Cynthia H
Cynthia H
  • Hometalk Helper
  • Pittston, PA

Kitchen Table Makeover

6 Materials
$45
5 Days
Advanced

We’ve owned this oak table for well over thirty years. Our youngest wasn’t born yet, when we purchased it, new. Three daughters ate meals, did crafts, homework and painted their fingernails at this old table. Over the years the finish has become worn and stained. It’s really obvious when the large leaf is put in the table - it’s like the table is new only in the middle. So, it was time to try a new approach.
kitchen table makeover
This is the table before I started. I cleaned it and thought a quick sanding would take off the old finish.
kitchen table makeover
A closeup.

kitchen table makeover
I had little luck sanding the finish off, so resorted to stripper.

Look at the stuff scraping off.

kitchen table makeover
After cleaning the stripper residue off, I sanded it until I couldn’t see any old finish.  I knew there would still be marks, but, that was okay, as long as it looked good refinished. It took awhile with my palm sander.

kitchen table makeover
After sanding with the apron of the table painted with chalk paint. The finish is excellent on the legs so I decided to keep them this way for now.
kitchen table makeover
Since my kitchen is also oak, I was debating between a gray weathered look, a color or a whitewash.  I didn’t want to stain darker, since I already have so much wood in the kitchen.   I had been reading about SamaN stains with great reviews for them, so ordered the whitewash stain and the sealer. This is the first application. I used a very light touch and found it was drying much faster than the 10 minutes you are supposed to have to work with it between applying and wiping. I also thought it looked blotchy.

kitchen table makeover
Then I ran into some problems. The stain was drying much faster than the videos and label said. When I tried to work with it, to apply a 2nd coat, it was lifting.
I tried a sponge (which is recommended), a soft cloth, and a brush and a foam roller.  I also tried applying against the grain, and then wiping off excess with the grain as recommended, but found that no matter which applicator I used, there were brush marks, etc. in spite of everything said in the research I had done.  It occurred to me that maybe the whitewash finish, which seems like a thick watered down paint to me, might apply differently that the regular wood stains which is what I saw demonstrated.  So I followed the grain, making long strokes to prevent marks.  It looked better, although it still seemed to dry much quicker than the instructions said it would.  The temperature was 70 degrees and no excessive humidity in my kitchen.

kitchen table makeover
The next morning, I sanded off the excess.  Remember, this is supposed to be a stain, not a paint.  At this point I was ready to admit defeat.  Then I realized one of the areas not taking the stain evenly had been an actual stain that looked like a water mark, which hadn’t shown up when I worked on it to strip it down.  It was as if the stain was bringing it out.  So that had to be sealed, when I realized it couldn’t be sanded out or removed any other way.  Apparently the dark oak finish had hidden it and it hadn’t revealed itself until the staining process.  I even went over some of the pictures I had taken and couldn’t find it.
At this point I was wondering if it was worth all this effort when a regular stain would have been messy, but, easier to do.  Or watered down latex paint for an actual whitewash. But, I gave it one more try. First I after sanding, I applied a sealer coat, even though the instructions said it wasn't needed. I waited four hours to sand it lightly and then reapply the stain.

kitchen table makeover
Finally the finish came together the way I expected it too. My husband didn't mind a whitewash as long as he could still see the wood grain, and this time I worked in very small sections to get the effect I wanted. Here it is after 3 coats of sealer with a light sanding between each. I plan to use at least one more coat of sealer after all the trouble I had getting this finish the way I wanted it, so it lasts for awhile. Would I use this product again? Not the whitewash, but, I might try one of their other stains. There is little to no odor. Cleanup is easy. The sealer seems to dry well. Only time will tell if the product will hold up to regular use.

Suggested materials:

  • SamaN whitewash stain  (Amazon)
  • SamaN sealer  (Amazon)
  • Citristrip stripper  (had on hand)
See all materials

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Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Jjqq
    on May 31, 2017

    What did you do with the leaf? I have a table with the exact issue you had ---brand new leaf -while the rest is old and worn. I really never use the leaf and wonder if there is something I could do with it.
    • Cynthia H
      on May 31, 2017

      Hi! I'm keeping it for family gatherings so that we can all sit together. Since we always use a tablecloth for those occasions (usually Christmas and Easter or birthdays) you wouldn't see it anyway. The table takes up too much room to leave the leaf in it. If you do something with yours, I hope you post it!
    • Danielle Odin
      on Jun 1, 2017

      I love the grain of oak or any other hard wood. I would have rubbed it with wax and that would have been enough for me.
    • Cynthia H
      on Jun 1, 2017

      Normally I would agree with you! But, after 30 years+ I was ready for a change. This way I got the change and kept the grain!
  • San361334
    on Jun 8, 2017

    How is this done whatkind of makeover done
    • Cynthia H
      on Jun 8, 2017

      All the steps are listed in post. Was there a step you had a question about? It was basically a simple refinish of an old tabletop that I no longer liked the look of. I was using a product new to me, so shared my problems with it.
  • Tom24499283
    on Jun 20, 2017

    NO QUESTION. YOU DID A BEAUTIFUL JOB. I HAVE A TABLE THAT IS QUITE OLD. THE TOP HAS TWO SPLITS WHERE IT HAS COME UNGLUED. BUT I STILL ENJOY IT. MY FAMILY OF EIGHT CHILDREN HAD MANY GOOD GETOGETHERS THERE. SO IT HAS SEEN MANY MENORIES. I AM ALONE NOW AND I STILL SIT THERE WITH MY WIFE S PICTURE ON IT. THANKK YOU FOR SHARING...........TOM BOYLEN TOM696@BELLSOUTH.NET

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