How to Refinish a Table

How to Refinish a Table – A Complete Guide

Do you want to see something new in your home? Perhaps you want to give your table a new look because you do not want to buy a new one as it can be quite costly. Well, if that is the case – why not consider refinishing your table? But, how to refinish a table?

The good thing about this task is that it does not require a piece of special equipment. If you want to carry out this project over the weekend but want to get detailed instruction on how to do it, this article is ready to help you out.

What Do You Need to Follow this Tutorial?

You are close to knowing the steps on how to refinish a table. However, you just can’t proceed to the tutorial without equipping yourself with the following items:

Materials and Supplies

To do the tutorial, you need to secure some materials and supplies. If your table has an existing varnish or paint, then you should get a stripper and putty knife. You should also prepare your polyurethane and stain. You will also need sandpaper, steel wool, cotton rags, and disposable brushes.

Get ready with a belt sander, tack cloth, mineral spirits, and rubber gloves. You might also want to secure your eyes by wearing a splash-resistant goggle.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step #1 Thoroughly Remove Dirt and Stains from the Surface of the Table


Using water and gentle soap, you must clean the existing finish of your table. Make sure that you get rid of oils and dirt. Doing so will get the surface ready for sanding if the table has accumulated stains, or disrobed in case the table has been varnished or painted before.

Step #2 Strip the Existing Finish


You will have to strip the current surface of your table if it is either varnished or painted. To do this step, you will need a stripper. The good news is that there are lots of chemical stripping agents that you can buy from the market today. Any stripper will do. However, make sure that you always follow the instructions indicated in the label and secure yourself against burns by putting on necessary protective equipment.

Let the stripper work by softening the current finish before you strip off the surface with a putty knife. Use a cloth to wipe the knife between scrapes.

It may be necessary to do two or three stripper coatings if the old finish has deeply busted in the fine rifts of the wood. Once you are done taking off the varnish or paint, wipe down the table with steel wool.

Step #3 Clean the Surface with some Mineral Spirits


After stripping the varnish or paint and drying the surface, wipe it with a clean cloth while putting some mineral spirits to get rid of the residual stripper. Wait for the table to completely dry before you proceed to sanding.

Once the table is completely dry, sand it while tracing the grain to polish the surface after you have stripped the varnish or paint, or to get rid of a stained finish. You can use a belt sander for this step, however, be careful with your actions as you do not want to scratch the surface.

Ideally, you will use 100-grit sandpaper for the initial sanding. Then try the 150-grit, and lastly the 220-grit to smoothen the grain.

Step #4 Apply Stain


Use a disposable brush to apply the stain. Generously apply the stain and let it soak for several minutes. Use a cotton rag to wipe off the excess stain. The longer you let the stain stay in the wood, the darker color you will achieve. To achieve a smooth finish, consider applying stains in a small amount at a time. This will give you the convenience of easily wiping it off before the extensive penetration.

Step #5 Apply Finish


Apply a polyurethane and make sure to follow the instructions of the manufacturer. Ideally, apply two coats for the table, permitting each coat to completely cure before spreading the other one. Dry the final coat for 24 hours. Once the coat is completely dry, you then proceed to the next step which is to use your newly refinished table.


After checking this article, you should now know how to refinish a table. Learning the steps for this task can actually help you save money as you do not have to buy a new table just to see something new in the house. The step-by-step instructions above are also simple to understand. This is to make sure that even readers with a limited background in furniture renovation can easily grasp the instructions.

It may require time and effort from your end, but the end-product is something you can look forward to!



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