Finishing options for a dining room table - refinishing

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Forum topic by dwhite0829 posted 04-24-2011 05:54 AM 3259 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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21 posts in 2798 days

04-24-2011 05:54 AM

My dad just dropped off an old diningroom table for me. I’m going to sand it down and refinish it. Its old and doesn’t look very good. It’s an Oak table probably built around 1910. Don’t know if the age matters but just in case. Everything i have done I just stain and then 3-4 coats of poly. i’m Looking for just some different options.

I know refinishing old tables can reduce value but the top looks to bad to use as my dining room table.

Sorry for any typos. typing with only my left hand due to a mishapp with the table saw. :(

4 replies so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3220 days

#1 posted 04-24-2011 07:56 AM

Sorry about the mishap. I personally don’t stain oak very often, just a personnel preference. I use wipe on poly for an older look.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4000 days

#2 posted 04-24-2011 01:49 PM

Dw, your finishing routine sounds ok to me. That is generally the way I deal with oak furniture that I have built/refinished. I will sand to 150, apply a stain or dye, and apply wipe on poly until I am satisfied with the build on the finish. Other options would be to use lacquer or a varnish, such as danish oil.

For a dining room table I would recommend using a topcoat that provides both surface protection and chemical resistance. Poly is hard to beat with respect to these conditions. One note I would add is to definitely finish the underside of the table as well to equalize the moisture absorption.

And, like Bill said, I am sorry about your accident. I hope you are able to get back in the shop soon.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View HerbC's profile


1790 posts in 3037 days

#3 posted 04-24-2011 03:58 PM


Sorry to hear about your accident. I know what it’s like.

Good luck with the table.

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 3015 days

#4 posted 04-24-2011 05:51 PM

Scott – I don’t know if my input will help you, but I’ve discovered cabinet scrapers in the past year and the Stanley #80 would help you a great deal in refinishing that table. I used one on a small table my son’s in-laws gave him and I will always use the #80 in refinishing. It scraped the old finish off in a jiffy and I’m willing to bet you could clean an average table top in a matter of an hour, maybe 2 if you take a coffee break during the process. And it will leave a very smooth finish. A quick 150 grit sanding like Scott says will be all that you will need. The only glitch is that you will need to learn how to sharpen the tool. Google Stanley #80 and learn. Cabinet scrapers are probably the most neglected tool in the modern day woodshop and they deserve a front and center spot.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

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