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How to clean/protect older oak tabletop

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Forum topic by anna5 posted 1023 days ago 1863 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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anna5

3 posts in 1023 days


1023 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: oak finish

Hello all,

I picked up an older (don’t know how old) oak pedestal table yesterday and the finish on top is partially worn away. It seems a little bit grubby, but I am not sure what to clean it with, since there seems to be a little bit of bare wood showing through in the places where there is no finish.

I also want to smooth it a little bit if possible, and protect the wood. Since I have young kids we are a bit rough on furniture and I have no desire to sand and polish the thing until it looks new and perfect, I rather like the appearance of it as is. If smoothing it means we’ll have to sand it until it will lose its weathered look, we can skip that. But whether it is sanded or not, my husband and I are not sure what product is best to protect it from spills and that type of thing.

Don’t know if this matters but the top is a sunburst veneer pattern.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


7 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

14622 posts in 1165 days


#1 posted 1023 days ago

try wet sanding with lemon oil. Grit would depend on what you are try to smooth out. You can start with 220, 320 or even finer.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View woodzy's profile

woodzy

413 posts in 1276 days


#2 posted 1023 days ago

A couple of days ago i found a 10ft long bench in the trash (well on the curb).
I am faced with the same issues.

Great question, looking forward to seeing some of the feedback.
Sorry i can’t help.

-- Anthony

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anna5

3 posts in 1023 days


#3 posted 1023 days ago

Thanks, Don! Would we need to sand the remaining finish off before using the oil?

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Don W

14622 posts in 1165 days


#4 posted 1023 days ago

I don’t know what the finish is or the shape its in, but typically no. And you shouldn’t hurt anything if you try. You can basically do this with almost any oil, but lemon oil smells nice, isn’t harmful and dries much quicker than say BLO or tung oil. Its the basis for stuff like Lemon Pledge. (which I have used in a pinch, wet sanding with it to hide and feather some finishes). Again, if the finish is real bad, and has really defined chips, it may not work. If its just worn in spots, it works like a charm.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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anna5

3 posts in 1023 days


#5 posted 1023 days ago

Thanks! That sounds encouragSince the top is in a sunburst pattern, I do need to ensure I sand with the grain, even though the grain direction changes every few inches, right? I hope that’s not as hard as I’m imagining it to be :)

View Don W's profile

Don W

14622 posts in 1165 days


#6 posted 1023 days ago

wet sanding should be polishing whats left of the finish. Direction should not make that much of a difference.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3046 posts in 1273 days


#7 posted 1023 days ago

If the surface is truly grubby and assuming we are talking about the same thing when we talk about grubby, I would begin by washing this top well with TSP. This casn be purchased at building centers. Follow the directions and it will remove the grubby stuff and make it ready to finish with the paper and oil.

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