Is this solid wood?

sharooneyJuly 9, 2014


I'm thinking of restoring this table but worried it might be veneer in places
The problem with the table is at meal times it soaks up any spills and splash marks that the kids make so it's looking pretty grubby.
I'm planning to sand it and oil it. (First timer)
I have to try something before I buy another.
Any advice would be great.

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That part of the table looks solid - the interlocking part.

Does the grain on the top match (fairly well), the grain at the same place on the underside? If so, it's a solid piece of wood.

For a dining table, clean it well with mineral spirits, sand it lightly and put several coats of a polyurethane sealer on it. Oil won't resist children as well.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 6:26AM
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Clean it with TSP and let dry completely(24-36 hours).

Sand lightly(by hand with 150 grit sandpaper. You want to rough the surface, not sand away any material.

Please do not use polyurethane---it is plastic and chips with hard use. Those chips cannot be repaired without removing all the poly on the area(leg side/tabletop/etc).

Instead, use real varnish---making sure it is not polyurethane varnish. You may have to go to a real paint store or an Ace Hardware store to get fresh varnish. Varnish does have a shelf life and will not dry completely if too old.

Real varnish can be spot repaired---spot sanded and new varnish applied and feathered.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:08PM
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I finished my kitchen table with polyurethane over 30 years ago, raised two children and all of their friends playing and eating at that table every day. It has some abrasions and cuts in a few places but no chips, and overall looks remarkably good. Our house has all the woodwork finished with polyurethane and despite extensive wear and tear from kids, cats, and careless adults doing continuous construction projects has held up and looks very good, with no chipping. Our floors have always been polyurethane, either oil or catalyzed water based, and while the oil-base material wears through after a while I've never seen it chip.

I see no evidence that polyurethane is anything other than an excellent choice for hard-used wood surfaces.

What makes polyurethane other than a "real" varnish (or for that matter, any more a "plastic" than the other resins used in varnishes)? It's just a different resin than the older alkyd or phenolic resins, but it is still a mixture of resin and polymerizing oil, which is, I think, the definition of a varnish.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 2:50PM
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