DIY: Refinish an Old Oak Table (Before & After)

Our family has taken over most of the Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners over the last few years -- and our old bistro height table for 8 was feeling... tight. We really needed a larger table but the budget was almost nothing.
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Fresh Crush

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Joanne Moore
    on Nov 13, 2015

    What finish did you put on to protect the tabletop? A clear coat of ????

    • Fresh Crush
      on Nov 16, 2015

      @Joanne Moore I used Varathayne. You can find it at Home Depot. Thanks. :)

  • Leslie Lazzarini
    on Nov 23, 2015

    I just got almost that exact same table and decided to sand the top down and refinish but trying to MATCH with old color (and the 8 chairs that I definately don't want to redo!) I don't think I'll have a problem with the color matching but as with your table, it seems there is some kind of contrasting filler in the grain. I have noticed that at the edges of my table the contrasting grain is much lighter. I'm curious if I have to sand the whole table down further or if I can just use something contrasting for the edges? (You didn't seem to have this problem from your pics?)

    , Where the top edges look less contrasting in grain the wood itself feels a bit rougher That is why I am leaning towards some type of wood filler, I would love to hear back from you with any suggestions you may have
    • Fresh Crush
      on Nov 24, 2015

      @Leslie Lazzarini Hi Leslie. I did not use any kind of filler on my table. If you sand it down enough, so that all of the old finish is gone, the wood should want to take your new stain evenly. Mine took a couple coats to get an even application. The outer edge/trim on my table wasn't a different wood, but it did have a lot less grain in it. (compared to the flat table top), but it took the stain the same. Looks like you're doing a great job with your sanding! In my photos, the second from the last looks like it had a bit of a lighting glare, the one above (third to last) better depicts the edge of the table and the new stain. Hope that helps a little! Good luck!!

  • Cara Erickson
    on Dec 2, 2017

    We have the same table and refinished it but for some reason the leaf extensions did not take the stain the same way the rest of the table top did. Do you happen to know why that would be or what we can do so that it all matches?

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4 of 172 comments
  • Leslie Lazzarini
    on Nov 24, 2015

    PS: You got a great deal on a solid oak table, I paid $450 for the kit and kaboodle, but with the two leaves and all those chairs, I still got a great deal. This is definately an heirloom piece!

  • Tina Raasch
    on Mar 15, 2016

    The chairs look great with the table. You have wicked decorating skills!

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