Refinish Oak Table


I have a 5X3 Oak kitchen table that I want to refinish. Currently it has some kind of varnish or polyurathane finish (not sure how to tell the diff) that has partially worn off in spots.
What's the best way to do this? Can I just sand the old stuff off?
What is a good finish for oak? I finished a pine table that I bought new/unfinished with some kind of oil - mink oil, if I remember right. Would this work for oak?
Thanks,
Larry
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Is the table solid oak or veneer? If solid, you can sand it. If veneer, you may end up sanding right through the veneer and ruining the table. If that is the case, use a paint/lacquer remover.
You can finish it many different ways. Tung oil, Danish oil, Varnish oil are all good looking, but not as waterproof as polyurethane. I'd put on a coat of poly, let it dry for a few day. Then I'd put on a second coat and let it dry for two weeks (really, two weeks), then sand it with 320 grit paper, then with 400 grit, then pumice, then rottenstone. You end u p with a satin finish that is smooth, durable, and does not look like plastic.
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I'd use 3 or 4 coats of gloss poly, with a very light sanding (400 grit) between coats. Something similar for the final steps to degloss and loose the plastic appearance -- it will look very nice indeed.
I also recommend using a good quality foam brush (e.g. Wooster's available at Lowes) to apply the poly. Those things make it really easy and fool-proof to get the poly on evenly and without brushmarks.
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The table is solid wood. What is the best way to sand it? Belt sander, pad sander, manual. What grit works best.

If I did choose an oil finish, is it possible to go to poly finish later?

Thanks for the tips.
Larry
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I'd use a random orbital sander with 100 grit, 220, 320. Belt sander would be faster, but in the hands of the inexperienced, you dan do a lot of damage, very quickly.

Yes. If you wax the oil finish, you'll have to remove the wax first. I forgot to mention in my last post, after all of the polishing, paste wax is the final step also.
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be sure to sand between coats, otherwise the final finish will be rough and ugly...especially under the strong overhead lighting found in a dining room.
Sounds like a great idea to refinish the table rather than replacing it, it will save you a lot of $$$ and should look just as good as a brand new table when you're done. Good luck!
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