Wednesday 11 July 2018
Accidents happen, and this lovely table was, unfortunately, scratched quite badly. What to do? The table was originally finished with four coats of Danish oil, so there was no option but to clear off the old finish and reapply a new one.
Here you can see the scratches were too deep to be polished out
The first job was to remove the top for easier working. Luckily the top was held on with wooden buttons, so it was simply a case of unscrewing them and removing the tabletop so it could be clamped securely ready for the next process
Removing old finish, especially in a table with inlay such as here, requires care. Rather than sanding, I chose to use a cabinet scraper. This cuts away the finish without spreading dust from the dark inlay into the surrounding lighter timber, here American cherry. Plus sanding off the finish would involve lots of clogged up abrasive
After the old finish was scraped off, I gave the tabletop a quick blast with 600grit on a random orbital sander, being careful to not go over the inlay, sanding by hand where needed, ensuring no trace of damage is left
When satisfied with the sanding/scraping, apply your first coat of Danish oil. Brush on, leave for 10 minutes, then with a lint-free cloth, wipe off any excess
When the first coat has gone off, de-nib it with a very fine grade abrasive, and reapply successive coats. Note – if using a stearate lubricated abrasive, wipe off with a damp cloth afterwards, as any particles left behind may react with the oil finish
After four coats of oil, with a de-nibbing in between, you can begin to build up a beautiful lustre on your tabletop. One thing to be aware of is that because of oxidation of the finish and timber, the re-finished top will be a little lighter than the old finish, but this should darken down with time You can see the scratch has been completely removed. To get an even shinier lustre on the top, why not rub on and polish off a hardening wax, such as a mixture of bees and carnuba wax. Job done!
Accidents happen, and this lovely table was, unfortunately, scratched quite badly. What to do? The table was originally finished with four coats of Danish oil, so there was no option but to clear off the old finish and reapply a new one…