Asked on Jul 22, 2015

Refinishing a dining room table

We just bought this beautiful tiger oak table at an antique shop, and I want to put it into our dining room as our main eating area. However, we want to refinish the top of it first to try to protect it, I think the finish is pretty old at this point. We are debating the best way to do this for ease (I am 8 months pregnant and still work 45-85 hours a week) and maximum durability (this probably wont be our only child). Current thought is a light sanding of the top to take off current stains/scratches (we have a electric hand sander), then a coat or two of stain, followed by a coat or two of polyurethane. What do you think?
Part 2: you can kinda see the old metal casters in the picture. We were thinking about replacing these with rubber so they dont mess up our floors. Another options would be to place it on a small rug. Anyone have any insight into what would be better? thank you in advance! (PS the pedestal does actually come together :) )
q refinishing a dining room table, painted furniture
  12 answers
  • Pamela Langone Pamela Langone on Jul 22, 2015
    Try that new Amish wood cleaner first. See what it removes before sanding

  • Z Z on Jul 22, 2015
    What a beautiful table. Sanding can work, but hopefully hubby will be doing this for you and away from you since you are expecting. (Congratulations!) I highly recommend using Tung Oil as the finish. It's food safe and very durable.

  • Funnygirl Funnygirl on Jul 22, 2015
    For the feet they make these square rubber coasters for wood floors.I would not remove the feet,put these under the wheels so the table cannot be moved.Some nice placemats can cover a lot of sins until you are ready to take on a big project or a nice tablecloth.They sell the coasters in the big box stores in different sizes.

    • Melissa Holderread Melissa Holderread on Jul 22, 2015
      @Funnygirl I thought the same thing about placemats/tablecloths when he said we should refinish it, ha! The coasters are a good idea too... thank you!

  • Melinda McBride Melinda McBride on Jul 22, 2015
    Don't remove the original casters. Those rubber coasters Funnygirl mentioned are very inexpensive. About $3 a pack of 4. Unless the grain is raised on the table top I would not sand it. A good cleaning of the entire table, including the base, and then a finish refresher should be beautiful. Look into the Tong Oil as suggested. I know my dad used that.

  • Sherrie Sherrie on Jul 22, 2015
    I would use a finishing sand paper at least 220 grit. It looks like walnut. If it has a sweet smell to it then you have a walnut table, the veneer was thicker back then but if you press hard in sander while your sanding it you can white spot it and it won't hold stain, so slow and steady and use a lot of sand paper. I would also use polyurethane water base. If it was mine I would do at least two coats, sand or use a greenie in between costs, beautiful table! It will turn out prefect. Just don't be in a hurry.

  • Lisa House Lisa House on Jul 23, 2015
    This is a beautiful table and I am glad you are not jumping on the "must paint/stencil" wagon. Please post a photo when done!

  • Lisa House Lisa House on Jul 23, 2015
    This is a beautiful table and I am glad you are not jumping on the "must paint/stencil" wagon. Please post a photo when done!

  • Marie Cyr Beaulieu Marie Cyr Beaulieu on Jul 23, 2015
    Hi, lovely table you have. One way to refinish it is with a product called Painters Powder. It is a chalky mix that you add to any latex pint and it extends the use of your paint and dries very quickly, within 7- 10 min. You could change the color if you wish . Or we have a wonderful Java Gel, that does a wonderful job giving you that wood look still. If you re interested in anymore info please contact me for our WEB page and any questions you may have. Thanks Marie Beaulieu Independent consultant Chalky and Company

  • Sheri Hepworth Sheri Hepworth on Jul 23, 2015
    I would recommend using a strong furniture stripper to remove all the old finish. You wouldn't be able to do this part yourself as it is very toxic. But, it would give you the best result with the least amount of elbow grease. Otherwise, use a fairly heavy grit sand paper on your sander to remove the finish down to the bare wood; it will amaze you what's been covered up by years of waxing. MixWax makes an all-in-one stain and polyurethane finish called PolyShades. After stripping the wood, you can brush the product on, wait four hours, lightly sand, and repeat two more times for a durable finish. In fact, I just finished my kitchen table this way yesterday! By using PolyShades, you don't have to wipe off the stain after every layer. It cuts the finishing time in half.

  • The Redesign Habit The Redesign Habit on Jul 23, 2015
    If you are planning on keeping basically the same color and really just need to remove old varnish and some scratches I would recommend using a product called Citristrip. It works really well and is nontoxic. Follow the directions and leave on for suggested time period to allow the stripper to do it's job. Then you can lightly sand as needed to remove light scratches. Go gently with your sander so you don't mar the wood. Once you're satisfied follow with stain as needed to match color choice and apply several coats of a good poly. Both stain and poly have very strong fumes...probably not great if you're pregnant. Remember to sand lightly and wipe down between coats of poly to get a nice, smooth finish....good luck and please post a pic when you're done! It's a great piece! :)

  • Melinda McBride Melinda McBride on Aug 14, 2015
    Have you decided what to do with the table? I look forward to seeing what you decide to do.

  • Jenn Callum Jenn Callum on Aug 14, 2015
    Lovely table! PLEASE don't paint it. When you sand it down and bring up the original grain again, it's going to be gorgeous.