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How to get rid of black dots on hardwood?

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  • Feb 8th, 2019 6:33 pm
Jr. Member
Aug 1, 2016
107 posts

How to get rid of black dots on hardwood?

My husband recently bought a dining table which has a lot of black dots on it (oak hardwood). Is there a way to remove the black dots?
The table is solid oak wood from 1960s.
I tried regular cleaning with water but it doesn't work. Doesn't look like the dots will come off easily (looks like they are inside the wood).
I'm wondering if any chemical can remove them?
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4 replies
Temp. Banned
Dec 18, 2009
1709 posts
Doesn't look like oak to me but I'm not a pro. The dots are small holes in the wood filled with stain. You'd have to sand the table down beyond their depth but when you refinish it, you'll have the same look. Maybe wood isn't the material for you. This is what wood looks like.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 9, 2010
3128 posts
Are they on the legs as well? If so, pick a spot you can't see, and get at it with an exacto knife to see how "deep" the dots are. If you can cut them off (as in, they're superficial), you have a chance of something being able to clean them off. If you can't cut them off, then they're inside the wood somehow.
One who is offended by truth, has no place among those who seek wisdom.
Jul 31, 2017
417 posts
I think it's quartersawn red oak. It's possible that the dots are actually in the finish rather than on the wood. Like others have said, the only way you'll know what they are is to sand off the finish in an unobtrusive place and see what you have. Underneath the table is a good place if the spots are there. If it is just the finish, then sand it down to bare wood and refinish with whatever finish you prefer
Deal Expert
User avatar
Mar 23, 2009
21253 posts
Hmmm... In my case my table has similar black dots, but they are by design. It's quite possible your's is the same, that it was intentionally "distressed" to look that way. This is quite a popular look for some customers.

For mine, it's not just dots though. It's dots and divots and straight depressions etc. The carpenter accomplished this by whipping the table-top with a thick chain, then staining the entire surface, and then sanding down the black top surface, leaving the black stain in all the natural crevices and artificial depressions. Then it was varnished on top to protect the black stain and the wood.


Alternatively, I wonder if s/he might have flicked stain onto the table top after the sanding?


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