Recently I put a cup that had a bit of peppermint oil on the bottom of it on my table. It must have dissolved and adhered the finish because the cup was firmly stuck to the table. After removing it, there's a ring in the finish. It's textured and it looks like at least some of the finish material is gone now.

I don't know what type of finish was used on this table, unfortunately. If I had to guess I'd say it was polyurethane. I'm wondering whether I have any options to fix / improve the ring short of fully refinishing the table. The table is in very good shape aside from this damage.

Table ring

  • 1
    What an unfortunate accident! "If I had to guess..." best not to guess, but do some rule in/rule out tests to try to determine the finish (at least narrow the options). This is most important if for example the finish is lacquer, since lacquer is easily repairable just as shellac is since new stuff can bond to old stuff as the solvent melds the two layers. You'll find guidance on how to determine the previous finish here, as well as in many places online and in a few finishing books.
    – Graphus
    Dec 26, 2020 at 9:56
  • As you probably already know, you'll find many mentions of the irrepairability of poly online, but this is exaggerated somewhat. So a complete refinish is not 100% the only option if that's what it turns out to be, but, it will be tougher (maybe impossible) to make a seamless repair. So, how important is it that the repair is invisible or nearly so? And what finishes do you have on hand currently?
    – Graphus
    Dec 26, 2020 at 10:03
  • Generally if you do want the table to look pristine you will need to refinish, but this isn't as bad as it sounds since it's just the top you'll be doing (and if you're careful, just the top of the top as it is possible to sucessfully protect the edges with tape through the whole process).
    – Graphus
    Dec 26, 2020 at 10:04
  • Thanks for the response! I have poly and tung oil on hand currently, but am certainly willing to look into matching finish. I might be able to determine the exact finish from the previous owners of the house (we got the table from them when we purchased). I've done some work with finishing furniture previously, but it's been years and my skill level is pretty limited.
    – mwigdahl
    Dec 26, 2020 at 14:11
  • Ok first step is to clean the area thoroughly, probably best done using a solvent. An alcohol might do it, but I think mineral spirits would work best. Wipe at least twice. When dry, lightly sand the area with med/fine paper (worn 250 to maybe 400 at finest). Wipe/brush all dust away then try puddling some poly on the damage and seeing how that looks when wet. If the appearnace is restored I'd feel confident I could continue, if not then I'd wipe it away with more MS and paper towels and then consider a refinish to the top.
    – Graphus
    Dec 27, 2020 at 1:04


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