Vintage blonde wood table disaster

Old 11-06-05, 12:41 PM
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Vintage blonde wood table disaster

My oh-so helpfull kitties knocked over a vase that had pink colored water in it onto one leaf of my beautiful, vintage, up-until-then-pristine, 1950's blonde wood dining table. I cleaned up the mess as good as I could with commercial cleaners (got out most of the red dye). However, I think it may've done more damage than good. There are still some small dyed pink areas, and now the majority of the previously stained area is bleached much lighter than the rest of the table. Also I noticed what I believe to be the finish missing in the bleached areas, and cracked, bumpy, and peeling around the bleached areas (it looks almost like brittle celophane, is clear-to-cloudy, and is flaking off in thin strips that follow the grain of the wood.) I put a liberal amount of furniture oil over the area and let it sit for a few moments before (carefully) wiping it off in an attempt to stop any further damage (this didn't seem to do much at all). Having been purchased in an antique shop, I have no idea what the wood is made of, or if is solid wood or vaneer-over-plywood (considering the age, I would guess the latter).
So now what, if anything, can I do to fix it? I am really worried about making it worse. My husband lost his job recently, so I cannot afford to take it to a professional - and I would like to fix this before the holidays so I can entertain. Help!
Old 11-06-05, 06:11 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Taylors, SC
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It appears that the finish had failed in those places you described. It would be appropriate to strip and refinish the table if it has been ruined with these stains. If the piece has conspicuous value due to its age and origin, stripping will make it simply another old table. Not that an old table is not good, but any special value will be removed along with the finish.

It may be possible to remove the water-borne stains from the wood with oxalic acid. This will bleach the wood, possibly removing the stains. It will not restore the finish that had failed. Old furniture with failed finishes require special protection from spills and other such insults. A new finish on an old piece can allow it to be pressed into daily service.

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