I wanted to make sure I was doing this right before I proceeded. Doing a search for refinishing a table returns the same result - they just say to sand the table down. My concern is, I've spent a lot of time removing the layers upon layers of top coats they had on this table but I'm not completely down to the bare wood. There is still a bit of stain on it - you can see the wood but it's patchy.
My question is - do I have to bring it down to the bare wood and remove all remnants of the existing stain if I'm just going to restain with a similar color? I'm afraid it will be splotchy if I don't but I feel like I could sand for hours and still have a bit of the old stain here and there. Is it better to use one of the chemicals at this point?
I'm not sure what kind of wood it is but it is definitely a solid wood table...nice quality.
Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
What does the wood look like when wiped wet with mineral spirits on a rag? If surface patchiness tends to pretty much even out, then you are good.
If you still see spots/areas lighter/darker, then I would probably get some gel stain in a similar tone. I have found Gel Stain is easier for getting the surface even in color, as you can wipe it on and leave more on in lighter areas, then wipe to check how it is absorbing and toning the wood, till you get a closer match.
Thanks so much for the reply - honestly, I haven't heard of gel stain but I'll look into it and will test out with the mineral spirits as you suggested. Do you recommend the products that claim they eliminate the need for sanding all together? I really want to make sure once I start this process I don't screw it up - this table is going to be a center piece of our main living area.
I think sanding is always the best prep for a smooth finish. Sanding sponges work fairly well, come in different grits and are easy on your hands too. Your sanding strokes should go with the grain (you probably knew that), and make sure to vacuum or tack rag the surface before and between applying finishes.
A pro paint store can often help with specific questions too, if you can bring the item (leaf or drawer, but your table might be too large)
The liquid sandpaper that I am familiar with is just a prep for when one is coating with paint.
What is the look you are after, when stained and varnished? There are different finishes too that can give a variety of results, glosses, protection, and varied number of coats necessary.
Thanks again Conrad - we bought this table off of Craig's - it had some deep gouges and scraps on it. My goal is just to be able to fill in the gouges with wood fill (the kind that can take stain) and then restain it close to the original look...and then put a ton of protection coats on it so this won't be a process I have to repeat .
It sounds like I'm going to have to work on it a bit more by hand - I put some mineral spirits on it but it's hard to tell how it will eventually come out. I can also put some stain on the leaf and see how it will cover on the first go. Depending on how that experiment goes, I can go back to the HW store and see what kind of gel stains they have and ask for some specifics maybe bringin the leaf with me.
Again - I appreciate the feedback!
Those wood fillers may say there stain able but trust me there going to stick out like a sore thumb.
Sand out the gouges or just leave them, do not fill them.
What type wood is it? Soft woods would need a wood conditioner before staining.
Gel stains will be sold right next to the liquid stains. Brush it on let it sit a few min. then just wipe it off.
Wear rubber gloves or it will also stain your hands.
you're going to find out that refinishing is an art. Though I'm not going to teach you how to refinish, I will offer some hints.
turn the table over ( as a test and practice area ) so the bottom is exposed, sand away the old finish in an area about 3 X 3, then make a small gouge in it.Fill the gouge with the filler you are going to use then stain it when the filler is dry. If the color is too dark, repeat the process on another area, except, after the filler is dry, put a thinned coat of what you are going to use as your final finish ( poly, varnish etc, ) coat on the filled gouge, when that is dry, stain the area. The gouge should be a lighter color
If the color is too light, use a darker stain only on the filled gougethen when it is dry, blend the final color around it
Also, you can custom mix your gels (using the same brand ) to get the color you want. Just because the stain /gel says it's cherry doesnt mean that thats the stain that you must use.
I hope this helps,This message has been edited. Last edited by: nona,
All great suggestions - thanks! I'm not sure what kind of wood it is but it appears to be made of 2 kinds - there is a lighter wood in the middle rectangle of the table and a 3 inch or so boarder with a darker wood that makes up the rest of the table as well as the chairs.
Overall - the message I'm getting is that I need to test out how the table will take the stain and this might be a bit of an iterative process.
I'll test out the regular stain and filler I have to see how it goes - and also see if I can simply sand out the gouges. If I don't feel the stain is going on well I'll either continue to sand it down to the bare wood or give the gel stain a try.
Thanks again for all your feedback!
For general message board help, click the tab labeled "Tools," and choose "Help" from the dropdown menu.