Old Parlor Table - Old Finish


A friend asked me to refinish an old table. It is a very dark stain with a clearcoat finish of some kind. It looks as if the wood is solid as well as the underlying finish. Most of the damage/wear seems to be on the surface coat. I've tested a spot with some 0000 steel wool dipped in acetone. That seemed to remove some of the surface finish and I think that it will be relatively easy to recoat it. My question is about the areas where I'll need to sand into the old stain finish. If I remove enough material to get into the old stain I'm not sure I can re-stain it. I have a dark color that will match but the wood is so smooth and the pores so filled that it won't take. Unfortunately I can't completely take the table apart and sand to raw wood. I'm worried about the final product being uneven. Is there a solution where I can mix stain and an interim top coat to cover and then top coat with varnish, lacquer, shellac or...? Help appreciated!
Patrick Fischer Olalla, WA pfischer$$wavecable.com
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An "old" table probably has a lacquer topcoat. Of course, old is a relative term.
If you are supposed to refinish the table, then do so - strip off all the finish, color as needed with stains, toners and glazes, and then topcoat.
Recoating an existing finish is always tricky. The new topcoat could delaminate in a year or so. If all the piece needs is to have scratches removed, try polishing them out starting with something mild like a mirror glaze. If that doesn't work, keep going backwards using progressively more aggressive polishing compounds. Once the scratches are blended in with the scratch pattern from the polishing compound, repolish going back up in grit to give you the sheen you want.
Good Luck.

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