A couple of years ago Bill and I were living in the housing space on the other side of the photography studio he worked at and were living without any kind of table and chairs. We were living college style eating our meals on the coach in front of the TV. Then one day Bill’s grandparent found an old table they had laying around their garage. It was in pretty tough condition considering his grandma grew up with it and a couple of people had attempted to refinish it. Attempt was they key word. Some of the chairs had a red hue to them, some parts of the table were sealed, others weren’t, there was crayon in the wood ad a couple of glass rings. It really was quiet the piece of work. So we bought a plastic tablecloth to cover it (to ensure cold or hot items wouldn’t run the wood more than it already was) for a bit.
When we bought our house and moved in, we took the table apart to make the transportation easier. Once we got the table to the house, I decided it was the perfect time to actually refinish it, or I knew we never would. So down to the basement it went…where is sat for a couple of weeks. Eventually, I picked up the supplies to begin stripping it. Of course I picked one of the coldest days to begin this product as the window had to be opened when dealing with the fumes. But I began scrubbing the pieces and the the progress was really really slow. It was taking forever and I was going through steel wool fast. So in addition to stripping the wood, I began bleaching it to help remove some of the color and previous layers of sealer. I wish I would have remembered to take pictures throughout the entire process, but only did for the the last couple of steps. Sorry!
FINALLY, after like 3 months (i kid you not it really took me this long, my friends kept teasing me that it better be one heck of a table to spend this much time on it) it was ready to be sanded. Thankfully, my mom helped me with this step a little bit. We went through three different stages of sanding: rough paper, medium and soft to get the stain out the stripper and bleach couldn’t get out and getting it to a nice smooth surface. Next we wipped all the pieces down to remove all the extra dust preparing for the stain. Fortunately, at this point I remembered to take a couple of photos of the progress.
Next I began staining. The grain in the wood was really beautiful and very unique so I didn’t want to cover it up with a color that was too dark. I also wanted it fit in with the color of our other kitchen cabinets and wood floors, and ended up with a honey type color. Side note: I was very nervous to actually begin the staining process. I had put so much time into stripping everything down I didn’t want to mess it up. But really it was so easy, it was almost impossible to screw up. Just dab a little stain onto an old cotton t-shirt and begin rubbing it on the wood in the same direction as the grain. (I do recommend wearing rubber gloves while doing this. If you get any color on your fingers it will stain them (hence the name) and take awhile to get come off. Here’s an in-progress photo showing the difference between the stained section and un-stained
If you’re still following this lengthy post, I’m almost done! The next step was applying the poly or the protector coating, which was also somewhat time consuming. You have to be very careful when putting the poly on vertical items to ensure there isn’t any dripping. If you put it on to thick and it begins to drip down the legs or edge of the table, you’ll end up with a bumpy surface with a bunch of lines in it. Once the poly dried, I took a really soft sandpaper and sanded the table down to remove any drips or bubbles that appeared. I repeated this process two more times before I was finally done and moved it into the kitchen