Suggestions appreciated for finishing a dining table

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Forum topic by NakedMango posted 10-14-2013 10:56 AM 1088 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1896 days

10-14-2013 10:56 AM

Topic tags/keywords: dining table mango finish

Hello all. Thanks for reading. I am a fairly novice hobbyist faced with a finishing job. To sum up, I have removed the finish from our dining room table after one of the wife’s cats did some extensive customization with his hind claws. In retrospect, it may have been more prudent to try and repair the scratches before scrapping the whole finish, but at least now everything is smooth and clean.

The table was purchased at a local furniture store. I was told the wood is mango, though I’m not sure how to positively ID it. This is what the finish looked like before:

And here it is after sanding off the finish:

Some of the planks show figured grain like this:

Others show less pronounced figuring:

I would be happy returning it to a state similar to when purchased, but I would also be happy with doing something different that looks nearly as good or hopefully even better.

One major issue however is that I don’t have any scrap for experimentation other than some pine and red oak. I don’t think either of those is a very good match for the project wood.

Anyone have advice on how to come up with a finish reasonably similar to the original? I am willing to purchase stains, dyes, varnishes, etc as needed. If it doesn’t work out, well I don’t mind sanding it back down again;)

Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer any pointers!


4 replies so far

View SteveGaskins's profile


755 posts in 2792 days

#1 posted 10-14-2013 11:11 AM

If it is a solid wood table you could experiment on the underside of the table. Just make sure to prepare the test section to the same sanding grit as the top side. I don’t know what stain to use to match to the original color, but Waterlox works great for the protective finish. Just do some research on their website before using their product. Waterlox has a strong odor, but after it has cured it provides excellent protection from hot and cold glasses, etc.

Hope the best.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2566 days

#2 posted 10-14-2013 12:55 PM

Keep it simple. Use an oil based stain (ZAR) to get the color you want, let it cure for at least a week, and top with a couple coats of water borne poly floor finish.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View jaysonic's profile


219 posts in 2347 days

#3 posted 10-14-2013 05:13 PM

I just finished my table top, 6 coats of brushed on varnish – super strong smell!! Had to let it sit for a while before I brought it inside, but my girl has already put it through the ringers and there isn’t a scratch! She’s almost 2, and might not have the same affect as a cat, but still.
I agree with steve, I would definitely suggest trying a spot on the underside first, as it will tell you exactly what the top will look like.

View NakedMango's profile


3 posts in 1896 days

#4 posted 10-16-2013 12:34 AM

Thanks guys for the suggestions. The underside of the table is a good idea. It has some stain on it, but that’s no problem for the orbital sander.

After reading on the forum I discovered Charles Neil’s blotch control. I ordered a couple cans from Charles as well as several different stains and some dyes from various sources. I will update with pics as I progress.


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