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8 Spot Treatments for Wooden Barstools

We all experience spills and oily food-related accidents, especially if a few beers are involved.  Believe it or not, your wooden barstools can become victims of these spills.  Oil can actually stain finished wood, and even plain water can seep beneath your barstools’ finish and create black spots.  Although the best medicine is prevention, there are many simple tricks you can use to repair everyday damage that can compromise the appearance of your barstools.  After all, your bar is the entertainment hub of your home, so make sure your barstools are spotless and beautiful for your guests.

  • Water and alcohol spills.  Sometimes even these common liquids can create white spots on wooden furniture.  Lift these “watermarks” with common liquid polish.  Make sure your furniture polish is made for the correct shade.  Afterwards, buff away the stains.
  • If traditional furniture polish doesn’t do the trick, go for something a little heavier.  Denatured alcohol is a stronger solution, but be careful that you don’t take off too thick a layer of the finish or you will create a bare spot!  If you accidentally remove too much, you might have to strip the finish from that entire section or piece of the barstool, i.e. the whole seat or rung, then refinish.
  • If your barstool has spots or other damage over a large area but it’s not severe enough to warrant a total refinishing, simply use a steel wool briquette to buff away the surface stains.  Dip this into denatured alcohol that has been diluted (don’t forget to wear gloves), and use it all over the affected area.
  • Protect the repaired area with a coat or two of hard-shell furniture wax.  This will help disguise the fact that you “doctored” this area.
  • Rub down the entire barstool with one final coat of furniture wax.  This will also contribute to a sense of uniformity.  It should be nearly impossible to tell that you buffed away any of the outer finish.
  • To correct art projects gone wrong, or even paint transfer from a handyman’s clothing, use a soft cloth to gently rub mineral spirits into the damaged area.  Be sure you are rubbing with the grain of the wood, not against it.  This treatment will also remove ink stains that won’t come out with milder abrasives.
  • Dried paint and used chewing gum should be pried free with a butter knife.  Do not scrape!  Scraping will harm the integrity of your barstool’s surface and create a bigger problem.  If the paint or gum leaves a greasy spot in its wake, gently buff the area with furniture polish and wax over it to seal.
  • Take your project outdoors, or make sure you are working in a well-ventilated part of the house.  Furniture polish is mild enough, but denatured alcohol, mineral spirits, and products used to finish wooden surfaces give off lots of harmful and smelly fumes.  In addition to keeping you and your family safe, you want to keep these overwhelming odors out of your living space.

This article was published on Tuesday 21 September, 2010.
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