My First Refinishing Project

A while back, on a whim, I took a chance on an old formica table that was just hanging out in our basement.  It seems the table was once the primary kitchen table located in a nook before a remodel that was done around 1960.  The finish was chipped and had come loose in one corner enough to hint that there may be wood worth saving underneath.  I used a few different scrapers to remove the formica.  Let me tell you, this was not easy!  The glue was thick, gummy, and kinda stunk.  After much scraping (and bloody knuckles), I was able to break out the palm sander and work off the glue and get down to the semi-soft wood.  There were some dents, dings, and engraved names littering the top, but i figured we would deal with them in time.  Here are a couple pictures from this stage of the project.


I then proceeded to work the wood with 80, 120, 220, and 320 grit sandpapers and some steel wool.  I think this is when I started really falling in love with the process.  Working the wood, trying to remove or disguise sketchy areas, and preparing the grain for some nice dark stain.  I used Minwax Dark Walnut oil based stain.  Between each of the 4 coats, I would let it dry and then rub it with steel wool.  I then finished with 2 coats of varnish/sealer.  In hind sight, I would do 2 more coats of the sealer.   There is noticable wear after only 8 months or so of use.  Come spring I am sure I will touch it up, though.  As mentioned earlier, there are some scratches and divots on the top, but in the end we are really happy with the look of it.  Inconsistencies in the wood led to some sharp, if not unintentional, distressing.  Amy painted the pew-style bench and legs of the table with cream latex paint and it all came together beautifully!


This project is one of our favorites because it really started us down this road we currently stroll.  We have a kitchen table with character that we put our own time and energy into and saved it from sitting in a waste pile somewhere.  Thanks for hanging out!


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