|Project by HappyHowie||posted 01-19-2017 08:14 AM||688 views||1 time favorited||11 comments|
I felt somewhat guilty of what happened to my neighbor’s coffee table. He called me asking if I knew how to remove white rings on a table finish. I said I knew that white rings were easier to remove than black rings, but told him “let me look up some solutions and I will call or text you back”.
I did find a couple ways and sent him a link in a text message to a YouTube video where Charles Neil has a unique method for removing these rings on a table’s finish. My neighbor Martin watched it and wrote me back: “Wow”, he said. I replied: “Yeah! Crazy”.
However, my Annie said we had white rings on our Amish dining set so I used the wet cloth soaked in boiled linseed oil method that Charles talked about along with using a hot iron to remove the rings. It worked on our dining set so I sent a text to Martin saying this method worked on our table . “Let me know when you would like to try it on your coffee table”.
After a few days passed, Martin walked into my garage woodshop. “Okay, are you ready to try removing your white rings?”, I asked. He was. “Let me get my iron and rag”, I said. Martin told me to leave them. He had the supplies already in his garage. I walked over with him. Martin was ready to use Charles method of wiping a soaked cloth in denatured alcohol and then light it with a flame. First, though, I said where is your fire extinguisher? We got it off the wall. Some denatured alcohol was poured onto a cloth. We stroked the area with the wet cloth. We did as the video instructed and attempted to light the area with a flame. It did not light. We tried it again but with more denatured alcohol on the cloth and thus on the table when it was wiped with the cloth. It still did not light.
Next Martin poured a small amount of the denatrued alcohol directly onto the table top. Still it did not light up, or fame up.
I said, “Wait a minute. I am going to get my old iron and my can of boiled linseed oil. Let me get these items and we will try the other method to remove these rings”. I left. I am just down two houses and across the street from Martin’s home.
As I was walking back to Martin’s garage, he was walking towards me. We met in the middle of the street. I could tell he had something urgent to tell me. Well, while I was gone Martin poured more denatured alcohol directly onto the table top, a lot of alcohol. He got it to light, but it became a camp fire. His coffee table was almost entirely in flames, and the fire was spreading onto the garage floor and approaching to get under his parked RV. That is when he poured the contents of the fire extinguisher onto the table , the floor and the flames under his RV. He got the fire out and save his RV. He saved his home.
Needless to say, the coffee table looked terrible. Worst than what shows in the image below. It had all of the white fire retardant goo on it.
As we were cleaning up his garage, etc. I retrieved my can of mineral spirits to clean the surfaces of his coffee table. The image above shows how the heat from the fire melted the finish were Martin had poured out the denatured alcohol. The image does not show the edges of the table that well. On both sides of the table on these edges there were some real hot spots where the table’s wood trim was burning and left black charred wood. I did not notice these spots until I got working on the table to refinish it
Martin had commented that he would just throw a cloth over the table and continue to use it in his family room. That is when I asked him to let me try to refinish the table top. I told him it would provide me a way to learn refinishing. Since I did not know if I could be successful in restoring this piece of furniture, I said my services are with no charges. I have much of the supplies I would need already in my shop. He granted me the pleasure of trying to fix this table.
I used a finish remover product with a plastic scrapper to remove the old finish from this table’s top. I lightly sanded the surface. I thought I had removed all of the finish. I used minerals spirits to wipe the top to verify I had all of the old finish removed. It looked good. I applied a TransTint dye mix recipe I got from Charles Neil’s Color Recipes book. New England Maple recipe looked like a good match to the table’s legs. I made a quart of this dye recipe mix. After applying and wiping the dye onto the table top, I realized something was wrong. On further inspection I saw that some of the original finish had not been totally removed. The image below shows this result. I was learning a good lesson: Repeat the finish remover process one more time before believing all of finish is removed, gone.
I decided to remove the dye with warm wet towels. After that I used more of the finish remover so I could get the remaining original finish from off the table top. This process also helped remove more of the dye. I cleaned the surface with mineral spirits and lightly sanded the top. I was left to believe I had injected dye into small areas on the top making the top look blotchy. After many attempts to remove the blotchiness, I was invited over to Martin’s to looked and inspect the end table he had that was a matching set. I concluded that the tables had an inherit light and dark spots or areas. I therefore could just continue with applying another coat of dye and complete this finish project.
That is what I did. I wiped on a new coat of this New England Maple dye mix with a cloth soaked into the dye. After it dried I lightly sanded the surface with a pad, wiped the dust off with a clean cloth. Then I began the process of spraying polyurethane. I would use a pad to knockdown dust nibs on the top coat. After the last coat of polyurethane I wiped on a thin coat of dark brown Staples paste wax and buffed well after the thin coat had dried. I replaced the metal buttons on the edges of the table top.
This project gave me valuable lessons learned in refinishing a table top using TransTint dyes.
This evening I returned this coffee table back to its home; its place with Martin, my friend and neighbor.
-- --- Happy Howie