Dark water ring on old oak furniture?

2ajsmamaJuly 19, 2010

Someone left some glasses on my mom's old oak Hoosier, 1 is white and I told her to use hair dryer (she had tried toothpaste and it didn't work), but another larger one nearby is dark. Will the heat work on that too (maybe take longer, use iron and press cloth instead of hair dryer?)? Or is this so far into wood (not finish, maybe finish is too worn there) that it will have to be bleached out? I really don't want to have to refinish this. She also has a 2-yr old dark ring on antique oak sideboard, but light was so bad in DR I didn't see it.

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Dark rings on oak are often the result of a chemical reaction between the tannins in oak and iron, aided by water. The only way to remove this is to strip the finish, bleach it with oxalic acid, neutralize, and refinish.

Before going to all that trouble, I'd give it a few days and see if it's just wet and might fade away as the water dries. But I wouldn't count on it going away on its own.

Here is a link that might be useful: wood bleaches

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 9:51AM
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The 2-yr old ring on the sideboard is a lost cause then (unless I want to refinish it, which I don't). Using a hairdryer on the Hoosier can't hurt, though, we can hope it takes out the new dark ring as well as the white one. If I have to I can strip and refinish just the narrow counter on the front of the Hoosier, though I'd like to put something other than shellac on it to prevent this in the future. I hate to mess with OA, if the dark ring isn't gone in a couple of months (aided by hair dryer), could I try H2O2 or is the weak drugstore solution not worth trying?

I'd pretty much have to (re)finish this in place, it's so heavy my mom doesn't want to have to move it again - it was in the DR, they just moved it back to FR where it was years ago to have more room around the table with siblings coming back for reunion this w/e.

My brother and SIL are very careless, I'd hate to see what they've done with (to) the Hitchcock tables my mom gave them.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 2:12PM
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Q: could I try H2O2 or is the weak drugstore solution not worth trying?

A: Drugstore hydrogen peroxide is 97% water (at least mine says 3% solution). The A-B bleach that uses hydrogen peroxide is designed for use on unfinished wood and is much stronger(~35%). I would not recommend using either on a finished surface.

One thing you can try is a light padding with a cloth dampened in denatured alcohol. This might remove the white marks.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 11:17AM
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It's the dark ring that I'm really worried about. I was hoping 3% would lighten it somewhat (I don't think there's any finish left in that area, or not much, removing it wouldn't make too much of a mess with drop clothes down). It works pretty well (sometimes too well) on cloth. We'll see how the hair dryer does, I can try denatured alcohol but if that doesn't work Mom's going to have to either live with it or wait for me to have time (and weather, and strong backs to move it outside or to the garage under the house) to refinish it. Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 9:18PM
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