If you have an older wooden table that is still structurally in good shape but is showing a bit of wear in the finish, a good solution is to strip and refinish it. This process is not as complicated as you might think, and you should be able to complete it within two days.
Stage 1: Strip the table top.
Purchase a good quality paint stripper, like Dip 'N Strip, from your local home improvement store. One that has a gel rather than a liquid formula is a good choice. Then, use a foam paintbrush to apply an even layer of the paint stripper over the table top. Cover one small section at a time, and place plastic wrap on top of a section immediately after you complete it. Once the entire table top is covered in paint stripper and plastic wrap, let it sit for 2 hours (or longer if specified on the paint stripper instructions).
Peel the plastic wrap off one section at a time, and use a paint scraper to scrape off the finish. It should come away from the table easily. You may need to use a soft cloth to wipe up the last traces.
When you're finished with the table top, turn over the table and repeat this same process on the legs and underside of the table. If the table legs have a lot of grooves in them, you may need to use a cotton swab to make sure the stripper gets into them completely, and then again to remove the finish after the stripper has sat.
Safety Warning: Most paint strippers give off harsh fumes and thus should only be used in a ventilated area. Consider doing this project on your porch or in the garage with the door open. Make sure you wear gloves to prevent the stripper from coming into contact with your hands.
Stage 2: Refinish the table.
Once you have stripped all of the finish from the table, let it sit for at least 3 - 4 hours. This will ensure any last traces of the paint stripper have time to evaporate.
Choose the stain color you prefer. Note that if there are any traces of the old stain left, they will likely be camouflaged if you choose a slightly darker stain. Apply some stain to a foam paintbrush, and apply it evenly to to the table, working on one small space at a time. Give the stain a minute or so to sink in, and then wipe up any extra with a soft cloth.
Once the entire table has been stained, allow it to rest for a day. Then, use another foam brush to apply a thin layer of polyurethane sealer over the entire table. You may want to do the top, allow it to dry, and then turn over the table to do the legs and bottom surface.
19 November 2015
A few years ago when I bought my first home, I had no idea the problems I would encounter. Soon after moving in, I realized that the bathroom was filled with water problems and that the garage door opener ceased to function. After fixing a few leaks and replacing a motor, things started to work a little better. However, I couldn't get over how difficult it was to spot the issues in the first place. On my website, you will learn how to find issues and repair them, so that you don't have to face the same trouble I did.