Finishing project for newbie - advice needed!

fourambluesSeptember 11, 2012

Our almost renovated kitchen looks so nice, but everything in the house looks so tired in comparison, and we have no spending money to replace things. So I'll be trying to reupholster and refinish what I can. Specifically, our oak kitchen table needs help. I'd like to strip it (I think it's polyurethane), and stain it dark so that the grain doesn't show as much. Then I want to Waterlox it. I've never done this before, and am at a loss on what products (stripper and stain) are effective, easy for a novice to use, and not too toxic. I will be doing this outside. Any suggestions?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First of the table veneer or solid? Is it chipped and dinged or just the wrong color?
If the color is wrong you can always add a tinted varnish, after lightly sanding and cleaning well.
If it's solid I would use a water wash stripper....if it's veneer I would use something that you use mineral spirits to clean you don't lift the veneer. Nothing that will remove polyurethane is non need to be outside or have a good ventilating fan.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 11:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Most strippers you can find will be methylene chloride. You should definitely use this outside. A semi-paste will give you some time, just don't over brush it on. Less common is NMP. MC will work better but is more "toxic" The biggest mistake is not to give the stripper enough time to work. Let it sit and do its job. I usually put a sheet of plastic over the stripper to keep it from evaporating away too fast.

Unless someone finished this in their hobby workshop, it's likely not polyurethene. It's just not a production finish. More likely for a factory finish is lacquer. I like to use acetone as a rinse as it will also strip off the little residue of finish that might remain. If you want to get it out of the pores, use a Scotch-Brite scrub pad (maroon or light grade) with the acetone. Do not use steel wool for this as the iron in it will react with the tannins in oak and leave black stains.

Tinted varnishes such as Polyshades are terrible products. Very difficult to get on evenly and poor adhesion to most under coats. CIAC.

If you want to reduce the dark-light contrast on the grain, you want to use a dye-based stain, not a pigment based one. Problem is, the yellow cans you find at a home center will not tell you which is it. A real woodworking stores will have liquid or powdered dyes. Otherwise, you have to open the can to check for sludge on the bottom (the settled out pigment)

I'd recommend getting Bob Flexner's "Understanding Wood Finishing" at your library or bookstore and reading relevant sections of stains and varnishes. It's a great book.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:15PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
paint or restain moldings
I have a 28 year old view home with dark bronze aluminum...
protecting black walnut salt and pepper mill
Hi all, Just got a set of gorgeous discontinued William...
Peeling railings and windows
Hi, Around 8 months ago I put new spar varnish on my...
Ryan Tetuan
southern yellow pine ceilings - how to tone down yellow
Hi, all. We are currently building: natural cherry...
Varnish cracking and brittle on table with Inlay work
The varnish or poly is looking so bad I want to redo...
Sponsored Products
Distinctive Three-Light Wall Sconce
$298.00 | Bellacor
Rialto Rectangular Wall/Ceiling Light by Ai Lati Lights
$222.72 | Lumens
Comfort Dreams 8-inch Twin XL-size Memory Foam Mattress
Cirrus Float T1 Lens End Feed Suspension
52" Minka Aire Wing White Ceiling Fan
Lamps Plus
Majestic Overview II Wall Art
$419.00 | FRONTGATE
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™