Sunday, April 8, 2012

Refinished Round Table and Chairs

One bright sunny day I was messing around on Craigslist when I found these four, sad, broken, and unloved chairs for free.  I thought, "I will love thee back to life."  Well, on the next block over, after I had my chairs safely in tow, I saw this poor horribly abused table on the curb waiting for the trash truck to come pick it up.  The table top was so water damaged that the top was entirely wavy.  I was not sure if I could save it.  But what could I do?  It just had to come home with me.

The first order of business was to repair the damage to the chairs and strip the many layers of paint and stain from the table.  I like to use Jasco Green Strip it's biodegradable and it works great.  This is a picture of the table top striped, saved and sanded. When working with strippers, stains, paints and polys don't forget to use safety gear.  I always use a ventilator mask, gloves and safety glasses.

I had a big learning experience with this table.  The first stain and poly I used was Minwax.  NEVER EVER EVER USE MINWAX!!!  The product has wax in it that will block your stain from darkening.  So, after the first application it really did not darken as much as I would have liked so I talked to the guy at Home Depot and his advice was to use a polyshade (aka 'the devil' - the stain is isolated in the poly).  I had so many air bubbles that I ended up stripping the table and going to a paint and stain store where I found the mother land of people who really knew what they were doing.  The stain was amazing.  The guy actually took me to the back room and custom made me a stain.  The entire cost of the stain, that he checked on several pieces of wood so I had exactly what I wanted, was only $5 and it is awesome stuff to work with.

My table top stained. Its even more beautiful in person!

Advice from Super Smart Paint Guy:
If you want a really dark stain, wet the table and wipe it off one hour before you stain it.  This will raise the grain a little which will help the stain have more to grab on to.

When applying poly, mix just a dab of paint thinner in for the first layer.  (Do not overdo it!  A little really goes a very long way.  One teaspoon to a cup, no more, less if you like).  This will help the poly to go deeper and make your furniture more durable.  Do not do this on the next 2 layers though!

Do not over sand your furniture.  It makes it harder for the stain to catch.  Super Smart Paint Guy compared it to trying to stain a glass surface.

The other huge learning experience I had was with the paint.  I have Home Depot Guy to thank for this one again.  He had me buy a flat paint and put a polycrylic over it.  Super Smart Paint Guy said there was really no need, just get a quality paint with sateen sheen to gloss and you're fine.   And if you really want to go crazy you can get outdoor stuff but there is really no need.

For some reason the light kept reflecting funny so in this picture you can't see the beautiful grain of the wood.  Just look at the picture above for that. :) And yes, the chairs are not done just yet....perhaps in a few days.  Then I will add a picture of my completed project in better light.


  1. What an awesome transformation! It looks like those chairs and the table were always meant to be together.

  2. Wow, Heidi, you really have a magic touch!

  3. You have some great advice. I will use your post for a reference... often. Really great info! Your furniture looks really amazing!!! Soooo beautiful.

  4. You have a gift Heid! and you're not afraid to do stuff like that! Wow! You can refinish my table and chairs! I actually have wanted to for a while now. Great Job! Mikhail is a lucky man to have such a talented and resourceful wife!

  5. You are all such a self esteem boost to me, I feel like a proud puppy getting petted and praised. :) This was a really fun project and hey Kelly if you want we can definitely refinish your table and chairs this summer. :) And Mom and Kelly I got the paint color in honor of you both always telling me I'm feeding Clover straight was an ivory color called Heavy Cream, I simply could not resist.