Can I repair this darkened/burned spot or is a full refinish required?

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Forum topic by CapeVerde posted 05-01-2019 01:23 PM 692 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View CapeVerde's profile


1 post in 1114 days

05-01-2019 01:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table burn damage heat refinish refinishing repair finishing varnish sander question

Light colored kitchen table has a circular dark area approx 8” across caused by direct heat (pan). By the feel of it, some of the finish was burned off—not as glossy there anymore.

I’ve done only a bit of woodworking/finishing, treat me as a beginner: Is this something that could be sanded and spot recoated with varnish, or repaired some other way, or am I looking at a complete refinish? It looks like the varnish is clear, or a light yellow. Not sure if that could be matched if just the spot were sanded out.

Thanks for your help.

3 replies so far

View ArtMann's profile


1483 posts in 2270 days

#1 posted 05-01-2019 02:30 PM

You may be able to help the appearance a little, depending on what the finish is, but I have my doubts that you will be able to remove the spot. If it were my table, I would plan on refinishing the top if it really bothered me.

View bilyo's profile


1545 posts in 2556 days

#2 posted 05-02-2019 02:14 PM

You say you are essentially a beginner. OK. I’ll put this out there just in case you would like to try it as a learning experience. You can always strip it and start from scratch if it doesn’t work out.
Sand the whole surface with 220 grit. Be very careful you don’t sand through the finish and especially be careful at edges.
With an air brush, spray a couple of coats of clear finish over just the burned spot. When dry, sand it smooth.
Experiment with the remainder of your clear finish by adding Transtint (or similar) dye to it so that after 3 coats it is the same color as the dark spot. Use this to spray the rest of the table being careful to blend into the dark spot without covering it.
Sand smooth with 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper and water. Apply paste wax and buff.
Good luck. Let us know how it works out.

View therealSteveN's profile


9985 posts in 2028 days

#3 posted 05-02-2019 03:12 PM

Long story short is, the only way you’ll get the table uniform is to refinish the entire top. Doing that can be a dog and pony show, frought with potential for problems if the veneer is thin, sanding through being the largest of the problems.

So essentially you don’t have a lot to lose by trying a few things.

Is it Ok to put something wet on this top? Or does the simple presence of water cause issues? Not a flood, just damp wet.

If water is ok, damp a rag, and clean off the top where it is discolored. Then lay a towel, shop rag, whatever. White and clean are the criteria. Put the towel over the damp spot. Take an iron, with a steam setting. Place it over the towel, which is over the stain. Move the iron over the towel, and gently heat it. Take a look? Is it better?

If not, place a bit more water on the top to re-moisten it, place the towel back over it, and re-apply the iron, this time giving it a few shots of steam as you move it around.

Better now? If yes, quit, let it sit a few days. Still better, if yes good to go. If not quite right it can be re-done.

If it is good to go, the finish is probably a Shellac, great finish in general, but not quite “sturdy” enough for a kitchen table. You may want to refinish the top with something harder like Poly, it would give it a lot more protection. But for placing HOT items on wood, it’s best to use a trivet type deal, something with feet so the HOT is away from the wood a bit. Using a hot pad, a lot of heat carries right through it, and a Shellacked finish will discolor either whitish, or darker like yours is.

The other fixes for stains on most anything is rub either peanut butter, toothpaste, or Mayonnaise on them. I still have no clue what happens, but it often works, and if it were my table I’d go there first. None of them are likely to add any harm.

-- Think safe, be safe

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