Thursday, July 2, 2015

Stripping and re-staining Dining Room Table

Many years ago when my girlfriend and I moved into our small Long Island apartment, we bought this dining room table for $80.  It was a beautiful table underneath the table cloth, but it only came with 3 chairs that were falling apart.

When we moved to Arizona many years later the table was one of the few pieces of furniture that came with us.  Unfortunately someone put tape all over the top of the table, and when it was removed, it took off a lot of the finish, plus left a sticky residue.  Trying to remove the sticky stuff only ruined the finish more.   

So for a year we simply had a table cloth over it, but today it's time to change all that.  I disassembled it and moved it into the garage.

I propped the table top and leaf onto my saw horses.

Then I went out and bought stuff necessary for stripping the table - namely stripper, a scraper, a cheap brush, a metal can and some stripping sponges.

I had a breathing mask made for hazardous fumes, and a pair or work gloves.  Normally I would use disposable nitrate gloves, but the stripper would most likely dissolve the gloves quickly.

Following the instructions on the stripper can, I applied a liberal amount of stripper using the brush and metal can.

After only moments I could see some of the finish bubbling up and turning colors.

After the recommended amount of time, I began scraping away the old finish.

Most of it came off easily, but there were several spots that hadn't budged.

So I applied more stripper and scoured the top using the sponge.  This did a better job.

The table top looks rough now, but it will get better soon.

Next I flipped the table top over to better remove the stain on the sides.

After a short while the whole table was stripped.

Next I sanded everything with some 120 grit sandpaper.

Then I cleaned it up with some water and a rag.

Then I sanded once more with 220 grit sandpaper.

Followed by more cleaning.

After letting everything dry for a few hours, I applied some stain.

While the stain dried I turned to the table legs.  I did not want to strip the legs, but I need them to match the table top better.

So I did some light sanding followed by some staining.

I didn't wipe the stain away for the legs.  Instead I sprayed on some glossy clear coat.

When the stain fully dried on the table I gave it a sanding with more 220 grit sandpaper.

Then I added a second coat of stain.

Now the color is looking much more richer.

Then I added the first coat of polyurethane.

Now it looks great!

I let the table dry overnight before giving the table a light sanding with very fine sandpaper...

...followed by more cleaning.

Then More polyurethane.

Then I played the waiting game until everything was fully dry.

After several hours the poly was dry and I sanded one last time with some grade 0000 steel wool.

Then I cleaned with a damp clean cloth.

I took the leaf out to make sure it looked as good.

Then I finally moved it back into the dining room.

I am very pleased with how it turned out.

There is a little streaking from the polyurethane, but it's not terribly noticeable.

Below is a before-and-after picture.

Technically this entry is not about making anything, but simply how I stripped and re-stained my dining room table.  But making changes such as this is a creation to me.  Hopefully this blog entry may inspire some of you to do the same, and make something you already have brand new again.  Or perhaps you'll pick up a table or some other piece of furniture at a thrift shop and go through the same processes of stripping and staining to make the piece truly your own. 

Thanks for reading!

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