Wood Kitchen Table - How to Finish the Top?

lagrangenyFebruary 4, 2013

The rest does not need help...just the top.

Bit of help & direction needed.

Not alot of stains, paints & polyurethane in my basement - so I'd likely be also looking for a "HD" shopping list of recc'dations (LOWES would be just as fine)

A - Sand with ___ grit sandpaper (using Palm Sander)
B - Dust off / wipe down with wet rag / let dry
C - Re-sand with ___ grit sandpaper
D - Dust off / wipe down with wet rag / let dry
E - Stain with rag; let dry overnite
F - Rub down with steel wool (grade of steel wool ????___)
G - Dust off / wipe down with wet rag / let dry
H - One more coat of stain
I - Dust off / wipe down with wet rag / let dry
J - Put on a coat of polyurathane
K - Let it dry
L - Put it back in the Kitchen

This is what I think I should do...but I'm sure it's wrong (or 'misguided' at best)

Anyone have some improvements to my 'roadmap' above ???

Again - will likely only be able to do a HD-type job....(no professional tools or materials at home)

Thank you for your help & suggestions !!!

LaGrange

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bobismyuncle

Is this raw wood new construction, unfinished furniture or recently stripped?

Stains and poly don't have an indefinite shelf life. Get fresh and reduce your risk for a few dollars. If it goes wrong, you're looking at a lot more expense and time to undo and redo.

A - Sand with ___ grit sandpaper (using Palm Sander)
> Start with a grit coarse enough to smooth it out, but not so coarse that it creates more damage. Once it's smooth, subsequent sandings just reduce the scratch pattern to a finer one.

B - Dust off / wipe down with wet rag / let dry
> Dry rag will work. Dampened with mineral spirits if you want. If you dampen with mineral spirits, you will get a preview of what the wood looks like with finish only (no stain).

C - Re-sand with ___ grit sandpaper

> Keep going up to about 180 to 220. You can skip a grit if you want in this sequence: 100-120-150-180-220. If you're using a pad sander, I'd recommend hand sanding the last grit or two. You don't want pigtails.

D - Dust off / wipe down with wet rag / let dry
> same

E - Stain with rag; let dry overnite
> Be sure to wipe off and not leave heavy stain on surface. Depending upon the wood species (and choice of stain) you may get blotching. Whatcha got?

F - Rub down with steel wool (grade of steel wool ????___)
>>>> NO - Not steel wool. Not needed now and not under any coat of finish. It can leave metal shards that can rust and leave ugly spots.

G - Dust off / wipe down with wet rag / let dry
> You don't abrade after the stain, so you won't have anything to wipe off.

H - One more coat of stain
> Usually not needed. But again, depends upon your choice. You might do this to adjust your color to your liking.

I - Dust off / wipe down with wet rag / let dry
>ditto - no abrasion here

J - Put on a coat of polyurathane

> I'd never use less than 4 coats of poly. Less and less thinning as coats progress. Sanding to dull the surface to create a mechanical bond and to remove defects is important between each coat. P400 sandpaper and light gray Scotch-Brite. Apply "as little as possible to ensure complete coverage" at each coat. Thick poly coats lead to brush marks, curtains, and plastic-looking finish.

K - Let it dry
> yep

L - Put it back in the Kitchen

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:06PM
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lagrangeny

Is this raw wood new construction, unfinished furniture or recently stripped?

*** Existing Kitchen Table; not sanded down yet (still in use)

Stains and poly don't have an indefinite shelf life. Get fresh and reduce your risk for a few dollars. If it goes wrong, you're looking at a lot more expense and time to undo and redo.

*** Sounds like some experience here.

*** What kind of stain ??? Alot of confusing choices. What should I gravitate towards ? ...shy away from ???
*** MinWax brand ?
Oil-Based ?
Gel ?
Stay away from PolyShades.
MinWax Polyurathane...Satin? Semi-Gloss ? Gloss ?

A - Sand with ___ grit sandpaper (using Palm Sander)
> Start with a grit coarse enough to smooth it out, but not so coarse that it creates more damage. Once it's smooth, subsequent sandings just reduce the scratch pattern to a finer one.

B - Dust off / wipe down with wet rag / let dry
> Dry rag will work. Dampened with mineral spirits if you want. If you dampen with mineral spirits, you will get a preview of what the wood looks like with finish only (no stain).

*** Regular HD/L Mineral Spirits good enough ?

C - Re-sand with ___ grit sandpaper

> Keep going up to about 180 to 220. You can skip a grit if you want in this sequence: 100-120-150-180-220. If you're using a pad sander, I'd recommend hand sanding the last grit or two. You don't want pigtails.

*** the 180 & 220 by hand; the courser ones by Palm Sander

D - Dust off / wipe down with wet rag / let dry
> same

E - Stain with rag; let dry overnite
> Be sure to wipe off and not leave heavy stain on surface. Depending upon the wood species (and choice of stain) you may get blotching. Whatcha got?

*** I can't identify it...probably not too great - bottom of chairs say "Made in Malaysia". Has a cream-colored opaque finish that's pretty much "done".

F - Rub down with steel wool (grade of steel wool ????___)
>>>> NO - Not steel wool. Not needed now and not under any coat of finish. It can leave metal shards that can rust and leave ugly spots.

*** There will be no steel wool !

G - Dust off / wipe down with wet rag / let dry
> You don't abrade after the stain, so you won't have anything to wipe off.

H - One more coat of stain
> Usually not needed. But again, depends upon your choice. You might do this to adjust your color to your liking.

*** OK.

I - Dust off / wipe down with wet rag / let dry
>ditto - no abrasion here

J - Put on a coat of polyurathane

> I'd never use less than 4 coats of poly. Less and less thinning as coats progress. Sanding to dull the surface to create a mechanical bond and to remove defects is important between each coat. P400 sandpaper and light gray Scotch-Brite. Apply "as little as possible to ensure complete coverage" at each coat. Thick poly coats lead to brush marks, curtains, and plastic-looking finish.

*** OK. 'light grey Scotch Brite' ??? I'm lost on this one.

K - Let it dry
> yep

L - Put it back in the Kitchen

*** Thank you so much !!!
This will be a new 'adventure'...still in a NY winter - so likely won't start till later on...
Again - thank you for steering me in the right direction !!!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:03AM
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bobismyuncle

Is this raw wood new construction, unfinished furniture or recently stripped?

*** Existing Kitchen Table; not sanded down yet (still in use)

> Don't sand off the old finish. Use a stripper. While messy, stripping is faster, easier, goes through much less sandpaper, and removes all the finish. Sanding is just not the way to go. Trust me on this one, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: scotch brite pad

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:57AM
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lagrangeny

Good Morning !!!

I certainly trust you on this one...will strip it instead.
Any brand ? Any different type ?

I see what the Gray Scotch Brite pad in now....not on websites of HD, L, or HF...is this where you order yours from ?

(Still a bit unsure about the types of stain concerns I had from above.)

Are the MinWax products 'good enough' or at least decent ?
Alternatives ?

Thank you once again !!!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:31AM
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tuesday_2008

Since you are only refinishing the top, you will want to match the stain as close as possible to the base of the table. Not sure what that process would be other than guess-work and eyeballing.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:12AM
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bobismyuncle

Most strippers contain methylene chloride. "Semi-paste" is what you want. I don't have a favorite brand. Just pick out the heaviest one; it will have the highest % of MC. Use with plenty of ventilation.

I could not find the Scotch-Brite on the big box web sites, either. Norton and Mirka make similar products. But I buy mine at a local independent paint store catering to professionals. So it's not of much use to you.

Minwax stains are not my favorite. Many of them have both pigment and dye. Some have pigment only; some dye only. Problem is, they don't really tell you. General Finishes makes a good product.

"When it comes to color matching, there is simply no substitute for practice. And the pratice will go more smoothly if you make some stain boards and understand some basic color theory to point you in the right direction." -- Jeff Jewitt

A "real paint store" can often custom match a stain for you. They might need some scrap wood of the same species to run samples on.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:35PM
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