Can I replace a table top?

adh673August 8, 2010

I have a french countrydining table set with rush seats that I got online about 10 years ago. It was really cheap but quiet solid. Aside from the fact that it seems like the wood varies throughout.

I am doing a remodel and am wondering if can salvage it for the new kitche. I would love a reclaimed wood farm house table however I have young kids that like sharpie markers, so I am thinking its best if I have a table that I dont care about for now.

The top of the table appears to be oak (only part that appears as oak the rest is a very mild if any grain). It was a faux beam effect by someone routering in lines about 1/4 inch and darkening them. Underneath the table it doesnt appear to be oak. So I dont know if this is a veneer or what it is. I was thinking of stripping it and trying to stain it walnut while painting the rest of the table and chairs a distressed creamy white. (my new kitchen is creamy white and walnut stained knotty alder cabinets and wide plank walnut floors). However, its possible the top will simply fall apart with this, as I am not sure its solid. If it DOES, is there such a thing as just replacing the top or am I inventing problems for myself. I will probably have left over walnut planks but I think possibly the floor and table matching might be bizarre. Or maybe I could get my hands on some reclaimed barnwood or heart pine and is it possible for someone to remake the table top at a cheap price? I dont want to spend a ton saving my $600 set!

Advice very much appreciate! TIA!

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You may or may not be able to strip the table top depending on what material it is made of. If it is wood, then you should be able to strip it. You can have a top made, but the cost could be prohibitive. A picture would help, especially of an edge that might show the thickness of the veneer and the bottom material plus the whole table.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 1:51AM
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Thanks for responding! Here are some pix- they are from my cell phone so sorry for the quality.

I sanded off some of the finish on the corner. I now think it might be solid oak plank? I am not sure. Thoughts?

The unfinished wood is different colors b/c I got part of it wet right before taking this pix (not intentionally).

This one is with my new cabinet doors on top so I'd want to refinish the table to sort of coordinate.

If this oak, I'd like to finish it so it looks aged and then I guess paint the chairs an offwhite and distress them slightly. My floors will be american black walnut so fairly dark.

Would appreciate any advice.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 11:28AM
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From what I can see from the pictures, the top looks like red oak and can be refinished. To say exactly what stains to use, judging from pictures on the computer, would be difficult at best. A book I recommend is, Foolproof Wood Finishing by Teri Masaschi. You can order it on line at Fine Woodworking or other sites that sell books. In this book you will find several recipes for achieving a color, on red oak, close to what you want. This is a good book and if you plan to do this type of thing in the future, you will reference this book many times.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 6:58PM
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It's definitely veneered, not solid wood; edgebanding is obvious in the second pic. Top veneer is red oak. Edgebanding is... who knows? Something else, anyhow.

Refinishing is certainly possible. I don't understand why you're worrying that it might fall apart.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 7:01AM
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Well, I am not a woodworking pro- so I dont know if veneer is likely to come off if you sand it. I saw this table online (since you tell me its red oak veneer) and I like the look of it:

Can i distress veneer? I was thinking some dents and worm holes.

Also, i had read about taking vinegar and steel wool and a tea bag and soaking overnight then applying to the wood to age it. Would that get me any closer to that look in the picture above?

Also to take the current finish off should I strip it or sand it off?


    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 11:41AM
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That second table doesn't appear to be veneer. Doesn't really look like red oak either, but the photo isn't clear enough to be sure.

I don't have any experience with distressing, but denting and puncturing thin commercial veneer seems risky. But, then, you wouldn't be risking much.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 6:43AM
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A iron stain treatment like you propose will only work if the existing finish is stripped. The iron stain, being water-based, is not appropriate for the veneer as it risks undoing the glue in whole or in part. If you want it dark, clean it thoroughly, wipe with naphtha, and wipe on a dark gel stain, topcoat with gel varnish. It's foolproof.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 7:43AM
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