Ok.. Thanks all for your help..
I did call the showroom and the manufacturer, and they said that I
should apply a non-wax finish to the top of the table but they didn't
know (really) how to maintain the legs, and that I should unscrew one of
the legs and take it to my local hardware store and ask them what it is..
But I'm guessing from the previous posts that the solid black painted
legs are solid wood, and the top is veneer over pressed wood..
Hi. I sell furniture, and have had this question come up before. For this
type of furniture (veneered, made in China) the best thing is a damp rag.
Not too damp. Don't fool around with the surface. At some point it won't
look brand new anymore (just like your house, your car, your favorite shirt,
etc.). Furniture ages just like everything else, there's not much you can
do about it except treat your furniture with respect and care.
Sorry if this is more than you ever wanted to know, but I
thought this might be helpful.
Let's assume that it is raw and unfinished at the moment.
First of all, sand it perfectly smooth using first 220 grit
then something in the 360 grit range. Between sandings,
wipe it with a damp rag. If you're a perfectionist, do the
top using a wood block backer and not something with a soft
back. That will apply sanding pressure and material removal
to the high spots and will be more leveling. If you're
using a buzzy sander, make yourself a hard surface using a
piece of Formica. It'll last a lifetime. Just put the
sandpaper over top of it.
Then, apply Minwax NATURAL oil stain. Apply the stain
heavily, wipe it around using a rag with more stain in it,
and after doing that for about 5-10 minutes, wipe the table
as dry as you can, using clean rags. The idea is to let the
stain soak in as well as it can, and smearing it around
eliminates dry spots where it soaks in more.
The next step is to let the table dry for a couple days.
Then, wipe it down with a dry rag. The next step is the
Use Home Formby's modified Tung Oil finish. The first
application is the most important, IMHO. Do each part of
the table separately so that you don't get overwhelmed.
Start low, and finish with the top. Just as you applied a
heavy coat of the stain and then kept wiping it around to
eliminate dry areas where it soaked in more than on others,
do it with the Home Formby's. I use a foam brush, followed
by a small rag saturated in the stuff. Keep up the
rubbing/smearing/spreading until there are no "dry" areas.
This takes about 5 minutes. If the finish gets gummy or
sticky, just add some fresh to loosen it up. Adding a
little fresh just before wiping dry is the most important,
since it thins out the earlier stuff and lets you wipe the
After about 5 minutes, wipe off as much as humanly possible
with a dry rag. Don't worry about any fuzz or lint- that
comes of later- but if the finish is still loose enough, you
shouldn't have any stick. Just take off all that you
possibly can. Then, move on to the next section of the
table and repeat. I also suggest doing the underside of
the table as well with at least the first coat of finish to
reduce moisture uptake.
When you've done the top, STOP and let things dry. You
could probably redo it in a half day, but why hurry. I
recommend separating the repeat steps by at least a day, but
never more than 3-4 days. That lets the finish get a little
more crispy, which is good for fuzz removal.
After at least a day, use 400 grit paper to "wipe down" the
table, and especially the top. You will have a little bit
of standing "fuzz" from raised grain and this will remove
it. Don't try to overdo it, but get the table smooth again.
When done, wet a rag lightly with Homer Formby's, and keep
moistening it until it's "tacky." That will be your tack
cloth to wipe off any sanding dust. Wipe the table well,
since what you leave behind will just be there for the next
Then, repeat the wiping, scrubbing and wiping off again.
You can do a bigger section now, since the first coat is
what soaks into the wood. From here on out, you're just
building up the coating thickness. Be generous in the
application and even more generous in wiping it off. For the
legs and skirt, I'd do about 3-4 coats. For the top, I'd do
about 10-12. Sand lightly between each coat until about the
3-4 coat. By then, you should be having only a little bit
of dust stick to what you've left behind. When you reach
that point, I would switch to 0000 steel wool for future
wiping down. Don't forget to use the tack cloth after the
steel wool, also.
When you've decided that the top is good enough, Give the
finish a couple weeks to dry out completely. It'll seem
ready in just a day or two, but give it more time. The
final step is to apply Johnson Paste Wax, using a rag and
then buff it out. If you want a more satin finish, apply
the wax with 0000 steel wool.
I once built a solid cherry/walnut kitchen table with leaf
and 4 chairs and this was the finish method I used.
Sounds to me like you have a factory finish on there already. I wouldn't
coat it with anything. Table pads may be useful.
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True! A friend bought a new table; retailer had a sticky price label on it
the finished top surface.
In removing the label friend affected the finish by using some sort of
fairly common household cleaner.
She plans to ask the supplier what type of factory finish was used; because
quite clearly if it was affected by a domestic 'cleaners' trying apply a
varnish or plastic coating or even certain types of 'polish' could be
disastrous! Might ruin the top and result in having to refinish the whole
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