How to Refinish Furniture
A Step by Step Demonstration of How to Strip, Sand, Stain and Finish a Wooden Table
Refinish an oak veneer table top that is scuffed and faded by years of kitchen use. Detach the table top and relocate to a ventilated workshop to minimize fumes and dust. Remove the old finish, sand and stain, and then coat the surface with several coats of durable water-proof clear coat before reenlisting the table as kitchen furniture.
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Detach and Move the Table Top to a Ventilated Workshop
Examine the wooden table to confirm that the table top alone needs refinishing. Remove the top from the frame. Protect it while moving it to a well-ventilated work area to avoid chemical fumes and dust inside your home.
Brush on Thick Paste Finish Remover, Letting the Chemical Work
Apply a thick paste remover with a disposable nature bristle brush to a small area. Overworking stripper lessens its effectiveness, so use minimal brushstrokes. Give the gases in the chemicals time to bubble and lift the old finish.
Use a Wide Putty Knife and Scrape off the Finish
File the sharp corners of a wide putty knife and gently scrape up the wet residual finish lifted by the stripper. Clean the putty knife on the edge of a small cardboard box lined with newspaper. Work with the grain.
Apply Liquid Stripper and Use Steel Wool to Lift Remnants
Brush on liquid stripper and let it work. Use medium fine steel wool to dislodge remnants left by the paste. Work the rounded edges of the table top with steel wool to clean the surface. Work with the grain.
Wash Away Waxy Stripper Residue with Lacquer Thinner
Dip medium fine steel wool into lacquer thinner and work with the grain to wash away the wax-like residue left by the strippers.
Use a Finishing Sander to Smooth the Surface
Wear a face mask while you smooth the oak veneer using 220-grit sandpaper and a finishing sander. Keep working with the grain and don't over-sand, because the veneer is very thin. Clean away the sanding debris.
Apply Matching Stain, Letting It Dry for 24 Hours
Match existing color, mixing stains if necessary and testing on scrap wood. Coat the table top with a brush or rag. Wipe off the excess with a lint-free rag and let it dry for at least 24 hours.
Bush on Three Coats of Semi-gloss Polyurethane Clear Coat
Stir the semi-gloss clear coat thoroughly to mix the flattening agent. Apply the clear coat with a good quality natural-bristle brush to avoid dropped bristles and produce a smooth coat. Sand and clean between each coat after they dry.
Apply Finishing Wax with Super Fine (#0000) Steel Wool
Rub finishing wax on the dried surfaces with super fine steel wool to eliminate any tiny surface imperfections and give them a velvety finish. Let the wax dry for a few minutes, and then buff it with a soft cloth.
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