LumberJocks

How to refinish a cherry dinning room table

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by CatiaMan posted 640 days ago 2605 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello to all and thank you for reading this post,

This blog is to ask if you can identify what the factory finish is on a table I just purchased from a work college for $35 (no chairs). His young children used it while growing up and the finish has many scratches but nothing a bit of sanding won’t take care of. I plan to use my new Mirka jet-air sander (MJVS5) with Abranet sanding disks. The table comes with two leafs, which are still in excellent condition (lower half of 2nd picture) and represent my refinishing goal for the rest of the table. Are you able to tell what the finish is from the pictures? I am fairly inexperienced with finish, I have done some nice work on oak with pumice and boiled linseed oil but this table finish is new to me which is why I’m writing and why I bought the table, perfect to practice on. So the finish is very smooth (light reflecting off it shows the surface is very uniform and smooth) but I would not say it is a high gloss, in my opinion it’s a satin fnish. Here’s my stab at it, the final coat is either varnish or lacquer but some kind of additive was used to create a satin finish. Or the high gloss was knocked off with some 3M scotch pads (or steel wool?). Well as you can see I’m not very finish savvy.

Here is my plan for refinishing:
(1) Sand through existing finish until wood is silky smooth (raise grain with water at some point)
(2) A paste filler fills the open coat,
(3) Apply stain. Try to get as close as possible to the existing color BUT since I am sanding the entire table, including legs, there is no need for a perfect match.
(4) Varnish or lacquer is applied. Since the grain is closed (step 2) even the first coat will provide a very nice smooth finish. Since I am after a satin finish, either rub the gloss off with 3M scotch pads or add something (?) to the finish to take the gloss away.

Let’s say I decide to leave the legs and table skirt as is and try to match the stain/finish of the table top to this, is is ok to practice on the top (after sanding)? Is this impracticle because too much sanding is required to remove the test patches that did not work? Maybe I should sand the underside of the table (or leafs) for color matching the stain?

Looking forward to your comments and thank you for your time and advice.



7 comments so far

View crank49's profile

crank49

3336 posts in 1568 days


#1 posted 640 days ago

I have been able to get a finish that looks like that by buffing laquer with fine steel wool.

Minus the scratches, of course.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2076 posts in 1082 days


#2 posted 639 days ago

A note about Step 1 – Whether or not you use chemical strippers, you can remove existing finish with a card scraper MUCH faster than you can with sandpaper. It’s cleaner, too. More curls, less dust.

-- Brian Timmons, Big T Woodworks - https://www.etsy.com/shop/BigTWW - http://vimeo.com/98821147

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

260 posts in 1785 days


#3 posted 639 days ago

Removing the entire old finish may be overkill. I’ve been successful just sanding the existing finish and then putting down finish on top of the old finish. If the scratches don’t reach the wood, this should be doable—and will save you a lot of work and/or heartache trying to match the stain/color of the existing finish. At the very least, you could try this in a small section and see if it works for you—not much lost if it doesn’t.

View CatiaMan's profile

CatiaMan

19 posts in 1825 days


#4 posted 639 days ago

Brian, great idea to use a scraper or chemical strip, followed by a light sand. I’ll go that way if Scott’s suggestion does not pan out. Scott, the scratches are not deep at all (1/64th or so) but there are so many I may have missed some deeper one’s, which puts me back to sanding rather than scraping/chem stripping since I can control the amount of finish removed more closely. Scott, I hear what you are saying about overkill. The top is gonig to need much more attention then the skirt and legs, maybe removing all the finsih is overkill. And since the legs are french style (lots of compound curvature) it makes sense to reduce the amount of sanding in this area but then it will require more attention to color matching (legs to new table top finsih). Wow, this finishing business is full of trade offs. I think I’ll start by doing a controlled top sanding, just enought to remove the deepest scratch and see how much color remains then go from there. I’ll post a new picture when I get that far. Thanks everyone for your comments.

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

2592 posts in 2309 days


#5 posted 638 days ago

There’s a Formsby product that just cuts through the varnish and doesn’t affect the stain color. Have you considered that possibility?

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View RogerM's profile

RogerM

431 posts in 996 days


#6 posted 637 days ago

Cherry is not an open grain wood and does not need a paste wood filler. I think that I would omit the paste wood filler step.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3264 posts in 1410 days


#7 posted 637 days ago

Strip finish down to bare wood. Sand at 120, 150, and if desired 180. Apply a washcoat of Zinssners bullseye (thinned 3 parts denatured alcohol : 1part bullseye). Sand washcoat lightly with fine sanding sponge.
The washcoat prevents cherry from looking blotchy.

Stain to desired color with oil based stain. I like Rodda and Varathane brands.

Spray two coats pre-catylized lacquer in a satin sheen. I like a gravity feed hvlp gun that runs off your compressor. They are $30 at Woodcraft.
Sand the lacquer with the fine sanding sponge between coats.

The last step is optional: buff out tabletop with #0000 steel wool and Howard’s walnut wax.
Roger is correct, no grain filler is needed for cherry.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase