Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The great table adventure

I have this idea that refinishing furniture isn't that hard, and also that I'm good at DIY projects. The first of these ideas I'm realizing isn't nearly as true as I want to believe. I'm still holding on to the second.

For awhile I've wanted to refinish our dining room table because the finish has dulled and there was some water damage. I should qualify this and all previous furniture refinishing attempts by stating that none of our Chinese made furniture was expensive. It was ridiculously not expensive, in fact, which is why I seem to willy nilly throw my amateur furniture skillz at it. I don't have much to lose.

I did decide though that it would be best to attempt only to redo the top part of our table. I'm ambitious, but I'm not dumb.

This is our table as it was:

 This was right when we bought. Before the dulling and the water damaging. But it was always a little darker than I wanted, which is what happens when you pay a guy $200 to custom build a table. It won't be exactly like that Pottery Barn table.

My first order of business was to strip it with my handy dandy Citristrip. It's this neon peach gel that takes most of the stain right off. Then I sanded it, and put down one coat of dark walnut. It looked really cool. I put down another coat. It looked even cooler. Erik said it was good. I thought it could be a little better, so I put down one more coat. Not cool.

 So it was back to this. Stripped it down again. Thank God for Citristrip! But it didn't seem to get the stain off quite as well as the first time.

 Consequently the stain didn't go down as evenly this time either. But I was happy to be able to see the grain of the wood, something I'd always wanted. This time I quit while I was ahead.

 Then came sealing it. A friend recommended using lacquer instead of polyurethane. I started with 2 cans. By the end I'd bought 10. It still continued to have this uneven shine. Argh.

So I sanded off the shine, and pulled out a can of finishing wax. I threw on two coats and called it good. It looks better in person, actually. But there it is. My great table adventure.


  1. #1. Love the table. Can I come for coffee?

    #2. Love your patience. I think I would have been in tears by step #2.

    #3. Do you consult? I have a similar project waiting in Orlando.

  2. Kourtney:

    #1. Absolutely! Any time. Except I don't drink coffee (but I can try to make you some).

    #2. It's weirdly fun to me.

    #3. I do love to try! Although most of my consulting has been more along the lines of wall color and furniture arrangement. I'm not sure how much wisdom I can offer, but what I have I am happy to give.