Refinish table top w/protective surface?

trieldersFebruary 15, 2007

Hi all - I have an Ethan Allen maple country dining table that has some sort of protective coating on the top that has not held up well. There are so many scratches on the top. The only way I can get it to look nice currently is constantly using orange oil & buffing, but after every meal I have to apply the orange oil & buff again. Sigh... I would like to refinish the top but am afraid to start sanding as I don't know if these protective surfaces sand off. Anyone know the type of surface I am describing and if I can refinish this top? TIA

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I had this same problem a couple of weeks ago on a dining table we received from a relative. The top was partially discolored (it looked like the original protective covering had been partially worn away). I was hesitant about sanding it but I was refinishing a couple of smaller tables at the same time, so I figured what the heck.

I got some fine grit sandpaper and lightly started sanding a small section, just to see what would happen. The old finish came off pretty easily and it was kind of gummy little balls (I had to change paper often). I went ahead and sanded the whole surface and then applied a polyurethane clear coat (3 coats). The table looks really good now.

I think as long as there is no stain in your table, you should be able to sand it down no problem.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 10:10AM
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I suggest that you chemically strip the surface, restain if necessary or desired, and apply a new top coat. You can sand, but that's a time-consuming way to go about it. And if you don't get it completely clean, you could have adhesion problems with your new coat or unevenness in staining. Strip, sand, stain, top coat.

Here is a link that might be useful: Primer on stripping

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 4:08PM
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You should determine what the finish is by testing with mineral spirits, alcohol and lacquer thinner. It is probably polyurethane. If the finish is not discolored or softened, it can be sanded with 300 grit sandpaper (don't go through the finish), cleaned thoroughly to remove wax and oil, and another two coats applied.

If the finish has degraded and turned gummy, it needs to be removed. I agree with chemical stripping since the top is probably veneer and you can sand through it, especially near the edges. Polyurethane is hard to strip with chemicals.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 3:21PM
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If this is a factory-applied finish, it's highly improbable that it's a polyurethane varnish. It is just not used in a production environment.

Here is a link that might be useful: determining the finish

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 9:19PM
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There's always the odd chance that your table has had a very thick poured-on plastic (resin) coating applied (I doubt EA did it, but if the table is second-hand, a previous owner could have applied it). I once saw a huge repro sideboard with a wild inlaid veneer top which had been made impervious to any water damage by the application of such a resin or epoxy. It seemed to be over 1/16" thick. In this case, we were able to polish out the scratches, which were considerable, but nowhere near all the way through, with auto-type polishing compounds. I like the 3M Perfect-it clear coat compound. After that a coat of paste wax and it will be perfect.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 8:35AM
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I have a similar question re: EA Maple Dining Table with Forged Iron base. I'm remodeling my kitchen and this table will no longer fit into the floor plan. I was wondering if I could sand it down and then use MARINE VARNISH top and bottom to protect it and then PUT IT OUTSIDE? We live in SoCal so sun would be an issue -- Thanks for any insights! Am I nuts, etc.?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 7:23PM
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Re coat table really difficult, I tried do it but unsuccessful. I wasted three epoxy kits for about $30 each. I was beginner, the table was about 9sq/ft, and work temperature was about 60F, but it must be at least 70F.
Advise: keep recommended temperature, avoid dusting and any moving around table while epoxy curing, set up the table level. It is possible to apply 2nd coat if something wrong.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marble Restoration

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 4:46AM
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