Wax and Gum Spots

Wax and gum usually come off easily, but they must be removed carefully to prevent damage to the finish. To make the wax or gum brittle, press it with a packet of ice wrapped in a towel or paper towel. Let the deposit harden; then lift it off with your thumbnail. The hardened wax or gum should pop off the surface with very little pressure. If necessary, repeat the ice application. Do not scrape the deposit off, or you'll scratch the finish.

When the wax or gum is completely removed, buff the area very lightly along the grain of the wood with No. 0000 steel wool moistened with mineral spirits. Then wax and polish the entire surface.

­If you must remove the entire thickness of the finish, or if the damage extends into the wood under the finish, you'll find yourself involved in spot refinishing -- an unpredictable technique, and not always a successful one, especially where staining is necessary. Learn more about this method of restoring wood in the next section.