Refinishing the Kitchen Table
Guest Blog Post by O.J. Harman
We decided to refurbish our well-work kitchen table that we’ve had for about 20 years. We liked the idea of painting the base while leaving the top as regular wood grain. After looking at different colors, we decided to go with satin black for the base and a red chestnut for the top. We’re pleased with the outcome and should you decide to try this, here are our steps for doing this. Keep in mind that after sanding, use a tack cloth to remove any sanding dust.
I used spray primer and paints. It is important to use a proper respirator while spraying these items. I did the painting in my basement workshop with an exhaust fan. You can pain this outside however, you’ll be fighting the bugs that inevitably land in your wet paint. Harbor Freight has good cheap respirators that work well for painting. I highly recommend it!
Disassemble the base from the top. I decided to remove the feet as well so I could get a good overall paint job.
Since the base was to be painted rather than refinished, the finish needs to be scuffed so the paint will adhere to the finish properly. In this case, we used a power sander to save some time and sanded enough to remove the gloss of the finish. There’s no need to sand to bare wood. If you want to refinish rather than paint, you’ll need to remove the finish. I will cover stripping of the varnish next.
Remove finish from the top. We wanted to keep the wood grain but change the color. I chose Minwax Red Chestnut stain. In order to get a good finish, the existing varnish would need to come off. I used Formby’s Paint and Varnish stripper. You can get this at any Lowe’s or Home Depot. Follow the directions on the can. Make sure you wear proper gloves since this stuff is very corrosive. Clean off all stripper residue with mineral spirits.
|Ginger sanded the top of the table and the legs preparing for the first coat.|
Sand the top. I used my power sander again and thoroughly sanded the top to a nice even and smooth surface. Make sure you get any remaining stain and varnish removed so it doesn’t affect your new finish. Do final sanding with 220 grit sandpaper. 220 is good to make it smooth enough yet leave enough roughness for the stain to penetrate into the wood.
Stain to your desired color. I applied the Minwax stain with a terry cloth pad I picked up at Lowe’s. You can use a brush, foam brush, or a rag to apply the stain. Allow the stain to penetrate to the desired color and wipe with clean cloth. (follow instructions on the stain).
Apply top coat. Make sure the stain has dried overnight. I initially started using Minwax spray satin spar varnish. After reading some online woodworking sites regarding finish, I found that spar varnish is not the way to go with an indoor table. Since it’s designed for outdoor use, it never really hardens to a durable finish that you’d need on a kitchen table. Since I already applied some spar varnish...I had to resort to the Formby’s again...and start over with the finish. So, instead of the spar varnish, I picked up some Minwax satin wipe on polyurethane finish. Again, I used the terry cloth pads which worked extremely well for applying a nice even coat. I ended up applying about 6 coats with a light sanding (320 grit) between every second coat. End with two coats without sanding in between. This will cover any sand marks you may have.
Apply clear satin clear coat to base. I reassembled the feet to the base and applied the water based Minwax satin spray polyurethane. For this, I did two coats with sanding between coats. This helps apply a more durable top coat for the paint.
Reassemble. Carefully put everything together and put your table back where you want it and enjoy!
We decided to protect the hard work with a glass top. We ordered a 3/8” tempered 42” glass top from Amazon. I also picked up some small, thin, silicone disks the put between the glass and the tabletop. The glass we got is quite thick and really heavy but worth it to protect all your hard work. It really lets the beauty of the wood show through.
* Special Note from Ginger*
I am very grateful that I have a husband who is able to create many beautiful wood projects for our home and he is an amazing woodworker. This table was given to us 24 years ago. I can not express how nice it is to restore furniture items and with a bit of work, it creates a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.