Dining table refresh?

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Forum topic by AMF64 posted 06-28-2016 01:20 AM 737 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View AMF64's profile


8 posts in 2278 days

06-28-2016 01:20 AM

Topic tags/keywords: maple

Looking for some advice, bought a lightly used Ethan Allen Maple dining table. The finish is a bit dull and has a few scratches around the edges and various places on the surface. I’m looking for a wipe on oil based finish in a satin finish.

So I went to my local Woodcraft store and asked for recommendations, I was told 320 then 600 grit sanding to give my finish some tooth. I was sold Waterlox sealer. When I asked about the label stating to use on bare wood only, the sales guy said I’d be fine with roughing the top up with the 320/600 grit. So, I thought I try a few test on the legs before I ventured to the top. Due to the paper clogging so quickly I guess missed a few spots. Today on my 2nd pass with the Waterlox it was obvious it did not take as well to the untouched/scuffed surfaces. Now I see why they say bare wood!

So, my question, is there a better alternative? Due to the clogging paper would a 3m pad be better for scuffing the surface? Should i continue with the Waterlox, or move on to a wipe on poly? If so, should I thin the poly, if so, with what? I’ve had pretty good luck with wipe on poly before, but never thinned it. Is that’s only for starting with bare wood? After spending $30 on Waterlox I’d like to us it, but do not want any issues.

Thoughts / opinions appreciated. Thanks

3 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


12431 posts in 2582 days

#1 posted 06-28-2016 03:46 AM

I’m not familiar with that product but I would have scuff sanded and applied a fast drying waterbase polyurethane. Oil/varnish mixes are not tough enough for a dining table unless you don’t have kids and really baby it.

-- Rick M,

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1122 days

#2 posted 06-28-2016 03:47 AM


I think my first approach would be to apply a coat of a quality furniture paste wax, buffing after the wax has dried. The wax may be enough to revive the sheen and may even cause those superficial scratches to disappear. A couple of coats may be needed especially if the table looks better after the first coat but not quite good enough. If after applying paste wax you are still not happy with the look, little if any harm will have been done. The wax can be easily removed.

Unfortunately the paste wax it will do little to address deep scratches. Sanding is the only way I know of to remove deep scratches where wood fibers were severed. If the top is veneered, a lot of sanding could destroy the veneer. The other concern I would have if sanding out the deep scratches that exposes bare wood but not sanding the entire piece to bare wood is matching the stain. If the stain is just a little off, the areas that were sanded and refinished will probably catch the eye.

If you are committed to applying a new coat of finish, you may want to contact Ethan Allen. Perhaps they can tell you what finish was applied to the table and even how to re-fresh the finish. I suspect the manufacturer applied a film finish which would act as a barrier to a penetrating finish like Waterlox. Since it came from a furniture manufacturer, they may have applied lacquer; but that is just a guess.

View punkin611's profile


49 posts in 1024 days

#3 posted 07-11-2016 03:25 AM

Don’t put oil on finished wood. There is many ways you can refinish the top, But, do not SAND it! You’ll go through the veneer for sure. If it were me I would remove the lacquer finish with a 50-50 mix of laq. thinner and denatured alcohol and 0000# steelwool. You can then stain(if you wish or no) but afterward be sure to seal the top with dewaxed shellac. I use reg. gloss varnish wiped on after thinning with mineral spirits and rub out with 0000# steel wool to the gloss you want.

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