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How to Repair/Seal Dining Room Table Top

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Forum topic by nwadave posted 226 days ago 950 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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nwadave

9 posts in 226 days


226 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: dining room table veneer

Hello All!
We just purchased a used dining room table and 8 chairs, it seems to be decent quality, but I’m concerned about what seem to be signs of the table’s veneer surface needing some TLC to prevent severe damage in the future…I’m just not sure what the best way to proceed would be.

The best way to describe what I see as slight damage or problems with the surface is:
-When you run your hand over the surface, it feels like the grain is raised
-There are very slight bubbled areas which don’t really move much if at all when pressed with a fingernail
-the grain or pores seem to be “split open” (see pic)

The problems with the surface turned out to be very difficult to photograph, the bubbled areas being so slight I can’t seemt to get a pic that shows them. The pic does seem to show the open pores or crevices in the grain though.

What would be the easiest & most effective way to repair or at least prevent further damage to this table top? I want to be able to use the table on a daily basis for dinner with 4 children ages 11-17.

Any help & expert advice would be appreciated!


19 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1365 posts in 944 days


#1 posted 224 days ago

I would strip just the top with Citristrip, wash it down with naphtha, sand lightly with 220 drywall sanding screen, and apply a couple coats of waterborne poly floor finish.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

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mrjinx007

1260 posts in 350 days


#2 posted 224 days ago

The only thing I can add to Clint’s suggestion is before stripping it, prick the bubbles with a pin or slit them open with a razor. If pricking it, use the glue bottle to push on the bubble, allow glue to get sucked into the bubble as you relieve pressure; put a pierce of plastic over it and use weights, or a board clamped on both side of the table with 3 or 4 quarters over the bubbled are. Do the same with slit method; its a lot easier. Just push on one side of the bubble, pour glue in and do the same on the other side.
Best of luck.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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nwadave

9 posts in 226 days


#3 posted 224 days ago

The blisters are so slight, they’re kind of hard to see, but there are a lot of them. After much reading online, I’ve come up with a plan:

1. Wipe down with mineral spirits to remove furniture polish.
2. Lightly sand.
3. stain.
4. seal with Zinsser/Rustoleum Sealcoat dewaxed shellac sanding sealer. (to seal any remnents of furniture wax/silicone).
5. Topcoat with 4 coats Varathane polyurethane.

Still not sure what to do with the blisters, there are so many…have any of you tried ironing them like I’ve seen mentioned elsewhere?

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mrjinx007

1260 posts in 350 days


#4 posted 224 days ago

That was going to be my next suggestion, iron them. Your plan looks very good, it should do the job. However, before implementing it, I would make sure your table top is totally dry; the blisters might be an indication of moisture under the veneer. Maybe wait a few days and see any additional bubbles will pop up, if so, then you don’t want to trap that moisture underneath or you will have a bigger problem than now. Pricking the bubbles will help moisture to escape.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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Clint Searl

1365 posts in 944 days


#5 posted 223 days ago

You’re gonna turn a small problem into a pile of crap.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

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nwadave

9 posts in 226 days


#6 posted 222 days ago

Clint – you don’t think anything needs to be done with the small blisters? They’re so slight, I can’t even feel them.

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pintodeluxe

3201 posts in 1396 days


#7 posted 222 days ago

Staining over a partially sanded finish will be problematic. You need to decide whether you are just buffing the topcoat /adding a topcoat and addressing the bubbles, or going for a total refinish.

A total refinish will risk sanding through the veneer.

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

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nwadave

9 posts in 226 days


#8 posted 205 days ago

Okay, so I ended up sanding off the old finish. Orbital sander, 150 grit, then 220 grit. The “small blisters” just disappeared when I sanded, so they must not have even been blisters, but rather some sort of defect in the finish.

I only had 3-4 very minor issues with sanding through the veneer- hardly noticeable at all. Stained it with minwax, will follow that with sealcoat, then 4 coats of varathane.

Looking good so far, especially considering I’m such an ametuer :-)

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pintodeluxe

3201 posts in 1396 days


#9 posted 205 days ago

Nice save!

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

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nwadave

9 posts in 226 days


#10 posted 205 days ago

Thanks, pintodeluxe! I was nervous about sanding & ruining it, but I am so glad I did!

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mrjinx007

1260 posts in 350 days


#11 posted 205 days ago

Good job man. It should serve the family till the kids are gone.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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nwadave

9 posts in 226 days


#12 posted 203 days ago

Just finished the second coat of Zinsser Sealcoat dewaxed shellac. First time I ever used it, that stuff dries wicked fast!

Saturday, I’ll be putting on 4 coats of the varathane. Any opinions out there on what to apply the varathane with? Foam applicator brush or nylon brush?

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Craftsman70

241 posts in 707 days


#13 posted 203 days ago

I’m a newbie at finishing too. So let me ask, why put down the Shelac first? Why not just stain and go to the Varathane (poly)?

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chrisstef

10233 posts in 1589 days


#14 posted 203 days ago

That’s a great save Dave. Ive got zero experience with varathane but for other urethane top coats I like to brush on one coat with a white bristle brush and the rub on the subsequent coats with an old clean tshirt. Ive just about given up on those foam brushes unless its the underside of something that wont be seen. I get too many bubbles in the finish with them.

Craftsman – the sanding sealer / shellac will fill the pores of the red oak so you don’t get a blotchy top coat.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

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nwadave

9 posts in 226 days


#15 posted 203 days ago

chrisstef – thanks for the reply. I’ve never rubbed on a finish of any kind (other than stain :)...is it possible when rubbing on to get as much thickness in each coat? I know this may sound dumb, but can you detail your method for me?

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