From time to time everyone has had accidental marker or pen marks on furniture. The furniture I am currently working on belongs to a mom with three small children. There are a lot of marker scribbles!
Step 1: Supplies Needed
The materials you need are:
soft cotton cloth
steel wool (###) in the example depends on the project
Step 2: Safety and Caution
Laquer thinner should only be used in a well ventilated place. Test a small inconspicuous (did I spell that right?) spot on your furniture with a little laquer thinner to make sure the finish is compatable.
Even if it seems compatible, laquer thinner will cause damage if you oversaturate the area. Work lightly and in a small section at a time constantly checking that you are not causing damage.
Step 3: Step One
Start by applying laquer thinner to a clean cloth. Don't over saturate it. Gently rub at the marker spot. You may need to remoisten your rag but keep after it. Rub with the grain. Keep rotating your cloth using fresh spots on your rag so that if you pick up color you don't spread it to a new area of the furniture. Generally this alone will do the trick and get rid of your stain. You can also use a QTip to work a small area. Don't use too much thinner as you can still cause damage to your furniture by over working the area. Work a small section at a time. When prefinished wood floors were installed in my home the workers used laquer thinner to remove the excess adhesive without damaging the finish.
Step 4: Step Two
The furniture I am working on is worn and rustic. I can be a little more agressive cleaning it. By the same token, since it is so worn and dry, the marker stains are in pretty deep. I applied laquer thinner to a piece of ### steel wool. Again work in the direction of the grain. If you are working on a piece with a nicer finish you should not use anything coarser than 0000. You will leave a dull spot in the finish if you overwork it. You certainly do not want to make your furniture worse.
I normally would not suggest sandpaper except that I am using it on this particular project. There were some pretty dark marker stains that penetrated where no finish was present to act as a barrier. Since I am going to restain the cabinet I am going a step further and sanding some of the particularly nasty spots. After all, not one side of the three tables was spared marker, pen or crayola damage. If possible, I will update with a picture of the table stained and finished.
I hope this was helpful. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions. Thanks!