Acid stains on walnut

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Forum topic by crank49 posted 11-11-2011 11:11 PM 1158 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4032 posts in 3148 days

11-11-2011 11:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question refinishing antique walnut acid stain

I have a very old, very valuable, drop top, marble top, walnut dresser. It is, EastLake I believe, with “pin and cove” dovetail drawers.
Many years ago, about 45 years ago actually, I splattered some battery acid on this dresser and did not know it till the next day.
When it got noticed there were dark, almost black, stains on the wood.
I know this is asking a lot, but would anybody have any suggestions or ideas how to remove the stains.
My fear is that just sanding might not remove the spots.
I am not sure if refinishing would de-value this piece more than the stains.

5 replies so far

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3640 days

#1 posted 11-11-2011 11:13 PM

I think I would leave them alone. If the piece is a valuable antique refinishing would greatly reduce is value.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4101 days

#2 posted 11-12-2011 01:37 AM

If its very old it most likely has not been steamed as is done with todays walnut. I think you are out of luck but a way to know for sure is to get some walnut and duplicate the stain. Cut the board so you can see how deep the stain may have gone. Then start trying different chemicals to see how it reacts. Vinegar may help. In any event I would try it on a test piece only first. Its a shame that it happened but Medicken is right refinishing the top would surely devalue it. If you can get in touch with Patric Edwards he would know what you can expect and what to do.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3148 days

#3 posted 11-12-2011 04:52 PM

As for the age, since the joinery is “pin and cove” that would put it around 1890 I believe.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5108 posts in 4138 days

#4 posted 11-12-2011 11:22 PM

De-value is in the eyes of the beholder. I would leave it alone anyhow. Without a pic, we can’t see how “bad” the color change really is. If you can live with it, let it be. If not, a strip/stain process would be in order.


View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2871 days

#5 posted 11-14-2011 08:58 PM

If you watch antiques roadshow, you will never see an appraiser say “Because this was refinished and (arguably) looks better, it is worth more”

Leave it, stains and all unless an appraiser or knowledgeable collector says otherwise or offers an alternative.

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

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