did I screw-up?

ilmbgJanuary 27, 2009

I have an inexpensive wood dining table. It is pine, but I don't know what knid of pine. It has looked very good- people have often mentioned how beautiful it is and were surprised when I said it was an inexpensive piece.

Lately, there have been small, shallow scratches- from what, I don't know as I am essentially the only user of the table and that is rare- I tend to eat in the family room and so does whoever visits. I am wondering if the small scratches are really the finish cracking??

I talked with the local hardware store and was told to use the Minwax 'Wood Finish'. It says ' penetrates, stains and seals' on the label. It is the 8 oz size.

I was told to use a soft cloth and apply to small areas, then wipe off anywhere from 'immediately' to 'a few minutws', depending on how long it took to cover the faint scratches.

I can just hear some of you woodworkers- Gasp! OH NO!!

Anyway, the color was wonderful! I attempted to wipe it off after about 60 seconds- but it was 'sticky'. So I stopped attempting to wipe it off as it was going to make more of a mess.

The result was a beautiful shine that covered the scratches,but I could see that it was too thick. When I called Minwax to ask what to do the girl said it was meant to be wiped off- which I told her I tried to but it was sticky, so I left it alone until I could call them the next morning.

The Minwax girl said to wipe it off with Mineral Spirits- which I did. I used the 'low vapor' kind. Now there are whitish streaks- sort of 'hazy', where I tried to wipe it off.

What are my options? Do I need to strip the whole table? Is there something I can wipe on the whitish streaks?

If I do have to strip it off and sand it the sanding will be hard for me- asthma and weak arms due to an accident. I don't think I could sand by hand.

What are my options?

Thank you.

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Just guessing here, but I suspect you partially dissolved the finish when you used the minwax "wood finish", which is actually a stain, and mostly meant to be used on raw wood. I don't really know what finish was on your table - shellac might be a possibility given the whitish haze that developed - that's pretty common with shellac from moisture exposure, but might also be lacquer. I suspect you're going to have to strip the table to fix it, but you might try wiping with denatured alcohol - it the finish is shellac, that will dissolve it fairly easily. You can then stain if desired using your Minwax product, then finish with shellac or something else if you prefer. Should be minimal manual labor. If the alcohol doesn't do anything, you might try lacquer thinner, but I wouldn't be too hopeful that would help much. Also might consider asking on woodcentral.com - there are some pretty good finishing experts over there.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 5:18PM
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This product is actually not a wood finish, but a stain and meant to be applied to bare wood. I think you got bum advice from the hardware store.

Pine is notoriously soft and dents and impresses easily. It's hard to say what you saw originally. Almost 98% certainty it's a lacquer product that's on there now, if it was the factory finish.

I don't know if you have a salvageable situation now or not, without seeing it and perhaps without trying some things. You might try a little mineral spirits as a lubricant and buff gently with 0000 steel wool. But I suspect this will not do any good, as the nasty stuff is in the low spots.

Even if you do strip it (with a chemical stripper, please, not by sanding), pine is also notoriously difficult to stain evenly, particularly with that series of Minwax products, even when preceded by the Minwax Stain Conditioner, when used as directed. A high quality gel stain would work much better.

Sorry I don't have better news and an easier answer.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 9:46PM
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