Hola, Amigos/Amigas -
Looks like I might have to refinish my beloved dining table,
real cherry wood, but now has a lot of fine scratches over the years,
and some water ? rings that I haven't been able to walnut-meat
out of existence.
I have never undertaken refinishing such an important piece, so
wondered if y'all had any really good, down-to-earth Web sites or
other references to guide this poor soul.
One question: Do I really need to "refinish", or is there a
less demanding procedure to deal with these fine
scratches, no gouges, plus a few drink rings.
Your input valued.
If the table is structurally sound with no loose joints then I would
forget about it. Refinishing is not a fun job and worth avoiding.
Just continue to use the table. It can be nice to have a table you
can beat on without worry for the finish.
I have refinished many pieces but in almost all cases the piece also
had other problems, usually loose or failed glue joints. If the table
needs repair anyway then it is more worth it to refinish.
If you haven't taken a close look at the glue joints now is the time
to do so. Wiggle the table gentlly back and forth and ovserve the
behaviour of those joints.
It can sometimes be much easier to strip the old finish after it has
been dissasembled for repair. A professional restorer might take the
piece apart and then put them in a dip tank to remove the finish. It
is a far easier way compared to hand stripping. You never want this
procedure done to somthing valuable like an antiquej however.
I'd seriously consider a refinish just based on the much better
performance of available varnishes these days. For table tops subject
to hard family use, tilt your varnish research towards bar finishes.
They handle wear and wet glassware best of all.
The finish remover/stripper market has dozens of good products, so
read the directions on the container and choose what appears to suit
your situation best. With the finsh stripped, sand to sound wood with
a random orbit sander (rent if you have to). Select your sealer,
fillers or whatever, based on the recommendation of the fnish
supplier. For a table top, it may be worthwhile to rent a HVLP spray
gun for a near perfect finish.
Polyurethanes are the basis for nearly all of the common varnishes
today, and generally the water based types are the least yellowing,
but some say the solvent types resist water stains better. Major paint
stores like Sherwin-Williams are good places to start shopping,
although some independants like Target coatings have a splendid array
of products for the perfectionist.
I fit seems a bit overwhelming at first, just do a small project first
to get the feel of it, maybe an end table? HTH
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