All Replies on Girlfriend spilled nail polish remover!

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View TheBryan's profile

Girlfriend spilled nail polish remover!

by TheBryan
posted 05-01-2013 08:58 PM

25 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2354 days

#1 posted 05-01-2013 09:10 PM

Short of sanding it back to bare wood, staining, and finishing, the best you can do is smooth it out with a scotchbrite pad and hit it with rattlecan lacquer.

BTW, think about getting a new squeeze.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View pintodeluxe's profile


5653 posts in 2807 days

#2 posted 05-01-2013 09:10 PM

I have stripped & refinished just the top of tables before. It requires a less exacting color match, because light hits the apron and legs differently than the top. Just do a sample board and find the right color.

Acetone is a great solvent, that’s for sure. We used to use it to clean our brake pads on our BMX bikes as kids.

Good luck

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View gtbuzz's profile


427 posts in 2435 days

#3 posted 05-01-2013 09:15 PM

Yikes, did she clean it with sandpaper???

It’s hard to tell what’s going on from just this picture, but it looks like it got all the way down to the wood, is that correct? Based on the way it looks to have eaten into it, I’m gonna guess it was a shellac or lacquer finish. Somone please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think acetone will eat into poly like that.

Do you happen to know what kind of finish that is? That’ll affect what choices you may have. If it is poly, I think you may be screwed. If it’s an evaporative finish and you didn’t get down to the bare wood there are options.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3578 days

#4 posted 05-01-2013 09:18 PM

I think doing the top again is your only choice to get a good match.sorry it’s not good news from me on this occasion Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Tkf's profile


38 posts in 1921 days

#5 posted 05-01-2013 09:38 PM

That loos like shellac to me.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3152 days

#6 posted 05-02-2013 12:53 AM

Acetone dissolves lacquer. It is a main ingredient in lacquer thinner. Nail polish is a lacquer…which is why your table is messed up.

Notice how the wood underneath isn’t the same color. This means that the color for the piece is mixed with the lacquer, not as a stain absorbed into the wood. In other words, it’s a “toned” finish, which is typical of mass produced pieces because it means that the quality of the wood is less of a concern…it all gets an even color because the color stays on top. This lets makers use variations of the wood with little waste. At least that’s my opinion or what you are seeing.

For this reason, I think some brushing lacquer tinted to the right color with aniline dyes and spotted into the work is the method to use. Unless you are really good, it likely won’t be transparent, but it should be a decent fix that’s not too noticable. But if you stain it and then clear it with finish, then you’ll see a real difference in the patch and the surrounding wood.

That said, most people should follow Willie’s advice and strip/refinish the entire top.

-- jay,

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 1886 days

#7 posted 05-02-2013 02:58 AM

That is a great opportunity for your girlfriend to learn how to sand down the table to the wood and refinish it under your patient and encouraging guidance. Possibly this can strengthen your relationship. Or not.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3095 days

#8 posted 05-02-2013 07:15 AM

I think Dr. Phil above has it right…......................

-- mike...............

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

332 posts in 2041 days

#9 posted 05-02-2013 08:39 AM

What do you have to lose trying a little color matching with the lacquer – assuming it’s tinted lacquer? Lacquer is one of the few finishes that “re-melts” when you apply more so the chances are pretty good that you can blend in a decent color match and get a good looking final finish. Shouldn’t take long to find out and certainly won’t ruin the piece.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View Quanter50's profile


278 posts in 2289 days

#10 posted 05-02-2013 08:48 AM

I’ve seen this before many times. It’s an old old trick women use. It’s just a ploy to get a “new” dining room table. Do yourself a favor and just go buy a new one.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7754 posts in 2907 days

#11 posted 05-02-2013 01:24 PM

Howard’s Restor-a-finish might be an option for blending, hoewever that does seem a bit large for this.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View MrFid's profile


874 posts in 1898 days

#12 posted 05-02-2013 01:52 PM

Thanks to all the commenters for making me laugh on this one. You should probably post a picture of your girlfriend just so we know what we are dealing with here. :)

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View DS's profile


2916 posts in 2414 days

#13 posted 05-02-2013 03:09 PM

Bailey, are you suggesting that the decision whether to 1) try to fix this spot, 2) refinish the entire top, or 3) buy a new table, depends on how the girlfriend looks?

Uh well, he might have a point there Bryan… sorry. ;-)
BTW, he does mention she is his “lovely”girlfriend.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2669 days

#14 posted 05-02-2013 03:26 PM

Tinted finish is going to be the way to go I believe. I find these work best in a spray gun, at least for me. I have never had very good luck brushing these and making them look good. A touchup gun can be bought for not too much.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3152 days

#15 posted 05-02-2013 03:59 PM

Grandpa…yep, you definitely have to mask off the area. You also have to have a variety of dyes on hand and experience with getting a good match. It’s definitely one of the hardest things you can do as a finisher/restorer guy.

It certainly works a lot better when you know what was used to begin with, but at least with lacquer you have a chance to try spot repair it before you strip the whole top.

I just wanted to head off the OP before he tried using a stain. I think that’ll make things worse.

-- jay,

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 1886 days

#16 posted 05-02-2013 04:15 PM

Quarter50 wrote “I’ve seen this before many times. It’s an old old trick women use. It’s just a ploy to get a “new” dining room table. Do yourself a favor and just go buy a new one.”

Completely agree with the above. The old trick guys use in this case is to BUILD a beautiful new table over the course of WEEKS, not buy one immediately. That’ll teach them.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2363 days

#17 posted 05-02-2013 04:22 PM

Yeah, I think the best approach is to do several treatments to the top with a sledgehammer. Store the resulting pieces in the trash. Calculate how much wood would be required to replace the table, and buy twice as much. Build the table, then tell your girlfriend you have some leftover scrap, and you’ll be in the shop.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 1886 days

#18 posted 05-02-2013 04:24 PM

^ Awesome.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View 489tad's profile


3362 posts in 3005 days

#19 posted 05-02-2013 05:17 PM

Here’s an old old mans trick, (not that I’m old). If you really like her thats where the vase of flowers go. If you only like her a little, that’s where the beer pint goes. If you needed an excuse to get rid of her…....there you go.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2399 posts in 3864 days

#20 posted 05-02-2013 06:30 PM

We can fix that , feel pretty sure., drop me a Pm and I will have you send me a few more pictures, but it doesnt look too bad, sure have fixed worse, not difficult either ,

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2068 days

#21 posted 05-02-2013 06:54 PM

Thanks for the great chuckle gents!
I’m completely unqualified to give any finishing advise, but I love the suggestion that she sand it down herself!!

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View TheBryan's profile


11 posts in 1905 days

#22 posted 05-03-2013 05:36 PM

Thank all of you for your input.
As I expected, I think I will be sanding the table down and redoing the whole top. This was a piece of massed produced furniture, but still cost around $500, so I want it to look half decent. And not knowing how it was originally done, I don’t want to spend the weekend trying to match the spot because I don’t think I will ever be happy with it knowing it’s still there.

On a side note, the Girlfriend is sticking around… Who else would I have clean my garage after I’m done fixing her mistake? She keeps the garage very clean for me.

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2954 days

#23 posted 05-03-2013 08:22 PM

Send her to the nail salon so she doesn’t bring remover into the house again. As for the table, there are many great suggestions. Good luck. Let us know how you fixed the top.

View JayT's profile


5619 posts in 2204 days

#24 posted 05-03-2013 08:26 PM

Bryan, before sanding it down, I’d take Charles Neil up on his offer of PM’ing. He’s forgotten more about finishing than most woodworkers will ever learn.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Finisherman's profile


227 posts in 1843 days

#25 posted 05-04-2013 01:11 AM

If I were you, I’d try to get some tinted lacquer in a spray can. I’ve had good luck with the Mohawk product line. I think that you can order from them directly. Make sure that you get the dye-based toner, rather than the pigmented one. Mask off the surrounding area and “dust on” several light coats of the toner over the damaged area, checking perodically to see how well the damage is blending in. If you have a spray gun, give the whole table top a coat of clear lacquer. Otherwise, you can use a spray can of clear lacquer to seal in the toner. Then following your usual procedure for rubbing out the surface.

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