My table project is done!

franksmom_2010March 17, 2013

Thank you for all of the good advice and suggestions!

I bought this old dining table off of Craig's List, and planned to either paint it, or refinish the top, because the factory finish was damaged. It's an old Drexal, and after taking a closer look at it, I decided it would be a shame to paint it.

I masked off the bottom, and stripped the old finish. Turns out all of the color was in the lacquer, so I had to stain it as well.

After staing, I applied two coats of Zinsser Seal Coat, sanded lightly, and applied 7 or 8 coats of wiping varnish, sanding after every 3 coats or so. After the varnish cured for 2 weeks, I sanded with 0000 steel wool, and polished with Johnson's paste wax.

The finish is not perfect, and this project would have been infinitely easier if all of the grain went in the same direction.

If I had it to do over, I would have very carefully sanded the bare wood to flatten out the grain, and I would have done a more careful applying/sanding job of the shellac. I have reminded myself that the table will be covered with a cloth 99% of the time, and that the pedestal base isn't perfect, either, so an imperfect top is really no big deal.

When the top was finished, I cleaned the pedestal with mineral spirits, touched up any scratches or nicks with the matching stain, and polished with paste wax.

Here it is:

And with all of the leaves:

One last a few areas, my wax looks a tiny bit smeary and the sheen is uneven. I can't see my fingerprint in it, so I don't think I have too much wax, but what can I do to make that look better? Another rubdown with the steel wool? Wipe it down with MS? Apply another coat of wax? Throw the tablecloth on it and call it done?

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Buff it again?

That's a lovely table, and a really good refinising.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:14PM
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Good job! I "followed" your adventure with this table, tring to learn something. Your perseverence paid off.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 9:15PM
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Thanks so much!

You know, sanding veneer is such a bugaboo, that I was afraid to do it, but a gentle sand with a 180 grit or so would have made all of the difference. Oh well, next time! :)

Oh, and for anyone wondering, the Formby's "low gloss" really wasn't for me. I don't know if it was the shellac underneath, or the first few coats done with high gloss, or what, but that dull satin sheen only came from lots and lots of rubbing.

Now if anyone has staining advice, I could use some help. I'm trying to stain a set of unfinished chairs to match, and there is glue residue all over the chair backs. I tried a light sanding, and those areas still won't take a stain. Short of more vigorous sanding, any clever ideas how to remove that glue? I didn't plan on painted chairs, but that's what they'll be if I can't fix it.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Good job @franksmom_2010, all your efforts have paid off and you have got this amazingly beautiful table. Thanks for sharing the pics with all of us on board.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 2:03PM
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@franksmom, dried glue is a pain in the backside to deal with. There's really no good solution other than sanding to remove the residue once it's dried.

I think painted chairs would look good as a compliment to the stained table. You could go back and repaint the base of the table the same color you do the chairs to unify the two elements. Google "milk paint" for a description on a product that may give you "the look".

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:10PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I love it! Great job!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 2:40PM
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What brand wiping varnish did you use on it?

I remember you from the Texas Gardening and Decorating forums. (our brick colors) You did a great job on the refinishing. I never find any quality items on CL, at least without driving to the burbs north of Dallas.

This post was edited by marti8a on Fri, Jun 7, 13 at 11:56

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 11:23AM
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really nice table and good job. Grain looks lovely.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 1:55PM
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Holly- Kay

Wow! Lovely table. Very nicely done!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 8:39AM
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Thanks so much!

I just used Formby's "Tung oil finish" ...not really tung oil, but a decent enough wiping varnish. My only gripe is that the "satin" sheen is pretty glossy, so it took a lot of rubbing to knock down the shine.

The chairs are finished!! I cleaned and sanded those joints over and over, and still couldn't get every trace of glue off. I was about to give up and paint them, when I decided to "antique" the joints using oil based black paint. I just dry brushed a bit into all of the nooks and crannies, gently wiped most of it off, then let it dry a few days. Then I just stained and varnished just like the table. I'm really happy with how the whole set turned out!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 10:12PM
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Marti8a, did you ever pick a paint color? I'm pretty sure we're just going to use off-white for the trim, but I haven't painted up a sample yet. Who knew this would be so hard?! Please post pictures when your project is done!

That table was a total score, and I still can't believe that we got it. I either don't find anything worth buying on CL, or it's already sold by the time I hear from the seller.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 10:17PM
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No, I haven't picked another paint color. I had picked a dark sand color, but everyone told me my brick looked pink in comparison. I think I'm going to look at a brownish gray. It is hard. My trim is going to off-white also. That was an easy pick.

I love how your chairs turned out. Great idea to use the black on the glue areas.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 5:18PM
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