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Question: Water Stain in Wood

Question: Water Stain in Wood
By Woodworkers' Journal

Q. Water Stain in Wood: "My friend and I were talking about getting a water stain out of a table he is refinishing. He told me he sanded the finish down to the bare wood, but could [still] see the stain. Could anyone tell me how to get it out?"

A. (Michael Dresdner) "Probably not. That's because water stains don't always come out. Sometimes they do. First, try washing the wood with a six percent solution of oxalic acid in water (one tablespoon oxalic acid powder per cup of warm water). If the stain is due to metal in the water, that may take it out. If it does, it will do so without changing the original wood color. Wash the entire piece — not just the stained area — and let it dry overnight. In the morning, wash off the salt residue with clear water. Sadly, this rarely works. What does work more often is to bleach the wood itself with two-part wood bleach. That often removes water stains, but also removes all the color from the wood itself, leaving you with pale wood and a need to restain. Read the directions on the two-bottle package, and wear proper safety gear. Wood bleach is nasty stuff."

(c) 2002, Woodworkers Journal. All Rights Reserved.