How to repair water marks on pianos or furniture?
Here are a few helpful steps for dealing with white rings commonly caused by wet glasses or spills on lacquer, shellac, or varnish finishes. Analyze Damage: The extent of damage can be estimated by analyzing the color of the rings. White Ring: Generally a temporary condition. If the finish is in good enough condition this mark can be removed without stripping. Yellow Ring: Indicates more serious damage resulting from prolonged water contact. These occur often on older, brittle, or deteriorated finishes. Although more difficult, some are repairable with simple measures as the moisture has not yet penetrated the wood itself. Black/Gray Rings: Occur when the moisture has penetrated through to the wood itself. Refinishing, bleaching, and sanding are usually needed here.
General rule of thumb is to use the gentlest means possible and progress from there.
STEP ONE: Would be to do nothing. Many times a ring will repair and dry out itself, so give it ample time. Next, try putting the damaged piece in direct sunlight or use quick passes with an electric hair dryer to speed up the process.
STEP TWO: Moisten a soft cotton cloth with mineral spirits or naphtha lightly wiping the area. If this has no affect try denatured alcohol next. Be sure to test on an inconspicuous place first as the alcohol will remove shellac.
STEP THREE: If the stain persists, it’s time to try rubbing with mineral oil and rottenstone or baking soda as an abrasive. Be careful not to rub through the finish. If the spot disappears, you’ll probably need to rub the sheen back with 0000 steel wool and Cory Satin-Rub and re-wax the area to blend.
STEP FOUR: If there’s still no progress you’ll probably have to strip. Mask off the undamaged areas at the joinery breaks and strip the finish just in the spotted area. Try to keep the stain or patina in tact if you can and avoid sanding as this will require staining. Care should be taken with antiques as the stain is often viewed as character defining or a true indication of age.
BEFORE YOU STRIP….
1) Be patient….the problem may resolve itself.
2) Try drying the spot in direct sunlight or with a blow dryer.
3) Still there? Wipe the blush spot with some solvent.
4) Didn’t work? Move on to rubbing out the finish.
5) Still see your spot? Strip the damaged section only.
6) Sorry, you are out of options. Strip the entire piece.