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Country Discussion Topics
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Wood Water Stain
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Dreamweaver    Posted 08-02-2001 at 15:52:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have an old oak washstand that is a family heirloom. My daughter sat a water glass on it, and now there is an ugly water stain. Does anyone know what I should do to remove it? The washstand is stripped bare, with no polyurethane coating or anything. Also, should I coat it with something for the future?

BB    Posted 08-03-2001 at 10:25:04       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Tung oil is a good finish for wood furniture. It give good color and protection without a glossy finish. Easy to apply. Just brush it on, let it set a few minutes, then hand rub it off.

geo in MI    Posted 08-02-2001 at 20:55:53       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Turn the washstand upside down and look at the wood there. Furniture makers never finished the bottom surface, so you should get a good comparison of how the top wood should really look like if it truly unfinished--which I tend to doubt unless you or somebody in your family stripped it in year's past. If it really is stripped, then clean water(not Coke or Kool-Aid) can only create a stain by dissolving dirt or prior stain finish and driving it into the surface, at which point you will have to clean up the surface--and probably the entire surface at that.

A previous post mentioned some kind of crystals. Probably oxalic acid, which is sometimes used to bleach oak wood to a lighter color. Beware, though, this chemical is quite dangerous to use and you should follow the directions to the letter--goggles, heavy rubber gloves, and all the rest. Afterwards, the stuff recrystallizes, and sanding will cause these crystals to get into your nose and lungs and redissolve, thus bleaching out your respiritory system. My advice would be to use it only at your own risk.........

If the wood has the original finish, it probably is lacquer, which will generally turn white first when water gets on it. Gradually the lacquer will come off and you will have a pale spot there.
The other post about character is my opinion, too. I have my grandmother's old pie safe, which still has the dark rings from the half-gallon jars that she used to set on the top to let them cool after water bath canning. I just varnished over them, rather than trying to remove them.

Varnish, in today's hardware store is most often ureathane or alkyd varnish. Either are pretty tough, as compared to Deft, which is a lacquer based type of finish--won't stand up to moisture.

Hope this helps....

ljjk    Posted 12-29-2002 at 11:31:07       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I placed candlesticks with damp felt bottoms on my circa 1920 mahoghany sideboard leaving a white water stain. Any way to remove the stain without re-finishing the entire surface?

Mike Taylor    Posted 08-03-2001 at 20:32:21       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I use Defthane a lot for items that get lots of use/abuse. DEFT is lacquer based, but DEFTHANE is a polyeurthane and makes a very durable surface. I generally thin it about 30% with paint thinner and brush on about 3 or so coats.

IHank    Posted 08-02-2001 at 18:38:40       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Dream Weaver- Suggest looking at another aspect of what you seem to see as a problem.

You got some kinda family furniture relic. No doubt it's suffered use and abuse over the years. Your dotter's water stain should be looked at it as just part of the overall "character" in the piece.

Lots of that old stuff was "unfinished". Some of it got it's finish from all the common household spills, that got wiped off or scrubbed with dish water a bit.

If it once had a varnish or some such finish and it's been stripped, you can choose between doing the incomplete re-finishing job, or just leave it alone and enjoy it for what it is and as it is.

Wood kept dry and out of the weather, especially stuff that's been sawed, milled, planed, etc. is amazingly durable without any finish. But, like I said, day to day usage of them things often created a natural finish by cooking & eating spills, etc.

Stop and check out "Living History Farms" on the West edge of Des Moines about this topic next time you roar thru my area. They do demos of the old craftsmanship and construction ways there too. IHank

Larry    Posted 08-02-2001 at 18:15:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Hey DW, At the University where I work(Custodian) we had some water stains on a old wooden gym floor. We got them out with some kind of acid. It was a mild acid that came in crystal form,and you can get it at a drug store. I can't remember what it's called(CRS),but if you can wait I'll find out for you tomorrow.

Johnny    Posted 08-02-2001 at 16:50:31       [Reply]  [No Email]
I don't know what will get the water stain out, but wood that is not finished will deteriorate quickly, it just won't last without a finish of some kind on it. Around here there are a few semi-professional furntiure restorers that do a great job, (retired folks that are bored), they charge minimal prices and know what they are doing.

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