Reviewed February 2018

Is there a way to repair/refinish just a small area?

How to Repair Nail Polish Acetone Damage on a Wooden Table

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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How to Repair Nail Polish Acetone Damage on a Wooden Table

My daughter dripped a few small spots of acetone nail polish remover on our dining room table and it ate away the finish. The damage is only in about a two-inch by two-inch area, but it is very noticeable on the dark cherry finish. Does anyone know how to fix/refinish just these small spots cheaply? I really do not want to have to refinish the entire table, and it is not even in a place that I can hide with place mats or anything like that. Thank you.

Cheap and Easy Fix

At the hardware store, they sell as small pen that covers blemishes on wood furniture. They come in various stains. It's a cheap and easy fix.

Try This Dollar Store Solution

I have used the crayons for furniture from a dollar store on different things. There are about four in the package and have very good results with them. Match the crayon to the furniture. The finish really seems to last.

Try Scratch Cover Furniture Polish

My coffee table was gouged right down the center and scratched in several areas during a move. I bought a color-matched liquid furniture "crayon" and colored in the spot. It is barely noticeable now. You can also try a regular crayon that matches and then wax the spot. Although it must be reapplied from time to time, I also find that "scratch cover" furniture polish works well. If the acetone damage is near the center, you might also consider a centerpiece or table runner to cover it.
Barbara in SC

It Depends on the Finish

What you use to spot refinish will depend on the type of finish used. Find an inconspicuous spot on the underside of the edge and use a cotton swab to swab it lightly with denatured alcohol, gas dryer, or fuel injector cleaner. If the finish dissolves, it's shellac. Shellac finishes can be patched by reamalgamation. Take a lint-free cloth and fold it into a pad. Moisten it with your dissolving liquid and buff the stripped area and the area around it to bring some of the surrounding finish into the stripped area, but be careful not to strip the surrounding area.

If the finish is not shellac, it may be varnish, polyurethane, or acrylic. Varnish is common on expensive older furniture; acrylic is used on high-gloss modern furniture. With poly or acrylic, use fine sandpaper to feather out the edges of the stripped area. Remove the sawdust with a lint-free cloth moistened with paint thinner. Once dry, you can paint on a thin coat of finish with a fine-bristled brush.

Varnish finishes should be left to a professional. Fine furniture stores may have a repairer on staff or know an independent.

Reviewed February 2018

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