This is my friend Katie's table. It’s a very large tiger oak table. This table has 3 inserts so it is huge! She wanted it refinished. So I started.
To begin with you need to remove all finish and stain. You could use a chemical stripper but with tables I prefer good old fashioned sanding. I got out my ¼ sheet sander and started with a 60 grit. Table tops usually have many layers of finish so you need to start with a rough sandpaper not all sand papers are created equal so get some good stuff. I got this 60 grit at Lowes. Its by 3M. It said it worked faster and lasted longer, it was also more expensive at about $1 a sheet but it did the job nicely and quickly. Here is the table after 10 minutes
There were a few parts of the table that I had to hand sand.
The edge needed this but with a few tricks it worked well as you can see.
Here we are with all the finish and stain gone! Wohoo! It took many hours but I don't mind that.
Next I sanded it all down with a 150 grit which is what I like to use on oak right before I stain. So I sanded it all down and then used my shopvac to get all the dust off then I used my hand to get the fine dust off. I tested it with a rag and it was clean and ready for stain.
See its all ready for stain!
I did some testing under the table to see how long it would take and how dark I could get it. It was kind of a disappointment.
The top left is two coats 15 minutes each, right next to it is one coat of 10 minutes, next to that is 7 minutes and next to that is wipe on and wipe off. The Bottom half is all two coats at different time intervals. As you can see it all looks exactly the same so I was rather disappointed that their instructions say it gets dark the longer you leave it on and that the more coats you do the darker it is. Maybe it was because it was oak. Either way I am not a big fan of minwax anymore and hope later to try out some wood dyes on other projects. This is essentially what I got:
This was the color we really wanted, which is what comes out of the can and then you wipe it off...
and get this
I guess that’s just minwax. It still looks beautiful though and has a lot of character already. I did not use a wood conditioner and I am kind of glad I didn't because I think it would have been even lighter which was not desired. I left the stain on for 10 minutes and then wiped it all off.
* Warning you shouldn't stain in the sun light, at least I don’t think you should, I was in my garage and the sun was shining in on a few places and the stain would bleed little dots all over so I had to keep wiping them off until I figured out it was the sun and closed the garage door.
I let the stain dry for 24 hours then I started my first coat of waterlox finish. It was my first time using it but I heard and read so many good things that I bought some. Click here for a fantastic youtube Tutorial. It costs $33 a quart on amazon.com but I think its well worth it. I wanted an easy to apply finish that would be strong enough for a table. It is also supposed to hide scratches easily and after years of use you can sand it lightly with a 320 grit and reapply which you can’t do with a polyurethane. So I used a foam brush and brushed it all on thinly and evenly. You need to let some airflow in the room its drying in or it wont set up right. I waited 24 hours as the can stated and put on my second coat. After each second coat I lightly sanded with a 320 grit from 3M. I did 5 coats total.
Then I let it sit and cure for 7 days. I believe the longer you let it cure the better.
So I did this table backwards and waited until I was finished with the table top to fix the wobbles. Fix the wobbles first! I had my husband fix the wobbles with wooden dowels. If you want to know how he did it you can comment and Ill tell you.
Then I painted the legs with Zinsser oil based primer (no sanding involved)
Painted it with the cream color my friend chose( Let your primer and paint dry as stated on the can before you put your finish on) and then put a coat of Rustoluem water based polyurethane.
It was FANTASTIC. The finish isn't too shiny it’s a satin really. And then let that cure for 3 days
Here is the end result again! I think it all looks lovely!
a close up of the grain.
I am going to deliver her table and chairs and then take some photos of them set up in her house! I am so excited for her to see them. Here is the Reveal
Next up is the chairs and how they were refinished.