Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Furniture Refinishing -- Oak Kitchen Table -- Part 1

I love refinishing furniture. There's something about taking a piece of furniture that's seen better days, and making it beautiful and new once again. Our oak kitchen table has needed a face-lift for a year now. It served us well for almost 25 years, but it needed a little tender loving care. I had noticed recently that the varnish was starting to wear, and in one little corner the varnish seemed a little "sticky." I've read that this stickiness might be the result of the original finish being improperly cured or mixed. In any case, it was time to take this girl to the spa and give her a make-over.

The table was originally similar to the one below, but ours is larger and has two pedestals. {Our table is solid oak -- this one could be a wood veneer.} We decided to keep a stain finish on the top of the table {only darker} and paint the pedestals white with a brown/gray glaze.

I began by refinishing the top of the table, which includes four leaves. This table sits 12 people, so it's not a small task. I did quite a lot of research online before I began. The steps that I used worked beautifully, so I'd definitely recommend this process.

To strip the top of the table and ready it for the stain, I first used Zep All-Purpose Cleaner and Degreaser. I then applied Citristrip Stripping Gel. This is a great product that I've used before. The gel formula makes it much easier to apply and it does a beautiful job of stripping away the old varnish and stain. One caution: On the can it says you can leave the stripper on the piece of furniture for 24 hours before taking it off. The first application I left on for three hours, then easily removed it with a paint remover tool. I decided to apply a second coat to remove every trace of the stain and left it on overnight. Mistake. The Citristrip dried on the table and it was much harder to remove. I would definitely remove the paint stripper within three hours of application for an easier removal. After removing the Citristrip I cleaned the table with Klean Strip Paint Stripper After Wash. Then, wait until the table is totally dry to sand. I used my orbital sander with a 220 grit sand paper to make the top of the table as smooth as glass. Gorgeous unfinished oak...

When the table was ready to be stained, I applied Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. This product prepares the wood for staining and prevents blotchiness. The next step was to stain it the color we'd chosen...

We decided on Minwax Gel Stain in Hickory. While researching products to use I wanted to stay with the same product line for the prestain, stain, and protective finish. That way the products "work together." Minwax has a nice website that helps you choose the products that are best suited for a particular project. This Minwax Gel is wonderful. I really enjoyed using a gel stain over the more common runny version. Here are some photos of the stained wood. It's much darker than the original honey oak color of the table. This first two pictures were taken right after the stain was applied -- still wet. It still has a reddish hue to it.

As the stain dried it became darker and the red hue disappeared...

I love this dark stain. I'll wait a day or two to apply a coat of  Helmsman Spar Urethane in Satin Finish. Before I'm done there will be three coats of protective finish -- with a light sanding between coats. After that's done, I'll start on the pedestal prep and painting. I can't wait for the finished product!

*** Unfortunately, I've had an epic fail with the Minwax Gel Stain. {My fault.} Stay tuned and on Monday, June 6th, I will update you on this Project: 
Furniture Refinishing -- Oak Kitchen Table -- Part 2.***