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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    London, UK
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    Default Repairing nail polish remover damage to a Sheesham wood coffee table

    Hello

    I've googled this a fair bit and seen various forum posts about this but I'm looking for something a bit more specific, you've probably heard this sorry tale a lot!

    My lovely girlfriend has spilt nail polish remover on our coffee table

    The stain/varnish completely came off when I wiped off the nail varnish remover revealing what I assume to be the original wood colour underneath.

    This is the coffee table: John Lewis Stowaway Finished Trunk (click to see product details)



    As you can see it is "stained sheesham wood" according to the details, so this is proper timber rather than a vaneer finish etc and I believe Sheesham is a type of Rosewood.

    Here is a photo of the damage:



    Here are more photos:

    http://paulurwin.com/images/IMG_0913.jpg
    http://paulurwin.com/images/IMG_0914.jpg
    http://paulurwin.com/images/IMG_0915.jpg

    Now it seems pretty clear cut that I'll need to completely re-do the whole top in order to get an even finish.

    What is my best approach here? I've seen various mentions of lightly sanding to remove the remaining finish....is this the best way or should I use something chemical to remove the rest of the stain in the same way as the orignal damage? Or is that likely to cause more harm than good?

    In terms of getting the same finish, do you think this is really a true "stain" or is it a varnish of some kind (I'm no expert), it certainly doesn't seen to be a waxed finish. The finish seems to have a bit of depth to it rather than just being a literal stain, which makes me think it's some kind of thin varnish, but again I dont really know what I'm talking about

    Incidently, they also sell the table in an unfinished version, which is here: John Lewis Stowaway Unfinished Trunk

    The side on picture ("Main Picture") is a good match for the colour that is showing through in the damnaged area, the other picture ("Face on") makes it look at lot more orangey than what I am seeing.

    I'm assuming that if I were to look for a professional to repair this I'd be looking at quite a big bill - does anyone have a ballpark idea of how much?

    Thanks a lot for any assistance you can offer.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Queensland
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    Default

    Only thing I could suggest is a full strip and start again - nail polish remover is basically acetone and it obviously has done what it was designed for. There could be issues if it was the "oily" type of remover as opposed to the "non-oily".

    Sorry but that is about the best I could offer.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Melbourne
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    Default

    Welcome to the forums Paul.

    Firstly, I think the most difficult part of this process will be matching the stain for the rest of the table. Any slight variance in the colour will stick out like a sore thumb. This is what I would do (and others will give a differing opinion), is sand the whole lot using various grades of grit to a fine finish. Start with 80 grit, then 120, 180, 240, 320 and finish with 400. Apply choice of stain then apply finish. I would use a polyurethane finish. Apply one coat, sand with steel wool, apply another coat and sand the same way. Do this for at least 3-4 coats until you get the desired finish.

    This is the easy way (IMHO). There are others such as french polishing etc etc.

    Lastly, ban the GF from painting her toe nails with her feet on the table and be glad the nail polish remover probably removed the nasty fungal infection between her toes
    -Scott

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Dandenong, Vic
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    Default

    I'd ring the original maker FIRST.

    You may find they will fix it for a reasonable fee, Not cheap but not out of this world.

    I had 2 coffee tables that I liked. When I bought new furniture that was solid timber, I asked if they could change the tables to match, they were happy to do it even though it wasn't their tables, and it was not expensive.

    And hey, the UK, You can get anywhere in a few hours.

    A phone call to them is not going to cost a fortune to ask if they can re-finish it.

    (Oh, and get a new GF or give her the bill)

    Peter

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    London, UK
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    Default

    Thanks for your replies everyone.

    I have spoken to the store and they referred me to a professional, who would charge normal rates....but it was worth a go.

    Any pointers on what stain I should choose? Or how I would choose?

    Thanks!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Goulburn NSW
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    Default

    I have a mate who is a professional cabinet maker, only does pieces on order. We were talking about removing coffee cup ring marks with a warm iron. He said the hardest thing to remove was what you have here. He had the job of repairing such a top. Sanded it down applied new polish, but the stain shape was still visible. In the end he had to take off about 3mm to get below the penetration of the solvent.
    les

  8. #7
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    Mar 2009
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    I guess it is a little bit of a hard one, as without seeing the table first hand it is hard to judge really what the colour looks like, in terms of suggesting a possible stain to use to try to match it to the rest of the table. I agree that if you use the wrong one, it could end up too red, too brown too light or too dark.

    Hence not easy. The only thing I can suggest at a pinch is that the colour of rosewood should not be too dissimilar to mahogany or possibly teak ?? Out here in Aus I might have suggested cedar (ie. NSW or Queensland) but of course that is not relevant to you over in the UK. I would tend to suggest that English Oak, Chestnut, Walnut etc would be probably be too brown in colour as a stain.

    What you could do perhaps is grab a small bottle or two of such stains and try it out on some scrap timber to see how it might end up re matching the table. You could also possibly try applying a coat or two of poly or perhaps a Tung oil mix to see how well it might look thereafter, and do this before repairing the table.

    Given I agree with all that the only way to fix the table top is to strip it back, to speed up the process, personally rather than say trying to sand it back, the other option would be to grab a small can of paint stripper, and use coarse grade steel wool to clean it off, but don't forget to neutralise afterwards with say oxalic acid. If you do this then thereafter sand back with say 120, 280 and 400 grade and it should be fine for re-colouring and finishing, sanding back with 400 grade between the first and second coat of finish you use.

    Just a few thoughts to perhaps help. Good luck. Dave

  9. #8
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    Feb 2007
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    As someone has pointed out nail polish remover is basically acetone. I would use acetone to strip the whole top then refinish the top. The fact that it has cleaned back to fresh wood makes me think that the coating is a tinted poly of some kind and the wood is not stained in the traditional way. Hardware stores sell varnish stains that are basically a poly varnish with a tint in it. The more coats the darker it gets. The other option and although more work is perhaps the best way is strip the whole thingwith acetone ot a paint stripper, then sand, then use propper stain and finish with either a few coats of danish oil or shalak. I cant say how much a pro would cost to refinish but based on hours of work it would not be cheap.
    Regards
    John

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Greater Noida, India
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    Default Sheesham is a common wood grown in India

    [QUOTE=PaulUrwin;1510345]Hello
    As you can see it is "stained sheesham wood" according to the details, so this is proper timber rather than a vaneer finish etc and I believe Sheesham is a type of Rosewood.

    Sheesham is a common wood grown in India for furniture making. It is a heavy, hard wood that requires considerable ageing before it can be used. It warps and cups a lot when fresh. It has a reddish or pinkish natural colour. Since the box has been made in India, I would reckon that it has been coloured by an alcohol based stain and then finished with a coat or two of Shellac. This is the way they usually do it. The finish is not very durable and comes off easily. Acetone would clean every trace of the finish and the stain. After that a little sanding and a few coats of shellac should do the trick.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulUrwin View Post
    Thanks for your replies everyone.

    I have spoken to the store and they referred me to a professional, who would charge normal rates....but it was worth a go.

    Any pointers on what stain I should choose? Or how I would choose?

    Thanks!
    I suggest you take the top off and use acetone to completely strip the current finish
    turn teh top over and play with the underside (keeping notes) till you get a finish match you're happy with
    then do the show side.

    failing that strip the whole piece and refinish the whole thing -- that way the colour match is garanteed
    regards from Sydney

    ian

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    London, UK
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    Some really helpful suggestions - thanks guys!

    I think based on everyone's input (and yes the primary ingredient in thee nail polish remover is listed as Acetone) I think I'll probably use Acetone on the rest of the table top. It definitely seems to be the case that it's completely removed the coating and the wood underneath is what I assume to be the unstained original color which ties in with what orraloon and Indranil have said (thanks a lot for the local knowledge Indranil!).

    If I use Acetone, what's the best way to wash it off, just wash off with a damp cloth (which is what I did when the the spill happened) or should I be looking to neutralise it as well in some way?

    Cheers!

    Paul

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Gladstone Qld
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    Default

    Hi Paul, I replied to a post a couple of weeks ago explaining how I use acetone for some stripping jobs.

    Being solid timber I would sand the top back to clean timber after stripping unlike the veneered furniture in the post.

    If you check the link below it could help.
    https://www.woodworkforums.com/f173/c...veneer-150892/

    I have repaired nail polish remover spills many times. If I had your table to repair I would use acetone to strip the top and stain to match.

    But I've been matching stain for around 40 years and it can be very frustrating for new comers.

    If you do have a go I would (as someone mentioned) use the bottom of the top to experiment (different timber will give you different colours).

    You will have to stain and let it dry then give it a coat of the clear you are going to use and let that dry before you will see the true colour.

    You could end up thinking the cost of the professional would have been money well spent.

    Ian's advice to strip the whole thing could save a lot of hair pulling

    Good luck,
    Keith

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