please help

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Old 04-01-08, 12:09 PM
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please help

I apologize in advanced for my lack of knowledge about this subject. I have a high boy dinning room table, I believe it to be solid wood, not sure what type. The legs and base are black, the top is a woodgrain with a stain that resembles maple or cherry (reddish/black). The top has become sticky, gummy and dull in various spots. When I rub my hand over the table, the more dull spots feel smooth and the shinnier spots feel sticky/gummy When I rub the shinny spots hard with my fingers I get a type of residue like when you're peeling from a sunburn and your rub some of the skin off. The table will sometimes get a heat related cloud stain, even when the dish is sitting on a trivet, but the stain will usually go away after a few days. I want to work on the table, but I have no idea what to do first. I don't know if the table is protected by lacqure, wax or polyurethane or something else. I tried to clean it with Murphy's Oil Soap, and it was just gummy and hard to move across the table. I wiped it up and it didn't look any better. Any direction of help would be most appreciated.
 
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Old 04-01-08, 03:37 PM
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If you had all the knowledge, you wouldn't be here, so we are here to gladly help if we can. Any idea as to what the top is made of? If it is pine, then I can see the rosin coming to the surface, but usually in a quality table top that is not the case. Would it be possible for you to post a couple or three pictures of the table and the top from different angles so we can see what you are seeing? You can do this by posting them on a site such as photobucket.com and copy/paste the HTML code in your reply post.
 
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Old 04-01-08, 03:41 PM
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Sounds like old shellac to me. Wipe a spot unerneath with denatured alcohol. If the finish comes off it is shellac. But try cleaning with TSP(follow directions). That will remove all dirt, grease, etc., and probably dull the finish, but it should not harm any good finish. If that works, the top can be refinished. I would recommend an oil based polyurethane. Slow to dry but a very durable finish.
 
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Old 04-01-08, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
Sounds like old shellac to me.
I'd like to 2nd that. (Or varnish). I've had to deal with the same scenario. Often times the old shellac or varnish will alligator crack also with age. And that gooiness you speak of - yes. The wood description may also be mahogony.

Furniture of quality may have a spray lacquer that may be baked on. With polyurethane it is imperative you gently stir (do not shakle!) the can to properly mix the sheen ingredient in it. You can apply by brush, or foam brush, and the brush strokes will disappear. You need to work in a dust free environment. You don't even want dust that can jar off a basement ceiling to fall on the liquid application. There is a strange phenomonen with spread-on poly, as opposed to sprayed on lacquer done in a clean spray booth ( I used to do furniture lacquer spray booth spraying at a small wooden toy and furniture factory after I got out of high school), where dust particles, even bubbles/pops, will cause nuisance raised tiny spots on you. You must use something like 400 grit sand paper between every coat applied, once dry. You will notice a white powder when you do. Clean off this dust with a vacuum dust brush and finish with a tackcloth.

I used to make highly grained wooden objects and coat them with 4 layers of semi-gloss poly per my recommendations, and they are absolutely beautiful. The 1st coat will raise the grain. Successive coats and sanding result in a shinier and smoother surface as you go. The pieces I did look and feel like glass. I still have many of the left over blanks and let people look at and hold them in their hand.
 
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Old 04-02-08, 09:44 AM
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pics

i failed to mention an important fact in my original post,....the table is less than 1 year old. Now, I have two boys (6 and 4), so they are ROUGH on eveyrthing, but the point is, this is not and old table. I've included 6 pics on the following web page.
http://s288.photobucket.com/albums/ll174/drpsyd/
hope this helps!
thanks again!
 
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Old 04-02-08, 12:17 PM
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So for all we might not know, the gumminess might not even be coating related. It might be some kind of wax or greasy goo or something. Could that be? I'd maybe try using an ammonia/ water mix, as that dissolves wax. If that does not do it I woud try a super degreaser. If that did not do it, then I'd try mineral spirits as that also cuts grease real good. Somethig like GooGone or some powerful citrus cleaner may do the trick also.

Try a small spot of these things, one at a time, on some terrible and least conspicous area.
 
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Old 04-02-08, 02:06 PM
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correct

your are right ecman, I don't know if the "gummy" area's are something we put on the table while using it, or if it is wax, or varnish, or polyurethane coming up. We clean it reguarly with soap and water. So is there a way for me to know what the table is coated/protected with (wax, varnish, polyurethane?). Mineral spirits won't hurt the portectant cover or stain? I will try the cleaners/mixes you suggested.
 
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Old 04-02-08, 04:05 PM
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I don't believe anythihg I said will wreck any decent finish that might be on the table, if there is a clear-coat of some sort on it. Mineral spirits is paint thinner - totally different from paint remover. You do NOT want to use that (PR) - that is for sure.
 
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Old 04-02-08, 07:58 PM
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water and soap are for people not furniture!!!
HOMER FORMBY"s furniture cleaner! clean all the hand prints, scuffs, and stuff off and start using lemon oil if you want it to last. it will take a while for the lemon oil to build up, but it will TREAT the wood and protect it. the table looks like mahogany veneer. if the finish IS lacquer, you may have to to with a good furniture polish instead of the lemon oil.
 
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Old 09-18-09, 05:15 AM
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RE:Please Help

I'm wondering if there was ever a solution to the table with residue/greasy/waxy marks on it. We have the exact same problem with a table that is very new and my kids eat at it and I can't get it clean with anything. I've tried dish soap, vinegar/water, easy-off... There seems to be a film on it that won't leave. If I run my finger on it, it just smears the film. This post was April of last year, so I'm not sure anyone has kept up with this thread. Help. Thank you.
 
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