I didn't make this piece but I believe it has poly on it . It's my son's desk. Where his arms rest on the top it seems to have softened the finish, and it's now sticky. Washed it with murphy's and then I washed it with mineral spirits with mimimum improvement. How can I repair the finish?

  • Pics would help a bit but this is a little broad for here, we need a distinct Question, not a general call for advice. But if this is a commercial piece the two most likely finishes are polyurethane (not the stuff we buy in the big-box stores but a two-pack product that is way tougher) and spray lacquer. If it's done in lacquer this can unfortunately be any of a range of dissimilar products, some of which aren't that resilient, and I suspect that's the likely culprit here. – Graphus Aug 2 at 13:26
  • Sorry I didn't proof read this . It's a desk , made from reclaimed wood. It is reportedly got minwax polyurathane on it. Unsure of water based or solvent based . Pictures would be of no help, it appears fine. I want to restore the finish. – Mac Aug 2 at 21:34
  • As I say the Question could do with being revised so there's a distinct query and not a general call for advice, but my 2c is the top should probably be refinished. It's generally the only sure way around this sort of issue (if you have paste wax or a wax furniture polish in a spraycan try it, no guarantees it'll work but can't hurt if you already have some in the house). Re. stripping, it's a messy job that always takes more time than expected but is the best way to get finish off in most cases. – Graphus Aug 3 at 14:23
  • 2
    I changed deck to desk to match your comment. A picture certainly would've helped us understand that difference. I also changed your general call for thoughts to an actual question. Please edit if I've somehow deviated from your intention. – Caleb Aug 4 at 20:37

How can I repair the finish?

You probably can't fix the problem short of stripping the old finish and refinishing with something else. That doesn't mean you have to refinish the entire desk, however. With a desk or table it's often not hard to mask off the rest of the piece and refinish just the top. You may even be able to remove the top from the base so that you can work on it without worrying about spilling or dripping stripper, stain, or finish onto the base.

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