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Old 07-09-2017, 04:29   #1
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Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

Hi All,

I really appreciate any advice! I am trying to refinish the cabin table from my Tartan 3500. The table-top appeared to use a polyurethane finish and had a couple deep scratches. In the course of stripping and sanding, I was able to remove the finish and fix the scratches, but in the process I "uncovered" some blonde-discoloration spots where the wood almost looks bleached. See the photos.

At first, I thought I might have sanded through a veneer, but upon very close examination the wood grain is completely continuous into and out of these light "blotches". I see no evidence of any veneer.

The spots look like the original stain is just missing. I don't have enough experience with stains to know if this is likely or possible. However, I used nothing on the surface that would have bleached the stain.

In any case, I am asking what to do about it. If these spots were not there, I would just proceed to re-stain the entire surface then put on a new polyurethane. But I don't want these light spots showing through.

Or should I somehow try to stain these spots first to blend in with the existing old stain, then stain the whole surface???

Any advice appreciated. I want this table to look good after all this work.

TampaBaySailor
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Old 07-09-2017, 05:10   #2
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

It's hard to tell from the photos what precisely is going on. Is the rest of the surface sanded to bare wood or is the failed varnish just removed?

First thing I would do is hit the discolored area with teal cleaner. It looks grey, like it weathered, but that might be the photos. Teak cleaner may get the grey out. Washing the whole surface as you work with a volatile solvent as you work will help you to see what it will look like when finished so you can gauge your progress. If you can't get it to match you're probably looking at new veneer or something else to cover it. Or make a new leaf which should be pretty straightforward given its shape and edge profile.
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Old 07-09-2017, 05:11   #3
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

I would try to blend in some stain. Natural wood is expected to have color variations so even an not too perfect stain will look natural enough.

Another fun solution to uneven table top color which I've seen a while back, actually 2 similar solutions, was to incorporate a bunch of foreign banknotes interspersed with coins on top and then epoxy over. Or put an old map of your local cruising grounds under the epoxy layer.

But your top looks like it may be too good to cover with these things.

PS I would recommend epoxy as a final finish instead of poly. For such a small area the cost difference is insignificant but the epoxied top will keep nicer look and prevent scratches for a much longer time.
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Old 07-09-2017, 05:54   #4
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

Looks like you've burned through either the stain or, if the wood is unstained and just varnished, the wood beneath the ultimate penetration of the varnish, whilst sanding.

It is notoriously difficult to match this this 'virgin' wood to the surrounding area, but what have you got to loose? Find some scrap wood of about the same color, porosity and grain configuration and run some tests. When you get close try a little on the smallest 'discolored' section and see what happens.

It is possible that you have a solid wood table. You may be able to tell by looking at the grain pattern on the underside of the table and see if it matches. If so, you can just sand it all down till you reach uniform wood color.

As a last resort you could laminate an 1/8" veneer of whatever wood you choose to the tabletop and finish that.

Be careful with epoxy if you have a lot of UV where the table is because UV degrades epoxy pretty quickly. It is usually good to cover UV-exposed epoxy with varnish for protection...
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:42   #5
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

What you need to use is a alcohol based stain. You can build the color intensity based upon applications.


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Old 07-09-2017, 06:43   #6
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

I believe the table is in the cabin not the cockpit so direct UV should not be as much of an issue.

As far as epoxy and UV degradation - my boat building buddy says it's easily solved by using/adding what they call "Florida additive" which is formulated specifically for the tropical sun exposure. I believe it is called V140. It does give a little bit of yellowish tint but in wood related applications this should not be a concern. And that yellowish tint is what protects the epoxy from the UV.
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:52   #7
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

If someone can recollect the name of this poly (epoxy?) I'd be much obliged.

Years ago, may be 30 or so years, a friend was in the hardwood floor installation business. He was raving about a Swedish made product (not sure if it was epoxy or poly based) which while significantly more expensive than anything on the market then, was much better in overall qualities. I myself witnessed a piano being easily pushed on the exposed floor without any scratches or other marks. It's probably something similar to what is used on the basketball parquet but I remember that supposedly it was even tougher than that. I vaguely recall it being water based but that seems counter intuitive. Here in New England it was sold to the industry only by a distributor named Mc-something, if that'll help to recollect the name.

I would definitely use it in all my wood projects, especially if V140 would be compatible with it.
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:03   #8
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

The color of bleached wood can often be restored with oxalic acid. Depends how deep it goes.
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:18   #9
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

I don't believe it is stained, what I think you are seeing is the darker surfaces have been aged and are naturally darker and the light areas have been sanded down enough that the aged wood has been renewed. You will see this with many species of wood such as cherry, oak, and teak among others. Walnut is the opposite, it lightens as it ages.
You could call Tartan and ask if they use stains with their teak, but having two Tartans, I do not believe that's the case.
In this situation, you would need to carefully sand the rest of the table down until it reaches the lighter shade. Sometimes using oxalic acid would also brighten up the darker areas without much sanding. do a test area first before committing to a large area.
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:55   #10
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

Is the table top solid wood or veneer? If it is solid continue to sand with 120/220 paper till the finish is uniform then refinish with 4-6 coats of good spar varnish.

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Old 07-09-2017, 08:58   #11
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

That's exactly what mine looked like before I sanded right through the veneer... Look at the wood grains in your last photo. They don't appear to line up to me... I am worried you are sanding through veneer. Proceed with caution!!
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:13   #12
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

There is nothing to loose and worked great for me. Put a soft tissue (tee shirt or similar) on the table and use a hot iron for 30 seconds over the spots. In my case the white spots were caused by a dripping jar and they dissapeared.
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:15   #13
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

I would use a stain and varnish product. If it is a little darker it is unlikely to see any difference between the spots and the rest of the table. Of course, if you do not mind having a darker table
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:04   #14
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

I recently applied a sheet of teak veneer to my companionway boards, but had a slight bubble on one. When I attempted to lessen it by sanding, I got the lighter color as the veneer became thinner and the bright backing material began to show through. Beware further sanding. Try the stain.
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:24   #15
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Re: Cabin Table Refinishing - What to do with discolored "spots"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
The color of bleached wood can often be restored with oxalic acid. Depends how deep it goes.
Oxalic acid is sold as "wood bleach". You can't unbleach wood, especially with more bleach. If these spots were where the wood had been bleaches, you could try to bleach the rest of the table to match and then re-stain. Or you could stain the bleached areas to match the rest and then stain the entire surface to even it out.

As I look at the second photo, it looks like the grain is going in a different direction than the rest of the surface. That would indicate that you have indeed sanded through the veneer.

If you really care how this repair turns out, my suggestion to you is to contact local furniture stores to find out if they know someone who does furniture repairs and refinishing. There are people around who make a living doing this.

A pro will know what happened and how best to restore it.

If you don't want to do this, try to stain the area to match the rest of it and then stain the entire top.

If there are scratches from sanding, these will show through big time so try and remove the scratches, sanding with the grain up to a 220 or 320 grit sandpaper.
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