Play it cool with heat marks
"Often your only solution for heat marks is to strip and refinish the surface," Jim says. Even so, you may be able to clear heat marks in shellac or lacquer finishes. Here's how to determine whether the finish you're dealing with is lacquer or shellac.
Dab a little denatured alcohol on the finish in a hidden spot. If the finish softens, it's shellac.
If it doesn't soften, try the same thing with lacquer thinner. If the finish softens now, it is lacquer.
If neither has an effect, you're contending with some other finish.
Shellac or lacquer tricks Clean the area thoroughly with paint thinner. Then, wash it with a mild soap, such as Murphy's Oil Soap. Wipe it down again with paint thinner, and let it dry.
Wet the finish directly over the mark with alcohol (for a shellac finish) or lacquer thinner (for a lacquer finish). "It's best to spray it on," Jim says, "but you could brush on a wet coat and leave it. Don't rub it." The solvent dissolves the finish, which will then reflow as it dries, maybe erasing the mark. "This may not work," Jim cautions, "but it's worth the effort."
Try buffing for other finishes "Buffing is my least favorite approach; it rarely works for me," Jim warns. "And you can easily polish right through a thin finish." If you buff, apply a fine-grit automotive polishing compound with a high-speed buffer and a lamb's wool pad.
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