Gloat, Complaint, Question, and Advice in one Topic!!!

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Forum topic by interpim posted 12-23-2009 09:43 PM 1393 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1170 posts in 3936 days

12-23-2009 09:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

This is one topic, but I have several things to say about it.

My 8 year old son has excellent hand writing… that’s the gloat.

The complaint is, he decided that he would practice his penmanship on my bar height dining room table with a set of keys. So his name is perfectly legible in a couple spots on the table.

My question is, what type of finish should I use after I sand it down to bare wood. I need something that is going to be durable and last for a while (at least until my 3 year old starts learning to write)

And the advice is, should I make my 8 year old sand this table down to bare wood himself? I have already made it crystal clear that if he attempts to carve anything into any object again the next 10 years of his life will be spent in his bedroom.

-- San Diego, CA

19 replies so far

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3862 days

#1 posted 12-23-2009 09:59 PM

I say you’re doing well there since my 9YO has sloppy handwriting. I would get him involved in some woodworking. I don’t want my son handling a lot of sharp tools, but I do let him use the scroll saw. He scrolled his name out of some 1/4 ply, which is much better than carving it in a table. He uses my mini-dremel with a drill bit to drill the holes to put the blade through when needed. For the finish, you could use poly, but if you have a daughter, and she spills nail polish remover on it and lets it sit awhile without telling anyone, it will strip it down to bare wood. Trust me on this.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View a1Jim's profile


117708 posts in 4055 days

#2 posted 12-23-2009 10:16 PM

I say turn it into a positive thing and have your son at least be present when working on the repair and if helps with some of the sanding It will hell him understand how hard it is to repair things. All said an done make you shop time together a fun thing. These things happen with lots of kids.

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3673 days

#3 posted 12-23-2009 10:17 PM

Sounds like you have a woodworker in the making.

Give him a set of keys and a bare piece of wood to for future “writing” practice. That will keep his carving and woodworking interest up. However, I would first make him sand down the table for some sanding experience as well. Who knows, maybe he’ll enjoy sanding more than his carving and you’ll get some refinished floors out of it as well ;)

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 3622 days

#4 posted 12-23-2009 11:48 PM

Built up Poly for the most durable finish, stain below to your favorite tone.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4300 days

#5 posted 12-23-2009 11:55 PM

Actually, while it is an annoyance now, in a few years this will be a family keepsake if you do not sand it down. I guess “signing his work” just reflects his artistic abilities.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View bluchz's profile


187 posts in 3851 days

#6 posted 12-24-2009 12:24 AM

Hey really this isn’t so bad i have to re sheet-rock a bedroom because it will be easier than trying to get the crayon and marker off the walls in my sons bedroom. He went on a crayon marker rampage one week and i think i will have to replace 3 walls. The good news is i did them myself to begin with so all my mistakes will be removed. the bad news is he can’t afford for someone to redo it- and neither can I. Then he invited a friends kids to write on the walls, she flipped and offered to help repaint not realizing that the damage was already done. that was a hoot!

-- flash=250,100][/flash]

View sras's profile


5155 posts in 3607 days

#7 posted 12-24-2009 12:31 AM

I don’t know anything about your table. Does it have a veneer layer on top?

If so, sanding can be very difficult. Pretty easy to sand through the veneer. Might need to use a finish remover and then a LIGHT sanding over the “carving”. Might need to use a filler.

If solid, it could make for a really good father/son project where he could learn how much effort it takes to create a nice surface.

Finally, Scott has a point. I remember a similar situation when I was a similar age. My dad said the damage was going to stay. It could serve as a reminder to me to take care of things…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View End_Grain's profile


95 posts in 3615 days

#8 posted 12-24-2009 01:14 AM

You see I have the exact opposite problem. After 26 years of kids (4) with the same solid oak kitchen table which is in sore need of a sanding and refinish, I’m trying to figure out how not erase those carvings. LOL. Like you I was furious when I found them but now that they are adults and on their own, when I find them, I smile. Our carvings are small and shallow and you have to know exactly where they are to find them.

-- My greatest fear is that when I die, my wife will sell all my stuff for what I told her I bought it for.

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3803 days

#9 posted 12-24-2009 01:59 AM

I agree with Scott and End_Grain. I don’t know what it looks like… but this is probably something you will want to keep in later years and smile at and tell family stories.

I understand it will be hard just to let it go – he needs to know he cannot destroy property randomly. Get him a wood burning set for xmas if you don’t want him with sharp tools. I had one when I was 9/10. I spent hours burning stuff into pieces of wood. I loved it.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11757 posts in 3906 days

#10 posted 12-24-2009 05:26 PM

In Jr. Hi, I carved my initials in a desk. Had to sand down 6 more after school as punishment. Probably my first taste of woodworking.
Many years later, got a contract from another school to refinish several classrooms of oak desks. What goes around, comes around, I guess.
I think, I’d have my 8 yr. old do some hand sanding.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 4211 days

#11 posted 12-25-2009 05:12 AM

I’ve heard that if you squeeze 8-year-olds real hard, you can extract an oil that creates a very nice finish, kind of like squeezing peanut oil. You may have to use a press and some cauls but with enough pressure it should run freely. The oil leaves the wood a very deep, vibrant reddish brown and really brings out the grain, while providing a long-lasting topcoat at the same time. It’s called Oil of Kid and is rather rare so you will have to prepare it by hand, yourself.

Good Luck.


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View CharlesNeil's profile


2496 posts in 4348 days

#12 posted 12-25-2009 09:35 PM

this calls for a story , On Saturday morning a guy was out washing his new car , he came around the side and noticed his son had a stone and was writing on the side of his new car , he was furious , he started beating the sons hand, what he didnt realize was he had a wrench in his hand , they had to take the young boy to the ER , he lost two of his fingers , with tears in his eyes , as they left the hospital, he asked his dad , ” daddy how long before my fingers grow back”, the man was just devistated , when they got home , he looked at the car , the son had wrote ” i love you daddy”, the man took his life that night…. leave the scratches , you will be glad you did

View Hacksaw007's profile


619 posts in 3667 days

#13 posted 12-25-2009 09:59 PM

I wish I had my son’s name carved into my table top. He passed away 5 years ago, and was my shop buddy. I agree with those who said, leave it alone. Beleive me some day you will want to see that name in the top, when he has moved on and out of the house. Think about it. Life is too short, too fraigle, and too hard to make it any harder, or complicated. Get lemons? Make lemonade! Got a carved table, make it an heirloom? That is what I would do.

-- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 4387 days

#14 posted 12-25-2009 10:49 PM

My vote is to leave them. BUT, he has to learn the lesson that it’s not a good thing to be doing. Your call on how that is administered. Good luck and make sure you give him a hug tonight.


-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View woodsmithshop's profile


1385 posts in 4023 days

#15 posted 12-25-2009 11:13 PM

I built our dining room table from maple, used poly on it to finish, sometime later while sitting at the table, I noticed some hand writing all over one end, my daughter had done her homework on the table without using a pad under the paper, leaving her homework embedded in the table top, I was going to refinish it, but the wife said no, the table is in my daughters dining room now, still not refinished, she makes sure her kids use a pad under the paper though when they do their homework.

-- Smitty!!!

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