As I mentioned in my most recent post a few ideas got the ball rolling on creating this blog. My table refinishing project was a major contributor.   As I was working on it my husband, Chris, actually said I could write a book on all the things I try to do.  I thought it was funny because, at the same time, I was thinking I should be documenting all this stuff on a blog.  This project is also where the “faux pas” in my blog name comes from.  This project was like one big fail after another; old stain that wouldn’t let up, new stain that wouldn’t set in, bubbling, cracking, streaking, shall I go on …….

I’m happy to say the table did get finished eventually.  It’s not perfect but I definitely learned a lot along the way.  My plan is to try and work out the imperfections this upcoming summer.

The table was a style that I had been searching for; solid wood with a pedestal base. We got lucky, my aunt was moving and offered us her kitchen table. Before this, we had a rather large, rectangular glass table which was purchased for a previous house, so it didn’t fit in our current space.

When I originally began the process I thought I could just strip the stain with a sander.  I was wrong and ended up using paint stripper.  It took several applications of paint stripper plus sanding to remove the stain (it was really soaked in).

I chose to apply the stain with a brush.  I tried the sponge and rag methods, but neither of those looked right.

I first used wood conditioner on the newly bare wood, prior to my first coat.  In between each coat of stain, I sanded lighted and removed all the dust with tack cloth.

My biggest mistake so far was the polyurethane top coat.  It streaked and I’m not sure why, which is why I want to correct the top of the table this summer.  Apparently, I’m not the only person this has happened to, so I don’t feel terrible about my work.  But, because of how the top turned out I didn’t polyurethane the base and I think it looks much better.

Top Row L to R: Newly stripped; Conditioned wood Bottom Row L to R: First coat; Last coat
Top Row L to R: Newly stripped; Conditioned wood
Bottom Row L to R: First coat; Last coat

I love the size of the table and the fact that it’s a strong, sturdy table.  If I’m being honest a glass table, in my opinion, is so much more practical (Shhhhh!  Don’t tell that to Chris!).  With a wood table you always have to be careful about placing things on trivets and place mats, so as not to mark or scratch the table.  The worst thing about the glass table is the fingerprints (or doggie nose prints underneath), but I never worried about scratches or hot dishes with it.

Alas, regardless of the extra care, I do love my table and am pretty proud with accomplishing this project, being only my second refinishing project (my first was much smaller and I painted it, which is way easier than staining).

In use 1

I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for refinishing furniture.