How to lighten table top if it is possibly sealed

shelendeMarch 11, 2012

I bought a Craigs List coffee table from someone who said he paints and stains furniture for a living. He said the table was painted and to my eyes it looks like it was painted to look like stain. I want to lighten it up from its dark blackish color to a softer, lighter brownish color but I don't know if it is poly'd & he has not returned my phone request for info. Can I use gel stain or is there some technique that is not difficult to get a color that would be more cherry colored?

If it is polyurethaned, it could be a water or oil based so I have to take that into consideration.

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There are a couple of ways you can do this. Since you are talking about gel stain - I assume you do not wish to strip/sand this table back to bare wood?
If it were my table, this is what I would do.
1)Clean well and then apply Zinnser Seal Coat. (It is a de-waxed shellac and can go over/under anything. It will act like a bonding coat.) Sold at Lowe's.
2)Paint table top a golden/tan/yellow color. Let dry 24 hours.
3)Use gel stain and a very wide brush to create a "faux bois" wood grain. (Fake wood) You will have to do several coats. The first coat doesn't look great. Keep going!
4)Top with oil base clear coat. My fav is General Finishes Arm-R-Seal. You can put wet drinks on it and no ring will appear! It's iron tough. Sold at Rockler stores or smaller hardware stores.

I have done this to several Craigslist pieces and they've turned out great.
You can do this. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:48PM
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