Bruce’s Recipes For Holiday Disasters

By Bruce Johnson

Okay, so it’s been a stressful few weeks for everyone (including Daisy), what with family and friends coming and going, guests staying overnight, furniture getting moved around, pets becoming over-anxious, and our homes generally getting pushed to — and sometimes over — the limit. Here, then, are a couple of quick solutions to disasters you and your home may have just encountered.

We’ve all done it:  Left a candle burning too long, only to discover a puddle of warm wax atop our cherished table or sideboard. What to do?

Freeze it! Wiping will only force the melted wax deeper into the wood, so hold an ice cube against it for a few moments, then pop it off using a plastic spatula or even a credit card.

Your pet never leaps on the table, right? At least not until the holidays become too stressful. Short of a messy refinishing, what can you do?

Reach for one of my favorites:  Minwax® Wood Finish™ Stain Markers. Each one contains real Minwax stain delivered by a felt tip, making touch-ups quick and easy.

Who would have thought your nephew would have confused your kitchen cabinet door with a swing set?

To reset a torn out screw, put a drop of glue and a sliver of wood (or some toothpicks) into the hole, let dry overnight, trim off, then reinsert the screw.

Your guests may have missed your doormat, but they didn’t miss your hardwood stairs. Muddy shoes soon become dry footprints. What should you use to clean them?

Nothing harsh, slippery, or soapy! Just squirt on a little Minwax® Hardwood Floor Cleaner and wipe off the dirt without harming the finish.

So, someone tried to pour their drink in your poinsettia, but missed — and now you have a hazy white mark to contend with?

First, do nothing:  no polish, no wax, no furniture cream. The water trapped in the finish may evaporate on its own in a week or so. If not, you can then buff it out with Minwax® Wipe-On Poly and #0000 steel wool. Take your time, be very gentle, and afterwards apply the Wipe-On Poly to the entire top to give it an even sheen when it dries.

Got a disaster I didn’t mention?

Let me know and I’ll see what I can do!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


About Bruce Johnson

Author-craftsman Bruce Johnson has introduced millions of do-it-yourselfers, craftspeople and antique collectors to the world of wood finishing and antique restoration. As the official spokesperson for Minwax®, the leading manufacturer of wood finishing and wood care products, Bruce motivates people to take the initiative to beautify their surroundings. Through his many books, magazine articles and columns, as well as frequent appearances on national television talk shows, Johnson is recognized as an authority in the do-it-yourself community. Appearing on PBS, HGTV, The Discovery Channel, and currently hosting “DIY Woodworking” and “Build A Log Cabin”, on the DIY cable network, Johnson has brought the illustrious craft of wood finishing to the forefront of the American home. An expert in wood refinishing, antique restoration, and home improvement, Bruce has published more than a dozen books on these topics, including Fifty Simple Ways To Save Your House, The Wood Finisher, The Weekend Refinisher, and The Official Identification and Price Guide to the Arts and Crafts Movement. For more than 20-years, he penned an antique refinishing advice column, "Knock on Wood," which ran in dozens of antique/collectibles publications. Currently, he writes a column on Arts & Crafts for Style 1900 magazine. A rare combination of craftsman and journalist, Johnson began his career as a high school English teacher, but left teaching to set up his "Knock on Wood Antique Repair & Restoration" shop. He spent the next 10 years as a full-time professional refinisher, but eventually returned to writing. Yet, Johnson says, he won't ever be without a workbench and a couple of refinishing projects down in the basement. Johnson is also the founder and director of the Arts and Crafts Conference and Antique Show held every February in Asheville, North Carolina, at the Grove Park Inn. The conference, which includes the largest Arts and Crafts antiques show, attracts more than 1500 Arts and Crafts collectors each year to its many seminars, tours, demonstrations and exhibits. Johnson is proud to have played a role in reviving interest in designers like Gustav Stickley, who founded the Arts and Crafts movement. His latest book, “Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Furniture,” was awarded the 2009 Thomas Wolfe Literary Award. These furnishings are treasured by such collectors as Steven Spielberg and Bruce Willis, among many others.

4 comments on “Bruce’s Recipes For Holiday Disasters

  1. Heidi

    A guest decided to do her nails on my sewing table which is an old partner desk (4 ft x 5 ft top). She didn’t mention that anything was amiss so I didn’t know anything had happened until the day after they left. What I found was what I think is hot pink/red nail polish and fingernail glue spilled then mopped about with nail polish remover (?) – it was slightly tacky and oily to the touch (??). The top is bare wood (no poly seal) that was once stained a medium tone. I washed the whole top with murphy’s oil soap and a tooth brush and lightly sanded the whole top. The area of disaster is darker than the surrounding areas but the pink red color is gone. I’m going to seal it (lesson learned) but I wonder if there is anything more I can do to lighten the stained area. A second go over with undiluted murphy’s didn’t do as much as I’d hoped. – P.S. Green Works all purpose cleaner got the same stuff off of the painted concrete floor beneath the desk…

    Happy New Year

  2. McKenzie @ Girl Loves Glam

    These are amazing tips! Thank you for sharing! I met you last year at Snap and am so excited that Minwax is coming back. I would LOVE it if Minwax covered my hotel stay while I am there too. That would be amazing! See you in April!

  3. Allison {A Glimpse Inside}

    These are all fabulous tips! The last one is awesome… those water spots are aweful!

    My name is Allison and I met you at the SNAP conference last year. I sure hope to see you again this year! Keep up the awesome work!

  4. Jennifer

    Hi Bruce, I’m visiting after getting the latest newsletter from Snap Conference. Just wanted to say thanks for the great tips, and for being a part of sponsoring a room for Snap!


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