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How to Repair an Acetone Stain on Pecan Furniture

Spilling even a few drops of fingernail polish, which is mostly acetone, on any lacquered finish can dissolve it almost immediately. Acetone is colorless, but it may also cause a discoloration. Pecan is a dense hardwood with tight, dense grain. When finished naturally without stain, it has little character. So stain is almost always applied to pecan hardwood to bring out grain patterns. If you've spilled acetone on pecan furniture, chances are that it has dissolved the lacquer and marred its appearance. Repair it using a set of stain markers.

Acetone can dissolve lacquer and stain on contact.

Step 1

Place strips of masking tape around the perimeter of the stained or discolored area.

Step 2

Select a stain marker that matches the color of the existing pecan color on the furniture. Apply it to an area on the furniture -- the bottom of a leg, under the top or anywhere that's not visible -- to test the color. Check the color after the stain is dry. If it doesn't match, try a different marker until you find one that matches.

Step 3

Apply the stain marker to the stained or discolored area marked off by the masking tape. Allow the stain to dry. Check the color. If it's too light, try a darker marker. If it's too dark, saturate the corner of a cloth with acetone and gently rub over the area to lighten it until satisfied. If it becomes too light, use another marker to darken it. Allow the stain to dry. Check the color and repeat this step if necessary.

Step 4

Spray the area with a light coat of aerosol lacquer. Choose medium-gloss, dull-gloss or eggshell, depending on the look of the furniture's finish. Hold the can 8 inches from the surface tilted at 15 degrees. Spray the masked-off area until it's wet, but not dripping or running. Allow the lacquer to dry.

Step 5

Sand the area using a folded piece of 180-grit sandpaper. Brush it off using a dry cloth. Apply another coat of lacquer. Allow the lacquer to dry and remove the tape.

Step 6

Polish the area using a folded piece of denim. This is also known as burnishing. Simply rub the area with authority until the wood becomes slightly warm to the touch. This blends and smooths the lacquer to conceal any differences.

Things You Will Need

  • Masking tape
  • Stain markers
  • Aerosol lacquer
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • Denim

Tip

  • Burnish as much of the furniture as you want to bring out the gloss in the existing lacquer.

Warning

  • Wear safety glasses when working with wood or wood-finishing products.

About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.

Photo Credits

  • Michael Blann/Photodisc/Getty Images