We had a little accident with a candle on our table, so I have to fix the following problems:

  • Burned hole about 5x5 centimeters (top left in the photo)
  • Scratch, about 1 millimeter deep, and one square centimeter large
  • Dark/dirty spot that can not be cleaned (middle)

I think the best solution would be to use sandpaper and then to "repaint" the table.

What I wonder: Which kind of paint/finish to I use to achieve the same color as it has currently? The table does not seem to be actually painted, it feels quite "natural". But as I see in the scratch, it has a different color "inside" than on the top.

(I'm not a native english speaker, so I hope that I used the right words to describe the problem.)

Image of the table

2 Answers 2


This table top can be sanded down to fresh wood surface to accept a new finish. That is unless the burn mark is quite deep. Sanding out a deep burn mark could end up leaving a depression in that part of the table surface unless you would aggressively sand most the rest of the surface the same amount.

Refinishing to still show the wood grain as present would not mean painting the surface. Instead it would mean some type of natural oil type finish to attain the current look. After careful sanding down to a smooth surface an oil finish can be installed simply by wiping it on and then buffing it out. Such finish would want to be renewed from time to time.

Any type of more durable finish would leave a glossy surface such as would come with something like a polyurethane finish.


To fix the damage, you would need to sand down the entire table evenly to prevent creating dips in certain areas from over sanding in one area.

I would suggest starting with an electric palm sander with 40 or 50 grit paper and sand the entire surface until the damage is removed. The table looks like it will be thick enough to do that. If you aren't comfortable going down that far, just be sure to remove as much of the charred wood as possible.

After it has been sanded smooth, work your way up to the higher grits. If you started at 50, go to 80, 100, 120, etc. all the way up to 400 and the table will be completely smooth.

If you are looking for a natural finish, you can use butcher block oil such as the one that Watco makes. Apply a few coats with a rag, and let it soak into the wood. Then wipe off the excess. It takes a long time to fully cure, you should avoid using it for 2 - 3 days. The best thing about the butcher block oil is that it will never peel, and it is completely food safe. Around once a year, you should also put another coat on to keep it looking new.

Polyurethanes are not good for the wood because it doesn't allow it to breathe. Over time polyurethanes also tend to peel.

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