through veneer; with a bit of practice and learning from mistakes many seemingly hopeless jobs can be done with success; many times I stand back and looking at something I've just completed think to myself did I do that?

    Kind regards, Colin.
     
    Retired, Nov 8, 2018
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    Silentrunning

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    Colin, I agree with your instructions when doing a polyurethane finish. I have had some disastrous results using it. I was wondering if you have ever tried to salvage a poly finish by using a 2000 grit sand paper on a sanding block. If you knocked off the ridges could you then go back and buff it to a high gloss?
     
    Silentrunning, Nov 14, 2018
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    Retired

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    Hi,

    I can understand anyone having problems trying to achieve top results with polyurethane varnish if they've never used it previously Silentrunning; it's easy to go to each extreme; applying too much and it runs or ends up in curtains; applying too little to be on the safe side and it shows every bristle mark; when applied correctly though polyurethane is a very good hard wearing finish; if enough is applied and quickly laid off without brushing too much the bristle marks should disappear; I prefer the Matt finish otherwise the shine can resemble a toffee apple and be a bit garish.

    I've never tried to salvage a polyurethane finish but one suggestion I can think off is to flat the old finish using 240 grit wet or dry abrasive paper with talcum powder as lubricant; dust well off then apply a couple of coats of polyurethane these thinned 50/50 with white spirit if using solvent type; apply these two coats quickly and lightly de-nib between coats. If you use 2000 grit abrasive paper to revive an old finish then as long as the finish remains without exposing bare timber it should be possible to buff using a very mild abrasive paste; I've used Brasso on French Polish but in certain light it can show a slight haze; if you make a mess of the job then simply strip the old finish completely and start over?

    Kind regards, Colin.
     
    Retired, Nov 14, 2018
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    Silentrunning

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    I don’t have your patience and skill Colin. I have gone to oils and wax to finish my indoor woodwork. The results are very satisfying but it does require occasional maintenance.
     
    Silentrunning, Nov 14, 2018
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    Retired

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    Hi,

    Thanks Silentrunning. I often hear comments about lack of patience and skills, I used to want to complete tasks yesterday but quickly realized to rush is to spoil or ruin so developing patience hopefully means do a job once but do it well. Anyone wanting to can learn skills; I'm very fortunate to have been taught by top mechanical engineers but I wasn't born with any skills these mostly being learned the hard way having made many mistakes which I still make and learn from. It saddens me that because people don't have skills or patience they seldom leave their comfort zone; I'm sure if you did some YouTube research then have a go taking your time and making quite a few mistakes you would achieve your aim in the end. I must have tunnel vision because once I lock into a project the project takes over my life and thoughts and however hard it becomes I never quit.

    I'm hopelessly colour blind and had very little electrical training but I adopted restoring vintage radio as a winter hobby when I retired; absolutely no skill in this subject and I didn't even know what a DMM (digital multimeter) was; resistors and capacitors I soon found out about as I did using a very cheap (£7) DMM. I enjoyed this hobby for the next ten years and in 2009 was honoured with top restoration award by the British Vintage Wireless Society; page 43;

    https://www.bvws.org.uk/publications/bulletins.php/volume34number4

    Not only did I make many mistakes but over the years I gained skills and even had over ten articles published in the BVWS Bulletin. I did a great deal of research because these vintage radios can prove lethal so I'm not encouraging anyone to follow my lead but anyone taking an interest in anything will most likely succeed; not only did I get these old radios working I started to specialize in restoring their wooden cabinet as seen below.

    I hope I'm not preaching but I like to encourage others to try new things; there's no such thing as total failure because even if the item ends up destroyed something will have been learned?

    I've never attempted coach lamp restoration but I'm now well into this and have cut my first glass circle to replace a broken circle and as the six reflectors were so poor I thought why not try to make new reflectors so I researched and in only two weeks have picked up a difficult skill that of metal spinning and I now have six brand new reflectors but more than this I've now collected another hobby and more skill; I never let up; the only difference about me is I'll have a go at anything which grabs my interest and I certainly make many mistakes along the way.

    As usual I've rambled on but to anyone I say "Have a go".

    Kind regards, Colin. Bush SW45 Com 5.JPG
    Not only did I learn how to get these old radios working again but I also learned how to veneer and French polish; please see below the ugly duckling; I received absolutely no training and learnt by having a go making many mistakes along the way.

    IMG_5877.JPG
    The radio above was a very difficult veneering restoration; I decided to try veneering using Burr Walnut for the first time; I only ever used traditional hide glue which alone is another difficult skill to learn both being French Polished (Shellac).

    The Barker 88 (2).JPG

    The radio as kindly given to me by my chum David.

    Ugly duckling..JPG

    What an ugly duckling; I paid only £10 for this because it was going to be scrapped just for the valves (tubes). Please note all the test equipment I gathered over the years and learnt to use from scratch the hard way. All I have is plenty of enthusiasm and get up and go. If I encourage only one person to have a go at something new then my ramblings are worth while.

    Reflectors_001.JPG

    Two weeks ago I needed six new coach lamp reflectors so why not learn another skill?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018 at 11:21 AM
    Retired, Nov 15, 2018 at 11:09 AM
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    Silentrunning

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    Colin, this is my latest project. It is 16’ X 24’.

    929325E9-C632-4C8D-9EE4-AAA1D0255308.jpeg

    I now have to put latticework under it and then stain the entire project. The best part of building this is that it gave me an excuse to purchase a new table saw and laser guided compound mitre saw.

    I really admire your work on the antique radios. I think that the best part of those old radios is the rich sound one gets from the powered speakers.
     
    Silentrunning, Nov 15, 2018 at 1:11 PM
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    Retired

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    Hi,

    Thanks Silentrunning; yes the old valve (tube) radios just can't be beaten for sound quality; whilst working on these old sets I used to play a Walkman through one of them allowing me to play my favourite 60's songs from CD.

    Well done in bagging a new saw bench and mitre saw; I'm all for this kind of thing; had you got someone in to do the work you'd have just handed over the cash but missed all the fun in building it yourself; the money you saved by doing it yourself will possibly pay for the saws but after the job is completed you still have the saws which will pay for themselves on other projects too.

    The deck and railings are looking excellent and once the stain is added to finish the job you can proudly stand back and say "did I do that".

    My first ever job having just married Bron was to replace rotten window frame timber which I made a good job of and saved a lot of money; from then on I've just become so confident I can make anything I choose; I have a DeWalt mitre and radial arm saw but I wanted a decent saw bench so designed and built my own shown below; at 4hp it's a bit of a beast but it doesn't bog down with its 4" depth of cut. I'm interested in what you plan to do next?

    Keep up the good work and please post finished pictures. :)

    Kind regards, Colin.

    New saw bench April 2017 (42).JPG
     
    Retired, Nov 15, 2018 at 2:13 PM
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