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Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/Dining Room Furniture Refurbish


QUESTION: Eileen, Hope you are well. You have helped me numerous times in the past and so I wanted to double-check with you on a couple things.I am finally getting around to refurbishing my dining room furniture - nothing like the looming holidays to end the procrastination. I am planning to wipe on stain and also use wipe on poly.

1. Over an hour ago, I cleaned the hutch with mineral spirits and a rag.  Pretty immediately it became whitish and hazing in several places and hasn't gone away. Im working indoors - about 75 degrees and 43% humidity.  What's going on and what should I do? Will it resolve on its own?   

2. I have a few places where the veneer is missing so showing bare wood and also some spots near those areas is loose and/or splintery.  Fortunately the places are on the sides and aren't too noticable.  I am planning to glue the loose veneer down?? and use stain to color the bare wood near it and call it good enough.  Does that seem okay to you.  If so, any tips for the glueing??

3.  I am nervous about the table top.  Any flaws will be so noticeable.  I am planning to wipe on stain and use wipe on poly as I am doing on the rest of the furniture. Some online say using spray poly etc. is better for the top.  What are your tips for a flawless table top.  Also how many coats of poly on table top and other furniture?

As always, many thanks for your help!! Laure

ANSWER: Hi Laure
Nice to hear from you again.
Your temperature and humidity seem OK so its not that causing this whitish haze.
The only other thing I can think of is a heavy build up of old wax in those areas.
Try using fine steel wool dipped in the spirits in these areas.
That should remove the haze just fine.

Your repair for the loose veneer sounds fine. But as with any gluing job the clamping or getting pressure on the damaged areas while the glue dries is vital.
The damaged areas are likely close to the bottom on the sides and these spots are easier to clamp.
Did I explain to you about clamping boards?
Its this..get a flat piece of wood that is larger than the glued area, after you put the glue on, wipe back any "squeezed out" glue, apply a piece of waxed paper over the area, then the flat board, then the clamps. The paper is to keep the board from sticking. Now the paper will stick LOL, but its easier to get off with a bit of spirit and steel wool.

You will find that the areas that are missing the veneer pieces will not absorb stain. Thats because the old glue has absorbed into the wood and now the stain won't.
You could try some dark gel stain applied with a brush and kind of feathered into the area.
Or a bit of brown craft paint will do the same. Its "just fool the eye".

Table tops make me nervous too (especially if I'm doing it for someone else LOL).
Personally I would not use wipe on poly but if you are determined to use it, make sure you use a link free rag to apply. The temp and humidity you mention are ideal for applying this.
You must create a good surface for the poly to stick to. I call this a "tooth".
You do not need to use sandpaper. Just your spirit and steel wool (not a rag).
Dip the wool in the spirit and working with the grain, give the top a real good scrub.
Wipe with clean rags as to go. I like to use a tack cloth to give a final wipe down on the top..
And remember that all the stain does is hopefully cover any areas that are scratched down to bare wood. Yes, we wipe the entire top down with stain (pretty dumb to just try and cover numerous scratches one at a time LOL), but this cannot be described as staining a piece of furniture because the piece retains the old finish (don't want to lead anyone astray).
And never never try to hide scratches on pine wood using stain. It will just highlight them.
All pine needs is the finish. No stain.
So I'm starting to ramble (its an age thing) LOL.
Good luck and get back if needed

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank u for encouragement -  I've gotten some of the haze off but there is more dirt to come off.  
I'm open for suggestions so if not use wipeon poly then what would I do? Would this be for all the furniture or just the tabletop?  Thanks Laure

Hi again Laure
The poly is strictly for table tops that will get lots of use.
I would never put it on old furniture. Just high use table tops.
Personally I use Minwax fast drying oil based poly in a satin finish.
It has a lovely mellow look that suits old furniture.
But if you feel your brushing skills are not great, stick to the wipe on.
Good Luck

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Eileen Cronk


Hi..I can answer most questions about the repairing,stripping and refinishing of all your old furniture and wood items(the things we call antiques)I can give advice about what to buy/avoid at auctions/flea markets. I do not give appraisals on antiques.


I have been refinishing antiques for the past 30yrs. While I have taken several courses over the years,I have found that "hands on" learning is the best teacher. Perhaps I can help you avoid some of the mistakes I made while learning.

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