I have some shelves I'm finishing using Minwax Wood Finish and MinWax Semi-Gloss poly. On one side of one of the shelves, there are some small damage marks.

Long story short: Some masking tape got stuck to the shelf, and in the process of removing the tape, some of the stain got scratched off. (This happened after the poly had already cured).

So now I have two areas on this ~8'x2' shelf that are like scrapes that removed some stain. They are about a centimeter wide, and maybe 4-5" long. The wood itself isn't scratched.

The marks are too noticeable to ignore, but I am loathe to sand the whole thing to zero and start over. Especially given that the rest of the board looks great; I already have to do that to another board; and it feels like I started working on these shelves when VCR's were a daring new idea.

Do I have any touch up options?


Are you saying the stain area was damaged and then poly was applied over it?

If so, there are no options. (none that do not involve sanding).

Post photos to get more experienced opinions & thoughts on this statement/answer:

If the areas are noticeable but not to an obnoxious level (right where everyone will stare all of the time), you could spot treat the area by sanding with a small tool and then stain, clean, and re-poly.

BUT it will be noticeable, so would the poly repair so: You'd light sand the surface (the entire surface) and clean, then run a new poly coat. That will help the poly/surface blending.

The stain repair WILL be noticeable (although you could possibly make it look like a natural defect in the wood). Take time when repairing to make sure the edges are treated such that you do not get a thicker border that looks like a coffee spill.

In general, you will have to decide if this is worth the time and fuss to do, or if a surface strip and re-apply is the right approach.

The advice for poly and stain and having clean surfaces includes inspection. This is something I'm sure you wish you had noticed before proceeding. Hopefully the idea above can help?

  • Thanks - that is helpful. It may ultimately be easier to re-stain the whole thing. I don't like it though. – dgo Sep 23 '17 at 15:55
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    I don't blame you. Still I'd recommend a closeup photo and a distant photo so people can better give some thoughts on if what I listed might even work. There is always the chance someone else has another idea, but I'm not too sure what that could be! :) Yes, this type of mistake, especially on a finished product is one that takes a time investment to repair (and not be seen) – noybman Sep 23 '17 at 17:58

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