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Solid Oak Table Refinish Process

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
I cringe at the thought of people throwing perfectly good furniture away because the surface looks bad.  

 I was grateful to be the recipient of this big oak table and chairs.  Although it felt like a daunting task, I really wanted to save this set and give it new life.

All the surfaces were moldy and full of pollen from being outside for a few years.  Even though it was a covered porch, the humidity and pollen levels here in North Carolina are crazy!


I was able to refinish the table over a few weeks.  It wasn't fun - I'll be honest... but it was rewarding!

  Refinishing isn't hard at all - but it does take time and patience.

The first order of business was the table top.  I've really enjoyed Citristrip!  It works really well and doesn't burn your skin as much as the other types.

 Wipe a nice even layer on the surface and wait about 5 minutes.  The biggest tip I can give you is to use a razor blade to scrap off the finish - nothing beats it!  TIP: make sure you have a good angle on the blade so it doesn't dig into the wood (I speak from experience)!

In no time you'll have fresh wood and a lot of gunk on the floor.  Clean up the piles of finish as soon as you can because they start getting sticky and much harder to clean up (especially if you step on any)!

 Sand that baby smooth!  Sanding removes additional residue/finishes, cleans and smooths the wood - very important step!

Here's a close-up of the difference sanding makes.

I removed all the aprons from under the table and sanded every single surface of the table and stand.

 I marked under each apron consecutive dots so I would be able to match up the 8 apron pieces correctly to the table.

Set your screws through the apron so you can match the screw tip with the holes in the table.

Screw down.

 There were many pegs between the table leaves that were missing or broken.  I used screws to help pull out the broken ones.

 I bought an oak dowel and rough shaped the tip with my chisel.

 I did the final shape by sanding.

I glued the pegs in place and after drying I cut the glue away with a chisel.  This is much better than trying to wipe wet glue away (it pushes glue into the pores and smears it over the surface which requires sanding to remove).

I soaked the hardware in vinegar to remove residue and finishes, dried well, primed and painted black.  I love black hardware!

I used Timber Oil for the first time.  It's meant for outdoors but it had such good reviews (plus I've been loving oils) so I gave it a go.

I clear-coated the top...

 ...and waxed all the surfaces.

 Now that's a BIG table!  It's about 8-1/2 feet long!



Now I have room in my garage for the next project!  Bring it on!



Oh yes, the chairs!  They were on my mind during the whole table process... slightly freaking out inside about all the work they'd require with little pay off.

Imagine sanding all those spindles and corners on TEN chairs! 😩
I received a life saving e-mail that we had refugee families coming into our town and organizations were in desperate need for chairs.  YES!

 I rubbed them down with vinegar and power washed to removed surface residue.  They weren't very pretty but they were functional!  So glad everything worked out for these chairs!
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