Today I’m sharing everything you need to know to refinish your old, run-down wood table and make it beautiful again. The top was absolutely covered with scratches and huge scuffs where the finish was completely gone.
I found this table a little over a year ago on Facebook Marketplace and it was an absolute steal.
I was six months pregnant at the time so I knew I wouldn’t be refinishing the set anytime soon.
This is probably the most intimidating part of the whole process, but it truly isn’t difficult, just messy and a bit tedious. There are two main methods of removing paint or stain from wood furniture: sanding and using a chemical stripper.
There are other strippers available that use slightly less harsh chemicals and are more environmentally friendly, but they tend to take much longer to work. Since it is full of pretty strong chemicals, it is important to take all appropriate safety precautions.
It is best to work outside and be sure that you wear gloves to protect your skin as well as a face mask. This stuff works very quickly; I was able to see the finish immediately begin to separate from the wood.
Wait around ten minutes and then you can test a small area to see if it is ready to scrape. It helps to have paper towels nearby just in case and also to have an old box to scrape the mess into.
If the finish feels sticky or resists as you scrape, it isn’t ready yet. If there is a lot of thick varnish left, you may need to repeat the stripping process. Then use a second stripping pad dampened with water, to help rinse away the remaining residue. Once the table has fully dried, you can use sandpaper to remove those last stubborn bits of stain and ensure the finish is nice and even. You want to use extra fine sandpaper and be sure to sand in the same direction as the wood grain. After cleaning, I used painter’s tape and some extra thick wrapping paper to cover the freshly stripped tabletop to protect it during painting.
Since it comes in spray paint form, it was really fast to apply to the turns and details of my table apron and legs. I applied two coats of sealer and once it was dry used General Finishes Milk Paint in Snow White. I did use a paintbrush to help fill in some spots that the sprayer didn’t do a great job of hitting. I have an entire post dedicated to painting furniture white including what products to use and how to make sure you prevent bleed-through.
Once I saw how beautiful my naked tabletop was, I strongly considered skipping the stain and leaving the wood its natural color. Before staining, I used a clean rag to apply Minwax pre-stain conditioner.
If you want the color to be a bit deeper, you can apply a second coat of stain after 4-6 hours. I used Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane to finish my tabletop, but to be honest, this is not my favorite product to work with. I much prefer General Finishes High Performance Top Coat.
Google Web Story: How to Refinish a Dining Room Table