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Refinishing Coffee Table

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by lendryesky, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. lendryesky

    lendryesky Tele-Afflicted

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    I want, and probably should refinish the hand me down coffee table pictured below. Being less than handy with such home improvement projects, Can somebody recommend the easiest course to do so? I'd just like a natural type finish on it, maybe stained but I think it'd look good just raw/naked. I have a power sander that you attach sand paper to, and it vibrates back and forth. Not sure what type of sander that's called, but I'm not sure that'd even be necessary?

    Any guidance is appreciated!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. LightninMike

    LightninMike Tele-Holic

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    That type of finish is often used to add grain to the piece.

    Stripping it down and seeing what is there is your first order of business. any of the Citistrip type chemical strippers should do the job for you. Then, just prep the area and sand if necessary.

    depending on the wood that was used, that will tell you how to refinish it
     
  3. dman

    dman Tele-Afflicted

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    I used to finish and refinish furniture and cabinets for a living. Here's my 2 centavos: Citrus based stripper is good, but the methylene chloride based stuff is better...it acts faster and cuts deeper per each application. The downside is the citrus stripper is considerably less toxic...you still need gloves, goggles and ventilation for both, but with m.c. stripper you REALLY need good ventilation. I only use it when the weather will let me strip outside or in the garage, door open and exhaust fan on. Just follow the directions and you'll be fine, no matter which you use.

    After stripping and wash-down, I'd go over it lightly with 180 grit , then 220 grit paper in you orbital sander...ALWAYS with the grain. Then I always grain raise by wiping the piece with a water dampened rag...this really pops open the pores of the wood to accept the stain. Even if you just use a clear finish, I feel it really helps to accentuate the grain.

    After it's dry go over it very lightly by hand with 220 grit...all you are trying to do is "whisker off" the raised grain. Wipe it once more with a rag dampened with naptha...this ensures there's no oils from your hands or elsewhere that will interfere with the finish. I'd recommend handling it with nitrile gloves from this point on. You should wear them anyway to save staining up your hands.

    If the table is a hardwood, a good natural finish is several (at least 4) coats of Watco Danish Oil (clear or tinted). After the 2nd coat, use some 320 grit wet-or-dry paper, dampen it with Watco and sand the piece. This builds a slurry that fills in the pores and makes for a very smooth, natural looking, low gloss finish. Subsequent coats can just be ragged on, like the original 2 coats.

    If the table is pine or another softwood (that's what it looks like to me), you CAN use Danish Oil, but 4 or so coats of a satin or even matte oil based polyurethane will protect it better. Keep in mind, too, that Danish Oil even on a hardwood will not give quite as good protection, but does look the most natural.

    Good luck with your project!
     
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  5. lendryesky

    lendryesky Tele-Afflicted

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  6. kidmo

    kidmo Friend of Leo's

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  7. gtrguru

    gtrguru Friend of Leo's

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    That wood be cool!
     
  8. TNO

    TNO Friend of Leo's

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    Leave it as is- it's a natural relic.
     
  9. lendryesky

    lendryesky Tele-Afflicted

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    You know, that's quite funny actually. The messed up areas are tantamount to the cigarette burns on a headstock. Quick story of the smaller circular mark with the dot in the center. It was about 1988 and my mom had just bought the table. I had a mosquito bite that was bothering me and she gave me some spray to put on it. I put the cap on the table afterward, which apparently had some of that anti-itch spray on it. A half hour later I picked up the cap and saw the damage done. I told my mom "please, don't be mad" and showed her. She was more sad than angry.
     
  10. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity

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    There's easy and there's EASY. Before trying the stripping, sanding, et. al. (none of which is easy, BTW), if you have any love at all for the original finish, try this stuff. Sometimes, you'd be amazed how well it works, dissolving years and decades of crapola on the surface of furniture.

    http://www.formbys.com/products/buildup_remover/

    Unless you know for sure what the underlying wood is, often painted furniture like you have there is not very attractive, that's one reason why it's painted and "antiqued".

    If it needs a new top finish, with the kind of abuse a coffee table typically gets--i.e. TV dinners, actual hot cups of coffee, shoes and boots, etc., Danish Oil is OK, but not very protective. For active coffee table service, I'd recommend a gel type varnish, easy to apply. If you can find it, Petri Microcrystalline Wipe-On Gel Varnish gives the toughest surface I've found, but it is no longer made, if you found a can, it would be remaining stock.
     
  11. lendryesky

    lendryesky Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi, guys,

    Update:

    I've started the project today and did a lot of stripping and sanding. I didn't take pics of the process because I was stressed for time and too "in the zone." The previous finish didn't come off as easily as I thought it would with the stripper. I thought if that anti-itch spray could eat through the finish so easily then I'd have no problem. Had to make three trips to Home Depot for more supplies. I don't mind though, it's right down the street from me.

    I'll post some pics when done. Thanks to all!
     
  12. lendryesky

    lendryesky Tele-Afflicted

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    Okay, so because of the wood grain being blotchy and ugly, I've decided to do a pickling white wash finish on it. I applied the finish last night, didn't wipe excess off, and it's now matte sort of like the telebration pine teles. Should I sand it smooth prior to putting some wipe on poly over it?
     
  13. bob1234

    bob1234 Tele-Afflicted

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    how did this come out?
     
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