Friday, September 19, 2014

How to Strip and Stain a Wood Table Top - Part 1 of 2 (Step by Step)

Hi Sweet Friends,

It is no secret that wood is trending and becoming increasingly popular in today's homes, stores, restaurants, and is the choice of professional designers.  The natural look evokes a warm sense of well being and not to mention how its neutral palette compliments every color scheme. Whether a new or refinished floor, wood framed art, a wood piece of furniture, wood gives a home a sense of emotion and nostalgia.  And bringing the outdoors inside the home is the best way to connect with nature.

via:Fleaing France Brocante Society

I really love how painted furniture looks with a refinished top.  It just gives the tables a more luxurious look to the table.  Learning how to refinish a table top will allow you to really create a masterpiece of your own and at the same time it will save you from sending it out to a professional.  You will be really proud of yourself, I promise!

I will say, stripping and staining furniture can be very intimidating.  It takes a little bit of patience and some elbow grease, but you will be rewarded with instant gratification and a huge sense of achievement.  You will ask yourself why you had not tried this any sooner.  Well, at least that was how I felt the first time I refinished a table.  For a bit of encouragement, once you try it the first time you will never forget how to do this.  So let's get started.

Pictured below are the majority of the items needed to strip your wood furniture.  If it is your very first time or if it is mahogany wood I suggest using a plastic spatula instead of the metal putty knife. You will also need a pair of gloves to protect your hands (not pictured).

Here' the List of the Items You will Need:

  1. Citristrip Gel or Spray- I like this stripping gel because it is not as harsh as other strippers and it smells like oranges. Environmentally Friendly
  2. Mineral Spirits - (You can also use odorless Mineral Spirits) Used for Clean Up
  3. 0000 Steel Wool (not pictured)- To remove and loosen any remaining residue or finish
  4. Razor Scraper - this is usually a no-no because it could gouge wood but it's small and great for beginners, just be careful
  5. Metal Putty Knife
  6. Nylon Brush Set or 0000 Steel Wool - You can also purchase these from Harbor Freight
  7. Cheap Bristle Paint Brush
  8. Miniwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
  9. Miniwax Stain
  10. Orbital Sander (you can also use sandpaper alone if the project is small enough)
  11. Miniwax Wipe On Poly
  12. Sandpaper - 100 grit, 150 grit, and 220 grit.  (You can buy a package with various grits)
  13. Dropcloth 
  14. Dust mask 

To get an idea of what the job will look like:

Citristrip had been applied, finish had bubbled up, and I had begun scraping and then catching the crumbled finish in wax paper
I had just stripped half of the finish
I had just completed stripping the entire piece
Stripped Vanity

  • Start with a well ventilated area and a drop cloth on ground if you want to protect your floor
  • Pour Citristrip onto table.  (start with half the table so you are not overwhelmed)
  • Using your cheapy brush, brush an even coat of citristrip
  • Allow to dry until you see bubbling up, or when it looks glazey and soft looking
  • Grab a shoebox or wax paper to catch the old finish
  • Gently scrape the finish in a gliding motion going along with wood grain being careful not to gouge the wood and slide it right into the shoebox (may have to repeat to get all the finish off)
  • Use Nylon brush or steel wool to get into grooves that your spatula cannot reach
  • Use Steel Wool and Mineral Spirits to remove or loosen any remaining finish (you may have to repeat several times before it is all off)
  • The wood should be clean and dry before staining and sanding
  • Begin sanding with a 100 grit sandpaper and slowly move up to a finer grit sandpaper 220 grit until super smooth and ready for stain
The very best advice is to be patient.  Getting in a hurry can put you back to square one.  Give yourself a couple of days to do it right and when it is finished you will be able to sit back and enjoy the fruit of your labor!

Don't miss out on the second part of this two part series!  

Click HERE to read "How to Stain a Wood Table Top".

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