A neighbor has what looks like a white oak breakfast table. It is a
commercial table with what looks like a light finish; maybe poly.
As this table is the only thing in the house that is a light color,
the question is: how would one darken it to better match the
rest of the household furniture; other than selling it and buying
something that matches? Can it be stripped or just sanded to
put a stain on it?
That gets rather sticky. A breakfast table often takes quite a bit of abuse,
and it may well have a conversion varnish on top. Further, it's probably a
veneer, so you can't sand too much. You could add color on top then another
topcoat, but it won't stand up nearly as well. If it's solid wood or thick
veneer and going to be treated nicely, then you've got a shot at it. Make
sure, of course, that it's not really plastic, as some can fool you.
I once asked a carpenter how much for installation on an entry door I had
purchased. He told me that the price for installation was the same as the
cost of the door. This seemed a little high for a door install so I asked
him about it and he said it was so if he screwed it up he could replace the
This story comes to mind when I think about the project you mentioned. IMHO
sanding off a cured commercial finish and the underlying stain if it is
verneer without damaging it would be an accomplished feat not for the faint
of heart. Personally I doubt it could be done, speaking in context of the
finishes I am accustomed to applying (conversion varnishes, pre-cat lacquer,
Is it oak hardwood? What about the edge details that will have to be sanded?
Maybe disassemble the table and sand off the finish/stain then cut off the
edge detail and reedge with a router bit. This might save time overall. If
its not oak hardwood but one of the cheap hardwoods they use in commercial
furniture production I would pass it up. Better yet quote them a table you
can build yourself!
I have never used strippers other than cleaning a conversion gun so I have
no experience there.
It is possible that ammonia fumes will darken it with the finish left
in place. An article in FWW many years ago (Tage Frid??) described an
emergency save of a contract job that was accomplished that way.
Rodney Myrvaagnes NYC J36 Gjo/a
"Biologists think they are chemists, chemists think they are phycisists,
physicists think they are gods, and God thinks He is a mathematician." Anon
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