As some of you may have seen, I’m working on refinishing a dresser. I’ve gotten the paint and original finish stripped off, all of the big, flat surfaces have been rough sanded down and, while most of the wood looks nice and clean (and has nice grain, and even some curly figure), I have unearthed some staining (dammit!). I was hoping I could ask for some advice since so many of you really seem to know what you’re doing!


This is what the staining looked like after the CitriStrip:

... and after sanding:

I think it’s deep water damage? It looks to me like the original finish got damaged somehow and let in water, there’s a little bit of it on one of the sides, too. Unfortunately, this staining is dead front and center on the top and on the board with the most curly figure (of course!), so I’m very much hoping that there’s something I can do about it.


I put some hydrogen peroxide on it, mostly because I had it and wanted to feel like I was doing something, but I don’t expect it to do much. Some googling brought me to oxalic acid, which I had no idea existed before, but I’d like to try stuff I have first. Any way regular old bleach would be OK? Oxiclean? I can order the oxalic acid on Amazon if I have to. Usually I’d just jump right in and give it a try, but am feeling more cautious tonight. My initial enthusiasm for this project has hardened into a grim determination to get it done and do it right.

Thanks party people!

ETA: While I’ve got you here, there’s also some bowing on the top. I’ve read that perhaps this happens because, when the top of a piece of wood is finished and the bottom isn’t, moisture unevenly enters the wood, leading to bowing. I was thinking that I would add humidity to the wood, with damp towels or a steam iron, then clamp it down for a week. I’d also finish the underside, in hope that it’ll prevent it from happening again. Sound like a good plan?