Re: Finishing a Pine Table Top



I'd try taking it to a shop that has a wide belt sander. They can easily remove the scratches in a few passes. You might also see if they can refinish it for you. It shouldn't be all that expensive.
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They might be reluctant to embed any oil finish into their relatively expensive sanding surface. The machine is intended to process untreated wood, not finished. If they do say No, then I'd suggest that you give it a rough-over with a belt sander/hand plane yourself, then take it to them to have it resurfaced smooth. You shouldn't lose too much from the thickness if you're careful.
Method #2: Set up a jig, basically a couple of boards of equal thinckness, and run over it with your router and a straight, wide bit, then hand-sand with a block. Again, care and patience will pay off. From what you say about the set, it won't hurt to have a tiny bit of "character" [not machine-level] if you can say, "I did that myself."
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Sounds like the scratches are pretty deep. I wouldn't want to take off that much of the table surface. If you don't mind seeing where it has been repaired (if you live in snow country anyway) find a shop that tunes downhill or xcountry skis. Theses guys use a compound to repair ski surfaces called P-Tex that has different colors including clear that can be melted into the scratches that will level them up and stand up to minor scraping and sanding then just refinish the entire tabletop. Homer Formby used to do the same thing by melting a similar color crayon into the scratches but that is only cosmetic, P-Tex will take some abuse. OR Find a woodworker in the neighborhood and see f you can get him to do a dutchman repair where there is a section of wood removed and a new matching piece of wood glued back into place. If done properly a dutchman adds character to the piece.
Knothead
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wrote:

Take up pewter or sulphur inlay 8-)

Get on the phone and talk to local workshops with a wide belt sander. They might be able to help.
Otherwise buy yourself a sander and fix it yourself. You want a random orbital sander, and a good one (Bosch PEX 400 in the UK). Failing that you _might_ use a belt sander, so long as it has an external sanding frame around it to control the depth. An unconfined belt sander will _destroy_ your table, as these things are divot-cutting machines at the best of times.
Don't use a planer, don't use a router, don't try to hand plane it.
--
Cats have nine lives, which is why they rarely post to Usenet.

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On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 12:09:32 -0400, Harry Everhart

lazy man, this was not an heirloom, just a solid piece of furniture that had lasted my family more than 30 years - it already had "character", but there is a difference between distressed and messed up.
I took a belt sander to it (flames expected). 320 grit belt, and a jig that allowed only 1/32 of cut, especially at the edges! The jig took 2 hours to figure out, 2 more hours of experimentation to make it work. The table took 15 minutes to get to bare wood with no scratches! Worked it in individual passes, one end to the other, then did the next sweep adjacent to the previous.
The the usual orbital sanding to smooth it out and Murdoch's table top gloss finish - 5 coats, sanded with 600 grit between, then a buff with 0000 steel wool.
Is the table perfectly flat? Hah, not close. Does it show a divot or two if you lay a machinists straight edge on it and shine a light parallel to it - yep. Does my family notice - nope.
Regards.
Tom
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I don't think you're going to be able to just go out and get a 36" planer for one job, unless you really planned well for your retirement. My advice would be just to go get yourself a good random orbital sander and sand that sucker with 60 grit until the scratches are gone. Change your paper frequently, and it shouldn't take too long. Then work up the grits to whatever finish you feel comfortable with (I'd say 220 grit as a minimum), give it a coat of sealer, stain it, then clearcoat it. You've got plenty of wood there, and you said you've got the time, so I would imagine that is the best way for you to go.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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