Furniture Finishing, Refinishing, & Restoration

Q&A Forum - Walnut Dining Table Top Repair, Need Advice

tuckaseegee - Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:32 pm
Post subject: Walnut Dining Table Top Repair, Need Advice
We just purchased a new walnut dining room table. On the day of delivery, just after the delivery folks left, I damaged the top removing the leaf. After my wife finished beating me with a stick, I convinced her to allow me to try and fix the damage. I'll post pictures before the damage and of what I have done so far.

Table: Solid Walnut extension dining table with lacquer finish. Lacquer appears to have a satin finish.

Damage: An impact to the side of the table top where the leaf fits in, denting the side and lifting a shard of wood from the surface of the top. The damage is about 1-2" long, right along the corner of the table top surface. The shard was still connected to the surface. The finish appeared to have been fractured by the impact.

Actions taken so far: I've used Tite-Bond Molding and Trim glue to glue the shard back down flush with the top. It was glued about 48 hours ago, and clamped down using shims for about 24 hours. This has returned the shard flush with the top. Excess glue was wiped free of the area with a damp cloth prior to clamping.

Next steps: There is still some discoloration around the fracture zone. The finish appears to have been craked here, and this has made it milky white arround the crack. I need to get this area to match the finish of the rest of the table.

I was thinking of trying reamalgamation using lacquer thinner. I don't want to do anything that's irreversible, and would prefer not to refinish the entire top over such a small defect. I'm hopeful that a local repair job will make this look pretty good.

Advice Appreciated. Thanks. Charlie
Paul S - Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:30 pm
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You've done a nice job with the repair Charlie. I think you'll get the best results from a touch-up lacquer that's designed for spot repairs. Normally, I'd recommend Mohawk, but Bob (the moderator) told me that there's a large minimum purchase required. So instead I'll recommend this product - Touch-Up Lacquer.
tuckaseegee - Tue Oct 09, 2007 5:21 pm
Post subject:
Paul S wrote:
You've done a nice job with the repair Charlie. I think you'll get the best results from a touch-up lacquer that's designed for spot repairs. Normally, I'd recommend Mohawk, but Bob (the moderator) told me that there's a large minimum purchase required. So instead I'll recommend this product - Touch-Up Lacquer.
Thanks Paul. I really appreciate the suggestion. How would you recommend prepping the surface and then applying the lacquer?

Should I buff with 0000 steel wool prior to application? Also, is it better to use an aerosol than to apply with a foam brush? Should I just treat the crack area or should I fade the lacquer into the surrounding finish?
Zeeman - Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:25 pm
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Be careful with using steel wool, as it may snag the edge of your repair and lift it. I would carefully use #320 to soften the area and smooth it to level. A new single edged razor blade as a small plane scraping perpendicular to the surface will also help to level. Determine if a wipe of naphtha returns the full color, or spot stain lightly with a q-tip before the lacquer. Aerosol would be better then a foam brush.

tuckaseegee - Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:43 am
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Tim- Good point about the steel wool. I think I'll use fine grit sandpaper instead (320-400). Thanks for the suggestion.

I'm not sure exactly how to apply the lacquer from the aerosol can. Should I try to limit the area the spray covers by placing a piece of wax paper with a whole in it so only the damaged part of the piece receives the lacquer treatment (1.5" x 0.5")? I've read that it's not wise to try and smooth or wipe away excess lacquer with a brush or cloth. Is this true?

Once the lacquer is applied, do I just let it dry or should I buff it somehow after it dries?

My next choice involves picking the right sheen for the lacquer. I think I'll experiment on the bottom of the leaf with several different sheens (i.e. flat, satin) to try and match the existing finish.

Thanks for the great advice. This has been very helpful.
Paul S - Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:28 pm
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Lacquer dries very fast Charlie and is best applied by spraying (aerosol in this case). Don't touch it at all while it's drying. The directions will give you the specifics, but generally you can expect the aerosol lacquer to dry to the touch in minutes.

With this product, you don't need/want to mask off the repair area. It's designed to avoid the problem of overspray halos that are common with spot repairs. Spray very light coats, sweeping the repair spot and using just enough lacquer to make the surface look wet. Let each of these very thin coats dry before applying another. One of the worst things you can do is try to get a lot of lacquer on the surface with just a few thick coats.

Once you've built a film of lacquer over the repair, let it dry overnight. Then you can sand very lightly with 400 grit, IF you need to, to level the spot with surrounding finish. If you do level sand, be careful not to sand too much. Finish up with a final thin coat to blend the repair. Don't rub the spot with anything after it dries or you'll make it shiny.

It's not a bad idea to practice spraying on a piece of plexiglass or some scrap of finished wood just to get a feel for it (if you haven't done much spraying). You'll quickly get an idea of how fast to move and how far off the surface to hold the can to avoid making a puddle. Better to make a mistake on something that doesn't count.

The most common sheens are satin and semi-gloss.
Zeeman - Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:58 pm
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Perfect technique advice from Paul as usual. We know you can repair the shard, so level it, and spray the lacquer coats to build the finish, then you are almost there. Adjust the grain lines or final color with touch up products if needed before a set of 2 final spray coats. Then you can evaluate whether or not to blend the finish by a blender flow-out product or by waiting 10 days and applying a wax finish. Every husband in the universe who has ever created a situation like this is counting on you, but no pressure. . .

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