What kind of finish is this?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by Daysailor posted 08-24-2019 01:04 AM 282 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Daysailor's profile


2 posts in 31 days

08-24-2019 01:04 AM

I have a beautiful commercially made walnut desk that I bought used. However the clear finish is rather soft and appears to be water soluble. For instance, when wet, it gets rather sticky, and a wet cloth will stick to the surface after it drys. It almost seems like I can wipe the finish of with a wet rag! Anyone have an idea what kind of finish this might be? i think I would like to remove it and refinish with something more durable.

5 replies so far

View Rich's profile


4848 posts in 1073 days

#1 posted 08-24-2019 02:45 AM

That’s not right. Even waterborne finishes cure resistant to water. I have no idea what might be on your table. Maybe someone else has an idea.

-- There's no such thing as a careless electrician

View Aj2's profile


2432 posts in 2282 days

#2 posted 08-24-2019 02:47 AM

I don’t see why anyone here would intentionally use or admit they are using something that bad.
It could be someone cleaned your piece before you bought with a harsh cleaner that softened the finish.
Ammonia based cleaners will do that to some poly urethane finishes.
Ever go out to a new cafe and put your elbows down on a sticky table?
I can’t think of any reason why you shouldn’t refinish it.
Good Luck

-- Aj

View TungOil's profile


1319 posts in 979 days

#3 posted 08-24-2019 11:40 AM

Was it a used piece of furniture? What you are describing sounds a lot like what happens when too much wax based furniture polish is used (Pledge, etc.).

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Lazyman's profile


3883 posts in 1871 days

#4 posted 08-24-2019 12:03 PM

Off the top of my head, I would assume that a spray furniture polish or dusting spray has been used on it. These are terrible and should not be used. The buildup of these can cause all sorts of problem down the road. I think some of them may even have silicone in them.

Relatively close up pictures and some more info might help. Does it look like it has film finish on the surface or more like natural wood like a tung oil finish? Does it feel sort of tacky even after it is dry? Is it just to top surface or do all surfaces do this. On a less prominent area, I would first try dampening a cloth with some mineral spirits and see what it removes and if that improves it.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Daysailor's profile


2 posts in 31 days

#5 posted 08-25-2019 03:15 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions! I think I will go ahead and remove the soft finish and refinish it with a water based poly.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics