oak table

musicteacherJune 13, 2013

I am sanding the top only of a 30 year old oak table.
I bought it unfinished and originally used Zar tung oil which turned out to be an excellent finish though 30 years of kids and grandkids in the kitchen, craft projects, etc First, I can't seem to sand it perfectly, there is a bit of shine still in the little grains of the oak. Will that matter much? I feel like I might have to take off 1/8 inch of wood to get through that. Also, I can't find Zar locally, what would be a good, durable finish for a hardworking kitchen? Thank you for your help.

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First, Zar Tung Oil [Finish] is not tung oil and does not contain tung oil -- it's a wiping varnish.

Secondly, if you are trying to "strip" the finish, sanding is a poor way to do it. Unless you take off, as you say, 1/8", you are not going to remove all the old finish and contaminants. Get a stripper, work outdoors, and do it right.

I'd prefer a non-poly finish such as Waterlox or Behlen's Rockhard. But if you want to go the poly route, try General Finishes Arm-r-Seal (despite the label that says "oil - urethane blend" (obfuscated description for "polyurethane varnish") It's a wiping poly varnish, similar to the Zar you used before.

If you've ever used Pledge on the table, I'd precede the varnish with a coat or two of Zinsser's SealCoat (100% dewaxed amber shellac). This will seal in silicone oil found in Pledge.

Here is a link that might be useful: Oil Finishes

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 3:42PM
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Thank you bobsmyuncle. Now I've done it. I acted before I read your post and have a mess on my hands. I sanded really well (no, didn't strip) applied minwax stain and it was looking real good. Then I applied minwax poly because that is what I found in the garage - unopened. It said to sand and recoat in 3-4 hours. Well I waited about 10 and it still felt a little tacky but I went ahead and started sanding. What was I thinking? What a mess - gooey, pieces of the finish rolling off. So now I guess I go do what you said and strip it, right ? Do you think the oil based stain had anything to do with it? It dried up real well to the touch. So now strip, stain seal, wipe on American finishes, right? So mad at myself. The family has been eating standing up around the kitchen counter! : ) Guess they will be there for a while.....

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Yep, take a mulligan and start over.

I saw the video below at lunch today. It's not bad. I would not use steel wool during the stripping process, particularly on oak. Any shards left behind could turn black.

The other caveat is that Minwax is a sponsor, so take that with a grain of salt.

Here is a link that might be useful: refinishing a table top

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 9:12PM
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