Tips to get rid of light wood damage

Tips to get rid of light wood damage

Submitted by Bob Hey of Bob’s Furniture Hospital

A common homeowner inquiry concerns dining tables that have become worn or damaged. Many times, the table is perfectly fine in all aspects except the top surface isn’t looking as nice as it used to. Often there’s just a small area of damage such as a gouge, ring mark or loose veneer.

Furniture repair specialists are frequently able to perform a less invasive process than total refinishing. The existing finish can be softened and power buffed or scuff-sanded and have a fresh topcoat sprayed on. Spot-finish patches sometimes are appropriate for small, damaged areas. These processes, of course, provide a huge cost savings to the client. A typical dining room table restoration cost from $200 to $500, depending on the size and scope of the project.

Sometimes there are remedies you can easily do at home. Some of the older finishes with soft varnishes are highly sensitive to water rings and marks from heat contact. Today’s high quality finishes are a two-part (catalyzed) material, which is highly resistant to damage from most normal household use. Our shop actually uses the same finish materials on high activity family tables as some top guitar manufacturers use to stand up to rough professional stage use.

Here are a few tips we hope you’ll find useful:

  1. For white water rings, try gently rubbing with a mixture of olive oil and cigarette/cigar ashes on a scrap of clean white flannel. Use a small circular motion.
  2. For a smooth, glossy surface, a light coat of spray wax is fine. For a surface that shows the open texture of the wood’s grain, use a damp cloth to clean and then apply a light coat of lemon oil. Wax can build-up and become gummy, cloudy and hide the wood’s natural beauty.
  3. The feet or legs of many older pieces have steel floor glides that have become rusty over the years. They can not only scratch floors but can leave serious stains if a floor should accidentally become wet. They can easily be exchanged for nylon or felt glides.


Bob’s Furniture Hospital has been providing refinishing, repairing and restoration service for modern and antique furniture to clients for more than 40 years and is able to provide help with almost any furniture issue. The company always happy to discuss your furniture questions at no charge.

As of Nov. 11, 2011, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check AngiesList.com for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.


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