An ugly challenge

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Blog entry by wdkits1 posted 04-27-2009 03:06 AM 1212 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here are some pics of a refinishing job that I just completed. I’m finding out that in this sour economy, many folks are opting to have their old furniture fixed and refinished instead of buying new stuff which works for me. Repairing and refinishing is not what I like to do the most but hey, it pays the bills. These tables were made sometime in the 70’s and although the woodwork was decent, the finish was sub-par to say the least.

The tops are a good grade veneer which did allow me to hand sand heavily enough to remove all of the old finish and deep scratches but this one table had this big ugly black ring which did have me scratching my head and wondering if it could be made to look new.

I started with 80 grit to remove the finish being aware of the cross-grain situation with the veneer dovetails and breadboard ends then went to 100 grit, then 150 grit. That ugly ring was deep into the veneer and I knew that sanding alone wasn’t going to work.Time for a little R&D. Tried paint thinner in a spot—no luck. Tried mineral spirits—no luck. Tried bleach- hey this might work, Put a few more drops of bleach on the ring and let it set a few minutes.I used the edge of my pocket knife to kind of work it in and just like magic it started to disappear. After a little more bleach and a little more scraping it was gone. Eureka! I sanded the whole thing again with 150 then 220 and finished off with 320. Let set over night to dry then put on the first coat of stain. No ring—cooool. So this is what it looks like now after 4 coats of wipe on satin poly.

All three tables done

-- Mike --

12 comments so far

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

770 posts in 3906 days

#1 posted 04-27-2009 03:09 AM

Mike, you did them proud. They look as good as new.

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3556 days

#2 posted 04-27-2009 03:20 AM

Great job Mike. They do look like they were just built. You did a super job and thanks for the tip on removing that heavy ring.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3820 days

#3 posted 04-27-2009 03:32 AM

Nice job on the tables, Mike. I enjoy seeing furniture that has been seen better days get a new lease on life through a good refinishing effort. You did a wonderful job on these.

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

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3646 days

#4 posted 04-27-2009 03:35 AM

great job indeed, this looks terrific. and thanks for the info on bleach, good trick to add to the arsenal of knowledge.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4398 days

#5 posted 04-27-2009 03:39 AM

That was a great refinish job. Looks like a great replacement to the before set.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3440 days

#6 posted 04-27-2009 04:09 AM

Great job, have you seen the prices on some of that 50,s to 70,s furniture now? get it while you can.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View tomd's profile


2155 posts in 3768 days

#7 posted 04-27-2009 04:12 AM

They look great, very nice, thanks for posting.

-- Tom D

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 3388 days

#8 posted 04-27-2009 04:12 AM

Great work Mike! They look nice now!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 3494 days

#9 posted 04-27-2009 04:24 AM

Absolutely Beautiful Job!!!! they look like you just completed a new project!!!

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View RRGR's profile


54 posts in 3332 days

#10 posted 04-27-2009 05:44 AM

Very nice. The finished job looks great.

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3989 days

#11 posted 04-27-2009 03:56 PM

Looks great. My brother in law has that exact same table (the long one).

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Ampeater's profile


440 posts in 3745 days

#12 posted 04-27-2009 04:35 PM

You did a great job. I’ll bet it didn’t look that good when it was new.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

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