How do I make an old homemade Irish table into a dining table?

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I found this very old and distressed Homemade Irish table and would love to hear how to refinish or whatever to make it into a dining table of a medium to dark color, yet still retain its old look? HELP!!! I love the old table, but have no clue what to do with it to make it useable. Please help me!!!

q how to make an old homemade irish table into a dining table
  13 answers
  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Jan 21, 2020

    OMG What a beauty! I would sand the entire thing down with fine grit sand paper no need to go overboard you want to just take the top layer off, this will retain all of the old nicks and dents etc. Then you can stain it in a darker stain of your choice. After that a couple of coats of a sealant such as polyurethane or polycrylic will protect it and it'll be ready to enjoy many meals on!

  • Pamela Pamela on Jan 21, 2020

    What a beautiful find !!! I am sorry , my answer won't help you , I would leave it as it is , just clean it well and use a clear coat seal on it , it really is a beautiful piece !!!

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Jan 21, 2020

    First, I cannot tell it is “dining height” and shall work on your asked questions. As in no discussion on height changes.


    yes, I would sand it a bit, but more importantly make sure the joints are tight and there leg “feet” are completely devoid of decay.


    An additional reason to finely sand the entire thing is to get it to take stain evenly.

    I would use a Pre-Stain Sealer as this looks like a porous wood. It will make it more even and conserve how many coats of stain you apply.


    stick with the same medium - either all oil-based or all water-based.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Jan 21, 2020

    WOW, this is an amazing find. I would use fine steel wool to smooth initially. If that isn't sufficient, step it up to a fine sandpaper.

    I would stain the top a dark color and then lighter on the legs.

  • William William on Jan 21, 2020

    What a beautiful piece. I'm jealous. I would just lightly sand any imperfections with 220 grit sandpaper. Not the whole table. I would not stain it or poly it. I would use either tung oil or danish oil. Will slightly darken the wood and seal it but not lose the beauty or integrity of the wood.

  • Tracy Tracy on Jan 21, 2020

    I would say it depends on what you will be using it for. It's a lovely old piece & I'd be tempted to leave it as is just making sure that it's sturdy enough for your intended purpose. Maybe scrub it down & then use a furniture oil to bring out the grain & keep the wood healthy. Would look great with homespun type linens on it!

  • Megan Megan on Jan 21, 2020

    Oh I love this!! I would Slater it in white furniture wax. It will give it an even more beautiful durable finish!

  • Morgan McBride Morgan McBride on Jan 22, 2020

    To make it darker, you will want to stain it. Sanding it with an electric sander will smooth it out.

  • Joyce L Nevels Joyce L Nevels on Jan 23, 2020

    The table looks to be a light shade of yellow, so I assume it is oak. But coming from Ireland over a hundred years ago, I really don't know what it is. There is many years of use on it, with paint, dirt, gouges, and a lot of hard use. It is definitely hand made by the way the table is constructed. I want to use it as a dining table. It is 30 inches high, so it is good for the height. It will be a small table, but that works for me. I want to sand it down to get most of the really bad spots gone, and then stain it a bit darker than the oak. I will be moving into an old home built in the 1800's, so I want to maintain that style, but I want it to look nice enough for guest to eat on. I have never done any kind of refinishing, most less endeavored to tackle this kind of old piece. I would appreciate any and all help or ideas on what to do and how to do it...Thank you all so much...The room I will be putting this in is not too large, but it opens up into the living room with darker furniture. I also intend on finding old chairs to redo the same way. The house will not be formal at all, just an everyday comfortable, yet suitable for guest. Please feel free to contact me if anyone has any ideas or questions...I need all the help I can get to make this the best I can make it...Thanks again!!!

  • Joy30150932 Joy30150932 on Jan 23, 2020

    If you want a hard finish, I would sand it down completely to get it clean. If you want color, then consider a stain and then put three coats of Diamond Finish Varathane over top., sanding lightly in between cots and removing any dust accumulation before putting on the next coat. On a good day you could probably do all three coats in one day providing the varathane is completely dry in between coats. If you decide to paint it be sure to put on a good base of primer first and at least two coats of finish.

  • Joyce L Nevels Joyce L Nevels on Jan 23, 2020

    Some more pictures...


  • Dixie Henson Dixie Henson on Jan 25, 2020

    I have one a lot like that I sanded it left the top natual and a darker stain on the legs. And put a finish that looked a hole lot milk. On another one I finished the legs with wax that’s a pretty finish.