What is my Oak table Finished with?


6 Dec 2005
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East Lothian
United Kingdom
I have a table that I'd like to freshen up.

It is covered with either a waxy or oil based finish - I'm not sure which. In some places I can see the bare wood where nothing has been applied at all - shoddy. In other places there are some glossy spots where I think whatever has been used has not been worked in evenly.

Is there a one-size-fits-all remover that I could use to get back to the bare wood. Alternatively, how can I decide what the coating is so that I can buy the correct to do the removal. I'd like to sand off some scuff marks, dings and then re-apply some Danish Oil.

Your help would be appreciated.

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If you were re-finishing with varnish i would say remove the finish with stripper then redo but with danish oil the depth of colour is very dependant on how smooth the wood is.

If it has any kind of sheen and you have owned it for more than a year then i would say its probably wax.

The best thing to remove it is liberon wax and polish remover and fine wire wool, or you can use turpentine and sweat! After the wire wool you may need to sand a bit anyway to get around the depth of colour problem i mentioned above but as long as your not trying to darken the colour it should be fine.

Oh and the liberon stuff will remove oil finishes too and you can get it in a flooring place or maybe even B&Q.
as soon as you take sandpaper to the surface, unless you sand it consistently all over (lots of work) an oil finish will look darker on the sanded bits. Best thing is to strip it with paint stripper (nitromors) and wire wool .
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You say "reapply danish oil". Was it originally finished in this? I find this unlikely. The original finish for an old table is likely to be linseed oil, then years of applications of beeswax. If it is a more modern table., it may be finished in shellac, inwhich case meths and wire wool will do it. I wouldn't go anywhere near it with nitromors, or any other methylene chloride stripper.

What about a picture? That would help a lot.

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