How to resurface a slate-top table

Q. We have a coffee table with a slate stop which tends to get scruffy looking even though we have been wiping it with lemon oil. Is there anything else we can use? Mrs. Kenneth Mason Tower, Minn.

A. One soap lab recommends cleaning slate by using a concentrated solution of a household cleanser, such as Comet, Ajax, and the like, with a fine-grade steel wool. Follow the scouring with an immediate and thorough rinsing, drying, and waxing.

A wax manufacturer recommends an application of Trewax Instant Wax Stripper for cleaning slate. Carefully follow the directions on the can. This process will remove regular wax but not plastic wax.

Remove plastic wax by applying a solution of two cups of household ammonia to one gallon of hot water. Allow it to remain five minutes, then scrub with No. 2 steel wool.

To remove sealer, apply lacquer thinner or paint/varnish remover with No. 2 steel wool. Experiment in a small area as needed. After all the wax and sealer are removed, apply fast-drying Trewax Floor Sealer. Reaseal from time to time as needed.

If these methods fail on your paticular slate, consult an experienced professional custodian or janitorial supply store.

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