Trying to determine cause of paint damage

TerryVal

New member
I "inherited" a tea cart from my grandfather when he passed, which my uncle insisted was/is solid wood but may or may not be. It came with several dark rings/marks which appear to be coffee stains (very likely as my grandfather was an avid black coffee-drinker) or perhaps burns(?). I liked the brush-marky, olive paint/finish on the piece and was hoping to simply remove the stains rather than refinish it, but could not find any information on how to do so (as researching "stain on veneer" and the like only yielded websites on how to, well, stain veneer...go figure). Going with the educated guess that they were from coffee, and knowing that coffee is acidic I decided to make a baking soda paste and rub it in. The paste began turning brown (and the paint was still intact then) so it seemed it was working, but not very quickly, so I decided to let the paste sit overnight. The pic shows the result - not only the stubborn stain (whatever it is) but also dissolved(?) paint. From what I've read baking soda is not an effective paint stripper so I don't know how this happened. I can't even tell if the solid green blobs are covering the streaky finish or have replaced it.

So...is this salvageable, or do I now have to sand/refinish/repaint it? As the alternative to removing the stain would have been to refinish it anyway, I'm not too heartbroken, just confused. It's not an antique...it was purchased to accompany a 1970s-80s dining room set and as I said, may just be veneer over mdf. Has anyone seen this kind of thing happen before? Cart stain.jpg
 

Marty

New member
Terry, IMHO it appears to be a veneer that got too hot from something in a cup, dish or bowl. I don't think you can get it out. I think you will need to attempt to refinish the top. I had a similar piece and I went straight to veneering the top. Woodcraft or Rockler both sell veneers that you could go right over the top. I found a craigslist veneer piece that luckily was just big enough. I watch a couple of Youtube videos on veneering and I was amazed how well it turned out. My daughter uses it as a nightstand. It was a maple veneer and I stained it dark. If in fact the top is solid wood refinishing would be the ticket. Look underneath the top to see what it might be.
Good Luck

Marty
 

TerryVal

New member
Thanks, Marty...I did read that baking soda, while not effective at stripping paint, can still damage a topcoat; so this may be the reason for the additional damage. But bonestly I don't think it's worth re-veneering so I'll probably just sand it a bit and paint it. As I said I do like the color (I'm a sucker for greens, apparently) but it's probably a bit dated and doesn't necessarily go with the look of our DR anyway. I don't know if there are any unfinished surfaces that could clue me in to what it's made of but I'll check it over. If it is solid wood the finish is too opaque to discern any type of grain.
 

Marty

New member
you are on the right track. not high quality or doesn't fit your decor. painting is the best option.

Marty
 
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