Re-finishing a table - ideas?

demiro

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I have an old wood veneer dining table with a pretty sad stained finish. Would like to sand/strip it down and refinish. Will be used for arts and crafts type stuff, and as a light-duty work bench. I don't really care how it looks, priority is on being water-resistant, easy to clean up, and pretty tough. I was thinking epoxy, but maybe there is something better and/or more simple? I was also considering a piece of glass, and avoiding any work, but a tempered sheet priced out at $600.

I am the equivalent of the guy who just bought a camera and is wondering what all the letters on the dial mean and why anyone uses anything other than Auto when it comes to this kind of thing, so please keep any suggestions at the basic level.

Thanks!
 

demiro

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Any chance you have a camera lying about that you could snap some pics of this table with, @demiro ? I'm guessing that might improve the quality of the responses.

- K
I was going to do that, but figured it didn’t really matter. Guess that proves my lack of knowledge in this area. Table is 40” x 66”.


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ralf-11

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if you don't care what it looks like then leave it alone

or add a little oil based finish to the abraded areas
 

Bushboy

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Nice table. I would sand it back, then two coats of flooring polyurethane, then another light sand, then a final coat of polyurethane. Low temperatures like under 10*C, you’ll need something else.
 
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I have been a furniture maker for a long, long time if it was my table and I was going to use it as a hobby table etc and didn't mind dinging it up I would sand it down to strip it use a oil finish , watco ,tung oil, sikkens ,etc and then just wax it I think letting it patina will tell a story my work bench is full of memories.
 

The Electric Squirrel

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That's a really nice table. I wouldn't want to ruin that. If you don't want to restore it, just give/sell/trade away and get something else to use for rough work... But that's just me, and I'm partial to any real/"real" woodwork in contrast to todays cheap Ikea stuff...
 

Sawdust

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1. Clean it real well with soap and water...think Dawn dishwashing liquid for the soap.
2. Rinse really good with water.
3. Wipe surface with Lacquer thinner. Don't soak it, just wipe on, and wipe off. Do this outside.
4. Use 120 grit, or finer grit belt on belt sander, and *lightly* sand, to take the gloss off. Veener will probably be real thin, try not to sand through it. If you don't have a belt sander, use a sanding block, and sand by hand. The idea is to dull the surface, so the finish will adhere.
5. Vacuum to get rid of all dust.
6. Use oil base real dark brown penetrating oil stain, and wipe over all the bad spots, and wipe off excess stain...just try to get the bad spots looking better. Don't leave a surface coating, the goal is to get the bad spots to absorb the stain.
7. Let dry according to oil stain directions. Longer if you can.
8. Finish with high gloss Polyurethane varnish. (Gloss finish will clean easier, from the crap you are going to put on it.) Do not use anything but oil base. Put on at least two coats, with a bristle brush...2-1/2 to 3 inches wide. Follow directions on can. Those are the little words printed on the side of the can. Pay attention to the part that says if you wait too long for second or subsequent coats, the polyurethane will not adhere to itself.

All instructions given here are at your own risk. Good luck.
 
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Bushboy

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I never thought for a moment it would be a veneer.
If it is, I wouldn’t do anything. Just use it as is.
 
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Lots of advice
Looks like it's lacquered finish and not in really bad condition. Probably just a bit distressed.
How thick is the veneer?
Veneered surface doesn't lend itself to a work table environs.
Break though it and it then opens it up for further degradation.

All the fancy finishes in world won't prevent it getting dinged and ultimately veneer lifting.
Veneers aren't work table finishes.
I'd sell or repurpose but not for this use
arts and crafts type stuff, and as a light-duty work bench
Bit hard to gauge what that means
Arts and crafts fine. Just rub back and refinish with varnish. Oil finish nice but probably not to mix with arts and crafts.
Light duty bench - assume involves reasonable amount of banging and clanging.
That's where I'd be concerned for the veneers.
My 2 bobs worth from many years working with wood
 
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demiro

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Thanks everyone for the quick and thoughtful responses. I think you've convinced me that this table, regardless of refinishing strategy, is not the right one for the intended purpose. On to plan B, whatever that. :)
 

Stringer

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Could the marks be water stains? If so just clean with a water vinegar mix (1/4 cup vinegar to 3 cups of warm water) with a micro cloth, do not let it sit on the surface rub hard where the marks are. Then use window cleaner after table is dry.

You could also try Howard Restor-A-Finish of the right color after it is lightly (not rubbing hard) sanded. I prefer steel wool (0000) or (000) rather than sand paper as the grain is random.
 
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I did a simple refinish on a very similar hardwood table and chair set, we bought it from a smoker and I figured the only way to get the smell off of it long term was to seal it. In the end I went for a combination of soap and water washing, sanding down the finish and then sealing with an oil-based polyethylene spray, it turned out quite well and no residual smell. The spray is a monster though, definitely need a proper respirator even outdoors, and it needs a couple of days between coats to properly cure. But in the end it's a nice set!
 

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