Hot Topics: Did I Ruin This Finish?

An oak veneer sanded off the surface of a table.

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Some DIY projects are inspired by other DIY projects the kids started. If your little ones accidently reinvent paint stripper, you’re going to have to refinish the table. But what happens when you discover the oak table isn’t really oak? The Forum can help you get to the bottom of it.

Original Post: Sanding Dining Table

hankins27 Member

My dining room table met up with a kids’ science experiment and now I need to re-stain the table. I want it to match the previous color, so I started sanding the leaf insert so that I can test stains on it to find one that matches.

So here is my question, in sanding the leaf insert, the direction of the wood is different under the stain that what was on top. You can see in the picture what I mean.

I thought this was a solid piece of oak, but did I sand off a layer of veneer or something? Have I made a horrible mistake?

Thanks for your help!

Highlights from the Thread

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

It looks like you sanded thru a very thin veneer. What exactly did the kids do? There might be another way to salvage the top.

hankins27 Member

Thanks for the reply. They made a homemade form of modeling clay (playdoh) and I don't know what ingredients they used but it was left on the table and it took the paint right off.

I've attached a picture of the damaged area.

Hot Topics, Did I Ruin This Finish

XSleeper Member

It amazes me that your kids were playing with something that caustic with their bare hands! That's amazing.

The clay did such a good job of stripping the table I think I'd get more of it and strip the whole table with it. LOL. Once the finish is off you would lightly sand it. What kind of sander and grit were you using, anyway?

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

I don't know much about playdough but I think I'd try scrubbing it with paint thinner and see what it does. I'd start with mineral spirits or naptha and progress to a hotter thinner like lacquer thinner if it needs something stronger.

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