Throwback Thursday: Table Refinishing

After my post the other day about finding some cool new chairs for our refinished dining room table, I realized that I have never shared that whole story with you guys since that project happened before the inception of this blog.

Also, as I think a little more about it, there are quite a few projects that haven’t been broadcast on here, so every few weeks I’ll post a throwback project so you can relive our project glory days. So, here is our first installment of Throwback Thursday – Project Edition.

Throwback Thursday Project

Back when Scott and I moved out of our teeny loft apartment in the North and into a 2 story condo in the South, we realized we needed something more than a little table that barely fit two plates.

Side Table

We moved down South for a new job opportunity for me; however this left Scott without a job since he was a teacher at the time and it was Summer. So, Scott waited out the summer by teaching at some summer camps and frequenting our local consignment shops for outdated furniture we could fix up. Money was tight, but we had plenty of time!

One afternoon Scott sent me a text at work with a photo of a banged-up oak table with five chairs. I could tell this table had potential, but didn’t know how deep the gouges and scratches went. After work I headed over to check it out and we both agreed that for $150, this was something we could work with. We contacted the seller and actually haggled the price down to $100!

Table Refinishing Before

The table top had a bunch of water marks, stains, scratches, etc. The chairs were in pretty good condition, but I think the previous owners had pets of some kind (or kids) that liked to chew on the legs and there were some dings and dents. Also, the fake cherry-ish stain wasn’t our style.

To this day, Scott still says this was one of the hardest most tedious projects he’s ever had to do, and honestly any kind of true wood refinishing is no joke. It also doesn’t help that we are both very picky and attention-to-detail when it comes to these types of projects!

I don’t know what tutorials we followed, but since we both used to work in the paint industry, we had a pretty good idea on how we wanted to handle this project. First, Scott used a liquid stripper to strip all the pieces down to the original wood.

Chairs Stripped

You can also tell by the photo above how mangled some of the chairs were. A lot of this was easily remedied with the stripping and sanding.

Here is the top of the table:

Table Top Stripped

When using a paint stripper, make sure you use the proper, heavy-duty gloves and also the proper respirator while working in a well ventilated area. That stuff is no joke. It works, but you might grow a third arm … which helps in the next step: Sanding!

Scott used an orbital sander for the table top and chair seats, but everything else had to be done by hand because of all the nooks and crannies.

Stripped and Sanded

Next up came the the staining. This is when the true transformations began and we started to get really excited! We used Dark Walnut by Minwax for everything.

Staining the Chairs

Since this project was happening during the middle of the summer in the hot and humid south, we moved this project indoors. We wanted a deep rich color, so we decided not to wipe the stain once applied. We simply applied the stain and let it dry. It took a few days for everything to completely dry so we could apply a polyurethane.

One speed bump we ran into was the outer ring of the table. We originally thought this was oak until it got stripped. It was fake wood. We decided not to stain it because it had no wood grain and would look a little funky.

Fake Wood Edge

To remedy this issue, we decided to paint the edge black using Sherwin Williams All Surface Enamel Oil in their stock black color. We decided that oil-base was our best bet because you can see from the photo above that we were a little over zealous in our staining efforts and didn’t want a water-based stain to react negatively to the sections where we stained outside the lines.

I don’t have any photos of the polyurethane steps, but we used Minwax’s water-based Polycrylic Protective Finish in satin. This is fast drying, UV protective, doesn’t yellow and can be applied over water or oil-based stains. Everything received two coats of the Polycrylic, but the table top received three coats. Here’s the finished product that is still holding up perfectly today!

Refinished Edge

Refinished Base

Refinished Table Top

Refinished Chair

And here it is currently:

Dining Room Wicker Chairs

Since I wasn’t a big Receipt Nazi back when we did this project, I don’t have the exact cost, but I believe with all the materials (stain, stripper, sanding blocks, polyurethane, etc.) and the actual piece itself, I believe we spent about $200 total on this. Not bad if you ask me!

This is also one of those “labor of love” pieces that I don’t think we could ever bring ourselves to sell if we wanted a new table. Scott spent almost an entire summer slaving over this so the price would definitely have to be right for us to sell. Heck, it may be one of those pieces that we hand down to future kiddos. Either way, we have yet to regret fixing up a piece of furniture!

What about you? Any refinishing projects in your future?

– Allie


3 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Table Refinishing

  1. Wow, yes wood working is a LABOR of love. I don’t think anyone can truly appreciate the value of a piece until they have experienced the work it takes themselves. Cara has a desk for Evie’s room that she wants to be painted white, the desk is in the garage along with the deglosser, but that is as far as it has gotten. They are painting Evie’s room and it is looking cute. Chevrons are involved along with lots of sparkle added to the paint.

  2. I have the antique bakers cabinet from the farm, I have it stripped have never gotten myself to tackle getting it finished, you will have to look at it. Maybe you can give me a professional opinion on how to go about finishing it.

  3. I purchased a sewing machine cabinet (like Mother’s) on the local freecycle site and I need to refinish it. It has a pretty good finish on it yet, so sanding would take too long to get down to bare wood. You’ll have to give me some insight on the stripping so I can get it down to bare wood to be stained a different color.

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