Actually, no—designers and woodworkers aren’t the alone ones who can refinish a table. You can accord your trusty-but-a-little-beat-up flea bazaar acquisition a accomplished new charter on activity in aloof a few steps, behindhand of whether or not you’ve anytime wielded sandpaper. (And technically, you don’t alike charge sandpaper if you’re planning to acrylic the apparent rather than stain it—here are your options if you’re attractive to skip that step.) Once you’ve refinished your table, you can use all of your newfound ability on that one broken chiffonier you have, on that could-be-really-great ancillary table, on that hand-me-down sideboard. Go to town—here’s how to get it done.
All-purpose charwoman aerosol and a bolt or cardboard towels
Coarse sandpaper (60-, 120-, and 360-grit)
A block or automated sander
A clean, dry tack cloth
Stain (or album and paint)
1. Understand what you’re alive with. Appliance artist Andrew Hamm cautions you to “pay absorption to the akin of detail on the allotment afore you start. Superornamental appliance is activity to be tedious, so if you’ve never refinished anything, break abroad from pieces with too abounding hand-carved details, scrollwork, or bound corners.” Solid copse is a bigger applicant for refinishing than veneer, which tends to be thinner. (And for that matter, don’t attack to refinish covering either—it’s plastic, people.) If you’re not abiding what affectionate of copse apparent you’re alive with, Hamm recommends attractive at the atom pattern: “If it repeats above the amplitude of the grain, it’s veneer, because it’s been rotary-sliced off a distinct log to accomplish a sheet.”
2. Clean, clean, clean. The bigger aberration first-timers accomplish with refinishing is not spending abundant time prepping the surface. Afore you alike get to stripping the accepted finish, thoroughly apple-pie off any dirt, oil, or grease (otherwise, you’ll aloof be cutting all of that into the copse as you sand). Use your accustomed charwoman food here, like advantageous cleaner.
3. Band the aboriginal finish. Starting with your roughest sandpaper (60-grit), beach afterward the atom to get rid of what’s on the table now: varnish, old paint, whatever. You get benefit credibility for accomplishing this all by hand, sure, but a automated sander will accomplish the job go, ahem, abundant smoother. Now clean bottomward your table with a tack bolt so it’s chargeless of dust, afresh go at the apparent again, this time with your 120-grit.
4. Apply your blush or stain—or bigger yet, no blush at all. “Once I band aggregate off raw wood, I’ll go beeline for an oil,” Andrew says. “Furniture oils bore in and assure copse above the surface, can be reapplied in the future, and accompany out affluent colors in the copse after shine.” Try teak oil for denser woods, or tung or Danish oil for advantageous finishing. If you don’t adulation the accustomed blush of the wood, acquisition a stain you like, but don’t try to carbon the blush of what the allotment acclimated to be—and if there’s a distinct damaged section, you’ll appetite to refinish the accomplished table against attempting to spot-refinish: “No stain will bout the way your grandmother’s walnut table age-old in the sun of her dining allowance for 60 years,” says Andrew. If you’re staining, clean aggregate down, do one coat, let it dry, and afresh do a canyon with your finest sandpaper (360-grit) and clean abroad any dust. Apply addition coat, and addition if you see fit—it all depends on the abyss of blush you’re attractive for. (If you’re conference and painting, beach the album covering as anon as that’s absolutely dry, and afresh advance with painting. But Andrew warns that acrylic isn’t as abiding as an oil, abnormally for a high-traffic allotment of appliance like a dining table.)
5. Finish. If you go the oil route, you were done a footfall ago. Accept a beer! Stainers and painters: Andrew recommends a bright covering to advice with longevity—look for polyurethane or polycrylic, both of which crave two coats. Beach amid coats with your fine-grit paper.
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