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Thread: Removing dark stains from wood

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Albany Western Australia
    Posts
    268

    Default Removing dark stains from wood

    Not strictly boat related, but people have been known to sew on boats..... I’m re finishing a few sewing machine treadle cabinets, which have the usual assortment of damaged peeling varnish, dings and dark stains, presumably from water seeping through from cups plant pots etc. I scraped back the top on one last night and interestingly one dark stain seems to be more prominent in the morning.... Anyway, there seems to be lots of suggestions for removing dark stains, ranging from toothpaste, mayonnaise (not kidding), olive oil, bleach and Ajax powder to oxalis acid at the more extreme end. What I’m after is to remove the dark stains and perhaps lighten the wood (veneer) a bit before re varnishing. Any simple foolproof methods out there?
    Cheers,
    Adrian

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Viroqua, Wisconsin
    Posts
    488

    Default Re: Removing dark stains from wood

    Simple? Yes.

    Foolproof, maybe not so much. Too many variables.

    Oxalic acid’s common for organic stains in wood. Metal stains (iron mostly but brass & copper will stain given certain conditions) are trickier. Lemon juice / citric acid may help with those.

    Common household bleach can be effective too. And drugstore concentration hydrogen peroxide.

    The crucial element in ‘foolproof’ is testing on a small area first, if possible in as inconspicuous area as you might have.

    Scorching / burned areas will need physical means to remove as much of the carbonized material as best you can.

    That last bit about veneer deserves attention. Veneer’s glued on so use caution when wetting veneer with water-based solutions. It’s too easy to weaken the glue underneath veneer, then the water causes veneer to expand, often breaking the glue bond. Work as small an area as you can before moving to another area, after giving things time to dry out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Albany Western Australia
    Posts
    268

    Default Re: Removing dark stains from wood

    Thanks for responding, I shall try a few techniques on some scrap wood first, but reckon lemon juice or bleach might be a good first option.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    victoria, australia. (1 address now)
    Posts
    66,174

    Default Re: Removing dark stains from wood

    A method for dealing with coffee stained leather on bookbindings is add more coffee……………….

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Deepest Darkest Wales
    Posts
    23,728

    Default Re: Removing dark stains from wood

    All depends on the nature of the individual stain - most of the suggestions above will work for some stains in some circumstances.

    One particular horror is the stain which isn't a stain - a darker patch caused by the sun bleaching of the surrounding timber - this gives you the choice of lightening to match (oxalic acid) or darkening the rest to return to original with whatever pigment.... Long term matching is difficult.

    SWMBO's comment was - "PAINT".
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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