How to Restore the Wood Finish on a Dining Room Table

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Restoring the wood finish your dining room table may seem like a difficult task. Once you understand the process and tools involved, however, it becomes simpler. Most wood dining tables don't need to be stripped, sanded and refinished, but they may need to be polished and restored using special products. Restoring a wood table can save you quite a bit of money over hiring a professional, but if your table is in truly bad shape and may need to be fully refinished, you should consider seeking expert assistance.

Things You'll Need

  • Disposable plastic sheeting
  • Feather duster
  • Old English Furniture Polish
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Wood restoration product
  • Paint sprayer or large paintbrush and pan
  • Large scrubbing brush
  • Small scrubbing brush
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Hand sander
  • Clear protective wood stain (optional)
  • Move the dining table to an area where you can easily work on it. Make sure the area has proper ventilation and surrounding furniture or items will not be damaged; work outside if possible. Put disposable plastic below the table if you need to protect that area.

  • Dust the table with a feather duster to remove dust and dirt particles that have built up.

  • Restore the finish of a wood dining table that is dull (but does not require stripping and refinishing) by simply rubbing the table with Old English Furniture Polish with a clean, lint-free cloth along the grain of the wood. Allow the polish to set for 30 to 45 minutes, never leaving excess furniture polish on the table, and repeat the process. If this makes no noticeable difference, you will need to go through a simple restoration process.

  • Use a product intended for restoring the original finish and color of a wood item.

  • Pour the product into a sprayer and seal the lid. Spray the table from the bottom to the top, starting at one side to reduce streaks and obtain the most fluid finish possible. If you do not have access to a sprayer or don't know how to use one, apply the wood restoration product by pouring it into a paint pan and applying with a clean brush or rag. Check the product's label for manufacturer recommendations regarding application.

  • Let the surface rest for 15 to 20 minutes and scrub lightly with a large brush to remove any remaining debris. Use a smaller brush to scrub areas that cannot be reached with a large brush. Brushing also begins the sanding process.

  • Sand the wood lightly with 100-grit sandpaper by hand, being careful not to sand so hard you begin to remove the new finish. Use a folded piece of 100-grit sandpaper to reach places where a hand sander will not fit.

  • Apply a clear stain over the top of the sanded piece of furniture. Although applying a clear protective layer is not truly necessary, it will help to protect your table from damage. Apply the stain according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use colored stain if your furniture is in particularly bad shape. Colored stain close to your furniture's original color should be readily available.

References

  • "A Step-by-Step Guide to Restoring and Repairing Furniture;"Alan Smith, Chris Jarrey; 2000
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