Order of Operations to Refinish Table Top - DSCF4160 (Small).JPG (0/1)


Note that the bare area has some raised grain and that there is considerable staining. I propose: (1) Strip (2) Sand (3) Refinish with stain/poly combo. I assume I will need to apply oxalic acid at some point but am not sure how/when to do it. A professional refinisher ($275 est) has said it might not be possible to get a good job. Really all I need is a passable one as the table resides in a corner in a room that isn't used much. Any advice you could give would be much appreciated! Thank you! Frank
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Note that the bare area has some raised grain and that there is considerable staining. I propose: (1) Strip (2) Sand (3) Refinish with stain/poly combo. I assume I will need to apply oxalic acid at some point but am not sure how/when to do it. A professional refinisher ($275 est) has said it might not be possible to get a good job. Really all I need is a passable one as the table resides in a corner in a room that isn't used much. Any advice you could give would be much appreciated! Thank you! Frank
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Thank you all for your excellent (and detailed) suggestions. It would be impossible for me to comment on each suggestion but I should be honest and tell you that I do not have the time or the inclination to get this "compliment" perfect. I noted Baron's comments in particular because he referred to the wood bleach. I will try to get a picture and a link for you all so you can see that the black staining is rather severe and that the wood (without finish) is scaly in some places. Sanding alone will not do the trick I am sure- there must be solvent used to get the surface of the table uniform. I have noted your comments about stain/poly combos. Thanks all again. I will most likely rely on a combination of your various advices. Frank
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"frank1492" wrote

Hi Frank, I meant toi jump in here earlier but got busy. Sorry. This is the round table on it's side so we saw the top of right?
Don and I as a hobby refinsh solid wood pieces all the time. When we accrue to much, we freecyle them away to foilks just setting up in nw homes (or first apartment) so they have at least a few 'nice' things. Like the cherry wood table we got for 5$ off a yardsale neighbor who just offered us $250 for it after seeing how nice it cleaned up. (It was so bad, none of us knew it was solid cherry underneath)
If the table is solid wood (not veneer at all), chemical stipping to help with the legs can be a good thing (couldnt see them in the link I recall) as well as helping with any beveling on the edges of the table. No chemicals will 'smooth the wood' though where it is scaly if I understand what you mean. You sand down the top layer insead. After that, if a reasonable layer off with a hand electric sander on the top doesnt work (use a very fine grit and keep at it, this will preserve the wood natural pattern) then the stain is very deep indeed. A wood bleach *may* work but it's apt to seep back up in time.
If this is the case, the way to work it is go a fairly dark stain over all of it. As others said, don't ue the 'all in one' products if you want a truely nice looking piece in the end. If you have some spare scrap wood, practice staing on that. If not, do the bottom side of the table first to get the hang of it (imperfections won't show to other than a toddler then ;-)
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frank1492 wrote:

veneer that is loose, warping and cracking. There is no solvent that I know of that will level wood. If the surface is bad veneer, it is probably best to remove and replace it .. unless you remove it and find good wood underneath. Replacement veneer is not terribly difficult to apply, and it may also be your solution to the staining...probably less expensive than chemicals. Oak veneer with any clear finish, whether oil, varnish or poly, is beautiful without any other treatment. Same for many woods.
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Frank.. OK here is what we have done. Antique oak table. Sanded to very smooth. Stained. After stain totally dry added the finish. What was used is one part BOILED linseed oil, One part Turpentine, One part white vinegar. Flood table top. After 20 to 30 minutes rub off excess. Allow to dry over night. Do this for about 10 days. This was done 40 years ago and table has been is use every day. About once a year was repeated with ONE coat. The linseed oil is the finish. The vinegar is to emulsify the mix, shake before using. Maybe too much work for you but is a great finish. WW
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wrote:
-snip-

A slight variation on that- and I don't have anything that I used it on in the 60s- so I don't know about long term result, but it sure looked purty- and lasted for a few years anyway.
Start with 1 part *boiled* linseed oil & 2 parts turps. Paint on daily until the piece will take no more. Then rub a 1/1 mix of the oil & turps for a week or so.
Jim
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Depends on what you want as the final result and how much labor you are willing to put into the project.
1 & 2 are OK, but I'd never use a stain and finish combo.
3 Stain 4 One coat of poly thinned 25% with mineral spirits 5 Sand with 220 lightly 6 First coat of poly straight 7 Sand again 8 Second coat 9 Sand 10 Third coat 11 Fourth if needed 12 Let cure three to four weeks 13 Sand with 320 14 Wet sand with 600 15 Rub with pumice 16 Rub with rottenstone 17 Wax with paste wax 18 Admire 19 Enjoy compliments from others
If the table is not used much and a hard finish (like a dining room use) is not needed, tung oil makes a good finish.
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It is not clear to me why a professional refinisher said it might not be possible to get a good job unless he sees something that your pictures do not show.
Assuming that you do not have a very thin veneer, your order of operations is fine and the suggestions of others could be incorporated. I would just make a few changes:
1) Clean the table before any stripping. Use about a capful of dishwashing liquid to a gallon of warm water. Do not saturate the wood, just get it damp and use fresh water right after followed by dry, clean rags. Follow this up with a wipedown with odorless mineral spirits or naphtha. The use of both water and a hydrocarbon solvent will take care of water soluble dirt, grease and oil.
2) You may not need to sand. Do so only if the surface is fuzzy. If you do sand , do so very lightly. You are basically finish sanding, not removing 1/16" of wood. I notice that the grain radiates in panels from the center. Try to sand only with the grain.
3) If you need oxalic acid, it will raise the wood grain. When you sand after using it, do so very lightly so you do not sand through the "bleached" topmost layer of wood. If you use oxalic acid, do so on the entire top. Do not try and spot remove.
4) An oil finish will look nice but will not provide much protection. I would not suggest using a poly/stain combo. Every layer will make the finish darker until you can barely see the grain. You can get a good idea of what the table would look like with a clearcoat finish if, after all the prep work, you wipe it down with some odorless mineral spirits or naphtha. The way it looks while still wet is about how it will look with varnish, polyurethane, lacquer, or shellac. If you must have a stain, apply it in a separate step.
Good Luck.
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frank1492 wrote:

Note what? This is a text group, and many news servers strip out binaries from groups which are not set up for binaries.
Post your picture on an image hosting webpage, then provide the link.
Jon
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A few refinishing tips that have helped me.
1. I don't get along with strippers. I prefer to sand only if practical.
2. Use only clear gloss poly (not semi-gloss or satin).
3. Apply poly with a Woosters foam brush (available at Lowes). These things are *wonderful*.
4. Apply very thin coats. Allow each coat to dry (8-24 hours depending on temperature and humidity) and then sand VERY lightly with 400 grit.
5. I'd use between 5 and 10 coats.
6. If you want to knock down the plastic looking gloss, give the final coat of poly a few days to cure and then rub down with 0000 steel wool and some natural wax.
This basic recipe has worked reliably for me on numerous refinishing projects. The sanding is a pain but applying the new finish is a walk in the park.
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frank1492 wrote:

It would be great to see a photo...link to a free website. It would also be good to know whether you have a preference for the final finish...thick and glassy, satiny, or ? I've refinished only antiques, and none were in condition to require sanding. Sanding also removes patina and makes old furniture LOOK refinished. When I have refinished, it has almost always been after removing several coats of paint. I use the bad stuff that has to be washed off with mineral spirits...it removes paint quickly and much of old stain in wood. In using the stripper and m.s. for wash off, I scrub with steel wool...coarse at first, fine for the final clean up. The wood is somewhat softened and the steel wool takes care of sanding.
I once made new oak wall shelves and the only finish was a coat of paste wax...looked beautiful. On a piano, I used about 5 coats of shellac and a final two coats of gloss varnish...the deep finish that old pianos had. Shellac for "build" and varnish to protect the shellac from water and alcohol. I prefer solv. varnish if it can be found. I used poly on a round oak kitchen table just because it took a beating in daily use; it looks "plasticy". Varnish goes on nicely without brush marks if thinned slightly and more coats used. If I see bubbles in the finish, more commonly with poly, I give a fine steel wool rub and put another coat of finish.
I have had no luck removing old black stains from wood, but didn't know origin of the stain either....india ink? water?
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