A Quick Pub Table Refurbish

7 Materials
2 Days

If you read my post about repairing and reupholstering a couple of tall chairs, you'll know that I was on the lookout for a tall (pub) table. If you didn't see the chair post, you can find it here: https://www.hometalk.com/44339987/have-you-used-burlap-to-upholster-here-is-my-first-experience-with-it

Goodwill find

Now that I had two tall chairs, I needed to find a tall table. I started, as I usually do, online where they are referred to as 'pub' tables. There were several options that I liked: wood only, metal only, wood & metal. I settled on a wood/metal combo that was just around $100. Before buying it, though, I knew I'd be looking around for something less expensive. I headed to the Goodwill....To my surprise and delight, I found exactly what I was searching for; and it was only $24.99 before the 20% discount!

Time to refinish

The table was stained with a dark finish, just like the chairs had been so I knew I could refinish it in the same way. As with the chairs, I didn't think I would need to use a stripper. Besides, it's messy! So, I decided to simply sand off the finish. For this process, I used my 5" orbital sander & a 220 grit sandpaper to remove the finish, and just like when I sanded the chairs, it worked beautifully!

Table has been sanded

I was excited to see that the sanded wood looked just like the wood on the chairs - bonus! Once the table had been sanded, I wiped it down with a soft cloth and then followed up with a tack cloth. Now it was time to seal the table for outdoor use. I usually use water-based Polyurethane for all my wood furniture but since I planned to use the table on the deck, I wanted to protect the wood as best I could.

Sealing the table

I did some research to find the best product to use and found Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane. It is an oil-based finish created for outdoor use. I didn't need much so I planned to buy a quart. Home Depot didn't carry the product and Lowes only had the Satin in a gallon size. Ah well, maybe I'd find other uses for it. I bought the gallon (*spoiler alert - I've already used it on two other projects this summer) and brought it home. Because it is oil-based, I also bought a couple of paintbrushes that I could toss if I wasn't able to get them clean after use.

Applying the sealer

The instructions on the can are to apply 2-3 light coats, allowing at least 4 hours of dry time, then doing a light sanding before applying the next coat. I followed the directions exactly, applying 3 coats and the finish on the table came out great!

3 coats of sealer

Although this is Satin, it does have a bit of a sheen as opposed to being flat like the other brands of topcoat I have used. It also provides a warm, golden glow to the wood.

Damaged corners

After I started sanding off the finish, I noticed that the tabletop was not real wood but a veneer over particleboard. Also, the corners had damage. That wasn't thrilling, but I figured since it was only $25 ish, I'd work with it. Once I finished sanding and sealing the table, I decided to protect the corners.

Installing metal corner pieces

I found metal corner protectors on Amazon. I ordered 1.5" x 1.5" in a Bronze Tone, Pack of 24 for $7.99 What a deal! To install the metal corners, I used a small hammer and a pair of needle-nosed pliers. I needed the pliers to hold the nails because they are so tiny!

To my delight, the corner pieces fit perfectly and did the job I was looking for, they hid the damage on the table.


I have used this little table and chairs several times since I finished refurbishing the set. I found a darling little footstool at a garage sale for $5 and it is the perfect height to use with the chairs.

Using the table
Finished set

The project was much easier than I anticipated! Hubby and I are thrilled with how the table turned out! I am estimating the cost at $35 which is the amount of the table, paintbrushes & metal corners. I had all the tools and sealer on hand.

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Frequently asked questions

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  1 question
  • Dasheila Dasheila on Oct 13, 2020

    Spar urethane. I covered a table with it for outdoor/porch use. My son contacted me and told me his cup of coffee left a circle. 1) spar product is for use on boats (or am I remembering wrong) ....why would it leave a circle from wetness? 2) Loved the finish, and was ready to use again. Do you have issues with the product?


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3 of 21 comments
  • Michele Tatro Michele Tatro on Oct 13, 2021

    Corner protectors=decorative accent! Who knew?

  • Em Em on Oct 14, 2021

    Great idea for the corner protectors. Great save. Love the chairs as well.

    • Jeanne Jeanne on Oct 15, 2021

      Thanks! It's been a fun set to have on the upper deck. I love being able to see it from the dining room too!