Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Fixing burns on wood tables ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Fixing burns on wood tables
Category: Family and Home > Home
Asked by: becca777_333-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 01 Aug 2006 07:06 PDT
Expires: 31 Aug 2006 07:06 PDT
Question ID: 751445
What products are available to take a burn or scortch mark out of a
wood kitchen table?  I sat a hot plate on the table and it left a big
white burn or scortch in the wood.  I need something that will repair
the table.
Subject: Re: Fixing burns on wood tables
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 01 Aug 2006 20:18 PDT
Hello Becca777_333,

  I have gathered several sources for you, describing various methods
for burn removal on wood:

  ?Depending on how deep the scorch marks are you may very well be
able to sand off the damage and refinish the table. Be certain that it
is a solid wood table and not particle board covered with veneer.
Try these techniques :

Start by sanding the surface of the table in the area of the damage.

Using a 60 grit sandpaper will remove a lot of material quickly. The
first few pieces of sandpaper may get gummed up with the existing
finish, so if you notice the sandpaper getting smooth, get a new

In theory, you should go over the entire surface equally. However, as
long as you remove the finish from the entire surface, if slightly
more material is removed where the burn marks are, no one is likely to
notice the imperfection.

Once the blemish is removed, move to a 150 grit paper, and sand the
entire surface. If you are uncertain of matching the existing finish
(colour and gloss) you should sand the rest of the piece as well
(legs, sides, etc.) and refinish the entire table. Before finishing,
and usually between finish coats, sand with a 220 grit sandpaper. This
should leave a perfectly smooth finish.

Wipe the table with a tack rag to remove all of the dust, and refinish
in a well ventilated and dust free environment.

There are dozens of different finishes, many with different
application techniques, so follow the manufacturers directions. Almost
universally they call for many thin coats, instead of a few thick
coats. Trust me on this one, it will take more time but it is worth

?Success of these treatments really depends on how far into the finish
or into the wood the burn goes.

1.      If the burn mark is only as deep as the finish, wrap a small
piece of very fine steel wool around your finger and gently rub the
scorched area. Polish and wax the area.
2.      If the burn mark has blisters in the center, hold a knifeblade
at a right angle to the burn and carefully scrape the burned area
using side-to-side motions. Once all the burned area is removed, rub a
piece of steel wool on the spot until the area is smooth. Brush the
dust a way to see if any finish remains. If so, polish and wax the
area to restore luster.
3.      If you have scraped into the wood, you need to build up the
cavity that now exists. Apply thin coats of varnish or shellac with a
small artist's brush, allowing each coat to dry before applying the
next one. Once the area matches the surrounding surface, rub it
carefully with a piece of steel wool dipped into paste wax. Blend the
area by rubbing parallel to the wood grain. Polish and wax the area.?

??  CIGARETTE BURNS, Minor burns can be remedied by rubbing with
scratch-concealing polish or with a paste of linseed oil and
rottenstone, working with the grain until the burn mark disappears.
?  HEAT MARKS, Rub gently along the grain using a dry steel wool soap
pad, extra-fine (0000) steel wool, or a cloth dampened with
camphorated oil mineral spirits.?

?For year I had always used sandpaper to remover burn marks. However,
this process is very slow and it is very easy to round a crisp edge
with sandpaper.
I've found using a hand plane to be the fastest and best way of
removing burn marks. In less time than it takes for me to find my
sandpaper I can remover the burn marks using my hand No. 4 smooth
plane. Just about any plane will work for the job but smaller planes
are ideally suited because they are just easier to use and are easier
to keep close at hand. For many people a block plane would be ideal.
It is really just a matter of preference. Whichever plane you choose,
it will just take a few very light passes and all of the burn marks
will be removed. While it isn't a replacement for turning up your saw
or sharpening your router bits, it works great on woods like cherry
that have a tendency to burn.?

?As far as removing the burn marks from the wood, sanding is the only
way I know of.?

?"A cigarette fell out of an ashtray and burned a line in our new
coffee table (wood) and I used vinegar and baking soda on it, just a
little to make a paste. I then used a pencil eraser to gently "erase"
the burn mark. I had a mark in the table, but it was clean and I was
able to patch it up with some stain."

?If not severe, the burn can be removed by rubbing with steel wool
moistened with soap and water.?

?Rub gently along the grain, using a dry steel wool soap pad or a
cloth dampened with camphorated oil or mineral spirits, or rub gently
along the grain with extra-fine (0000) steel wool. Wipe clean and wax
or polish.?

If the above does not work, perhaps this technique for removing burns
from floors will help:,1797,HGTV_3714_2561384,00.html

?Q: One visitor asked, "I have a 1/2 inch burnt mark from a cigarette
on my hardwood floor, how can I remove it? The wood was already
stained and had polyurethene on it when installed."
A: Depending how deep the burn is, you can perhaps rub the burn out
with fine sand paper. Stain the spot and when dry (make sure you
lightly abrade the entire board when sanding out the burn) re coat the
entire board with a thin coat of finish.?

There are other ideas on this woodworking forum:

If none of the above work, consider hiring a furniture refinisher, if
the table is a valuable piece. If not, consider painting the table!
You may like it better, and it will already be sanded (partially)!

Painting kitchen tables:,1793,HGTV_3451_3991894,00.html

   I hope this has helped. I feel certain ONE of the above will work
for you! Please request an Answer Clarification, if anything is
unclear, and allow me to respond, before you rate.

Sincerely, Crabcakes

Search Terms
Removing burn marks + wood furniture
Burn marks + wood + remove
Painting kitchen tables
Subject: Re: Fixing burns on wood tables
From: myoarin-ga on 02 Aug 2006 04:27 PDT
Since you mention "a big white burn or scortch", it is unclear how bad
the spot is.  White spots can be caused by heat and can sometimes be
removed by lesser means.
Perhaps this site can help:

Or suggestions on this blog:

or here:

Good luck.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy