how to remove marks from wood table

nyrgirl35August 1, 2011

How can I removed marks on my coffee table (when people put their feet up without sock or shoes). It looks like a white film left on wood from were the back of their heel was resting. It doesnt come off with regular furniture wood polish...thanks!!

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bobismyuncle

The white is known as blush and is due to water penetrating the finish. Use the cloths at the link below, also usually available at Bed, Bath & Beyond

Here is a link that might be useful: water ring removal cloth

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 8:46PM
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brickeyee

Mayonnaise also works in many cases.

Smear it over the blushed areas, wait a half hour, then wipe it off and polish.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 12:22PM
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bobismyuncle

I've heard the mayonnaise story, but never tried it. As a professional, I am reluctant to pull out a jar of Hellman's, smear it around, tell the customer to wipe it off in the morning and hope for the best. I need to have positive results before I walk out the door.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 6:52PM
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Mikk

Or more precisely, condensation trapped between the wood and the finish. It usually dissipated over time (months) as the moisture is absorbed by the wood but there are things you can do for a quicker fix. The cloths mentioned work pretty well on light blushes. For a more aggressive fix on heavier clouding, you can place a chemise over the affected area and apply gentle heat using an iron. If you've never done it before, I would try some scrap piece first, but it's extremely effective, quick, and permanent.

For the professional... using a chinese food carton with hot water in it will help produce some really good water marks to practice on. The wax in the paper (as it is heated) makes an excellent surface seal to help drive condensation under the finish.

The mayo trick is just a short term fix... saturating the finish with oils so refractive light hides the blemish. As the oils dissipate, the blush becomes visible again.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 6:54PM
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brickeyee

"The mayo trick is just a short term fix... saturating the finish with oils so refractive light hides the blemish. As the oils dissipate, the blush becomes visible again."

Never had that happen in 20+ years.

It does tend to dull shellac's sheen slightly though.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 2:35PM
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Mikk

Brickeyee - what you "might" have been experiencing is a very light blush resolving itself before the oils from the mayo completely dissipate. Not saying that it's not a fix in some cases, but for heavier water marks... in my 40+ years, and our families 4 generations of experience as woodworkers, I've seen many a culprit return after similar oil treatments. The main difference being.. hiding the blemish until it resolves itself vs removing the blemish from the get go.

Of course, as we all know, it largely depends on the type of top coat. Laquers, shellacs, varnishes resolving themselves more quickly than poly's/urathanes/and the like.

No offense intended. I should have qualified the remark. It was geared more toward more modern top coats being used over the past couple of decades.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 7:30PM
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bobismyuncle

Not so sure about that. A few years ago, I removed a water mark from a large (5' tall x 2' wide) early 20th century music box. The owner said it had been there for years and years.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 8:43PM
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bobismyuncle

The way we created blush for one of the training classes I was in was to order pizza for lunch and put the hot box on top of an end table. That worked pretty well.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 5:18PM
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Mikk

Hey Bob! Yeah.. I've had some of those too (years old water marks). Just a feel, but it seems more modern finishes tend to have more "blush"/condensation issues rather than heat discolorations themselves in older finishes doesn't it? I could be wrong, but that's my frame of reference.

You're a brave man! lol Pizza boxes produce some awesome blushes but so rippin big! LOL Same principle though.. the waxes in the treated paper softens.. seals.. and leaves the moisture no place to go but "in".

One thing I've never been able to deal well with are those resistovar/resistal finishes. Richardson Brothers used to have a real right decent finish until the EPA stepped in and made them go from solvent to water based. Not that it wasn't a good move environmentally, but lord almighty do they blush up at the slightest touch and you can't hardly seem to touch them.

I digress, and sorry for the hijack nyrgirl35.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 4:12AM
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