How to refinish a built-up surface?

deedee-2008March 7, 2008

I inherited a beautiful trestle table that I believe was purchased in the 1930s-1940s from the Hale Furniture Company. It is in perfect shape, but the finish on the top surface of the table is thick and soft, where I can actually scratch it with my fingernail. Also, my grandmother had it covered with a vinyl tablecloth that had the cotton backing on it, resulting in tiny wisps of cotton sticking to the finish. What shall I remove all this "stuff" with? I plan on using it in our kitchen. It's a very priceless piece to me, sentimentally. Thanks

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Is the finish intact? If so, it may be just a buildup of wax. Try washing it down with mineral spirits, then rub straight with the grain with 4/0 steel wool followed by Guardsman polish. If this doesn't quite do it, but the finish is still intact, you can try hand rubbing it as they did at the factory.

Wet the table top with mineral oil, Sand with 400 grit wet or dry paper on a rubber sanding block, be careful not to sand through on the edges. Wipe off the residue and repeat the operation with 500 grit wet or dry paper. Rub with 4/0 steel wool after cleaning off the sanding residue.
Polish with Guardsman polish.

If the finish is not intact, you need to refinish it.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 4:05PM
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Agree with Furnone. There is no saving a finish that has degraded to goo.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 6:00PM
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Thanks to both of you. I will try your suggestions. It's very difficult to actually see if the finish is intact at this point due to the thick gooey build up on top.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 7:25AM
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