Exercise ball, baby blanket damage finish
I have a large exercise ball on top of a 70+ year old wood 5 drawer dresser. The ball is likely to be acrylic plastic. I put a synthetic baby blanket on the top of a dresser, under the ball. Mostly to keep dust off the dresser top.

The ball, outgassing through the blanket, caused the blanket to stick to the wood/finish. Now, running one's hand over the area is like touching a brick. The finish is there, but on top of it is baby blanket. The blanket is acrylic, too.

What chemistry can remove the blanket material without further damaging the varnish?
  Re: Exercise ball, baby blanket damage finish by RobtMarquardt (I have a large exerc...)
Do you know what wood finish this is?

My first effort would be to saturate the blanket with water if the finish could tolerate that.  Leave it for several hours and then try pulling it up.

My second effort would be to use either mineral oil or vegetable oil to saturate the blanket and see if that will loosen things up. 

A lot depends on what the finish will tolerate. 

My experience is that vegetable and mineral oil don't often damage modern finishes.  Water can if the finish integrity is not 100%.

I would not say with certainty that the outgassing was from the ball; it could have been from the synthetic fibers in the blanket or from finish itself.

I made a desk once and finished with an oil based poly.  I let it cure for 10 days and then I got a clear flexible desk cover to put over the desk so I could write (the oak grain made it impossible to write smoothly).

Going forward 22 years I can not remove the plastic "blotter" as it has laminated itself to the desk.  Is it the plastic blotter or the finish that is at fault?  I cannot say with any certainty.

Totally inert glass will laminate to traditional photographs that have a plastic coating if held in tight contact (most modern photographs that are not computer printed do have that coating).  So the coating is at fault.  The photos can be soaked in water in an attempt to free it from the glass, but it usually does no work.
No animals were injured or killed in the production of this post.
  Re: Exercise ball, baby blanket damage finish by RobtMarquardt (I have a large exerc...)
A 70 year old dresser most likely has a shellac or lacquer finish if it hasn't been refinished. I would start by testing a spot that isn't visible, like the back of a leg or the side of a drawer near the front where finish normally doesn't run completely down the side. Take a rag with a small amount of denatured alcohol and wipe/rub the finish, see if any comes off on the rag, if it does it's finished with shellac. If it doesn't try a rag with some lacquer thinner and see if the finish comes off, if it does its a lacquer finish. 
  Shellac comes in different colors that change the appearance of woods, I once was asked to repair a table that was damaged when a foam-backed table cloth was placed on it and the foam bonded to the finish everywhere an item was sitting on it. I was able to remove the top finish and foam with denatured alcohol and I put 4 coats of garnet shellac on it to match the tone of the legs and apron. The top was clearly a new finish but the owner was very pleased with how it came out. The table was purchased by her mother and father in 1942. I did go over it with some 4 ought steel wool to knock down the shine but there was no evidence of the foam damage. The funny thing was, the owner told me that it was made of maple that was stained cherry, when I cleaned the old shellac off and lightly sanded it I found it was Douglas fir, I knew it was a pine or fir from the smell and I googled the manufacturer and I found they were in New Hampshire from the early 1900's until the mid 1960's and they primarily used Douglas fir in their furniture.      

I hope this helps, 


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