When my friends originally asked if I would refinish their dining table, I thought it would be a breeze! This was the first table I have ever been asked to refinish but I was up for the challenge. Well, it took some time and some elbow grease, but came out better than I imagined.
The table was about 10 years old and had been through normal wear and tear of a young family. My friends have a son so it definitely had some scratches from the years. I began by removing the original varnish with my trusty DeWalt Palm Grip Sander. This was possibly the best Christmas present my husband has ever given me. If you don't have one, I highly recommend adding this to your tool collection. This sander was great but I had to put some time and elbow grease into removing the original finish. After I finished sanding, I used mineral spirits all over the table to remove any dust from the massive sanding that occurred. This was to make sure I didn't get bumpy spots when I applied the stain and finish coats.
We decided to stick with a darker finish and ended up mixing a couple to create the perfect color. Their dining room is red so I mixed Minwax Jacobean with Ebony. The Jacobean is a light brown with dark undertones while Ebony is almost black. I started with one coat on the legs to make sure it was exactly what my friends were hoping for. You can see in the photo below the legs against the old table. What a difference!!
I was so pleased with the stain and the way you can now see the variations in the wood. The varnish that was on it before covered this up and I prefer to see the grain of the wood. So I went on to the table and applied two coats of the stain mixture. I made sure to wipe down the table after each application to ensure there weren't any uneven spots.
For the top coat, I used Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane which is an indoor/outdoor finish. Even though the table is for inside, I thought this was a good choice to minimize wear and tear. After one coat I did notice some bumpy spots so I used a 220 grit fine sand paper to lightly sand these out. I applied two more coats of the finish and allowed it to sit for about 48 hours. This isn't necessary but I wanted to make sure it was super dry before delivering it. I am really pleased with how my first refinish project turned out and I look forward to giving a facelift to more pieces in the future!