If you can believe it, I’ve actually been working on projects other than crocheting or sewing. I know! Jay was shocked, too!
This past spring Karen, Jay’s mom, asked me if I could help her refinish her dining room table. It had seen better days. I forgot to take pictures before I started working on it, but luckily I found some older pictures in Jay’s files that kind of shows you what the table looked like before I started on it.
This isn’t the worst damage, but I wanted you to see the beating that this poor table has taken in its lifetime. It was originally purchased in 1979 and has been refinished once since that time. However, thousands of games of Hot Dice will really take its toll. There were some really rough spots that I worried I wouldn’t be able to smooth out.
This spot in front of Jay’s grandma was the smallest of the two bad spots. You can see how the finish has literally been chipped away. There were ridges that had developed, too. The worst spot, though, was this next one.
It’s not the best picture, but you can see under Dan’s hand that there’s a lot more chipping and ridges. Plus, you can see all of the dimpling in the reflection on the table.
I knew that this was an oil-based finish and I was a bit nervous because the only experience with oil-based poly I have is when I refinished my living room floor at my last house. I’ve never used it for furniture, though. I did some research and settled on the Arm-R-Seal from General Finishes. There is a woodworking store near my sister’s house, so when I was there this summer I picked up some of this finish plus an Antique Walnut gel stain. I went purely by memory on that one.
So first I had to strip the old finish.
I was using a furniture stripper that I’d had sitting around for a few years so I actually ended up slathering the table top twice with it in order to get most of the color and old lacquer off. Karen and I ended up using some old fashioned elbow grease to scuff down the more stubborn spots.
After two stripping sessions (and no cash!) the table looked like this:
The next step was to sand the snot out of it. Not only did I want to remove some more of the color, but I also needed to beat down the ridges from those really worn spots. I pulled out the oscillating sander and worked my way from 80 grit up to 220 grit.
I managed to sand the ridges out pretty well. I didn’t want to take all of the “memories” out of it, but I had to get it almost smooth. I think I did a pretty good job.
Then it was time for the stain. As I said, I bought a gel stain so this was a first for me, too. I can’t say that I’m a big fan. I’m used to the liquid stain so I’ll probably stick with that for future projects.
I was afraid it was too dark, but it turned out to match the legs exactly. Karen says that it looks exactly like it did when it was new.
After three layers of Arm-R-Seal, this is the end result:
Karen is happy with it and that’s all that matters. I guess the big compliment to me will be if nobody notices that it’s been refinished. 😉