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Saturday, March 13, 2010

How To Refinish A Table - Part 1

I am often hired to do comission work, by interior designers who need something special done, or by an individual who wants their fine antique restored.  The calls I get are always varied in nature and I pretty much take on everything that gets thrown my direction.  I find that after 35 years of projects that if I have never done it, that I can probably figure it out.  So, I get this call the other day from a really nice woman who needed her dining room table refinished.  I went out to her home to give the estimate and she showed me this great big formal oak dining room table with beautiful parquet veneer. 

At one end of the table near the center there was a large deterioration of the finish.  I asked what it was from and she told me her grandaughter had accidentally spilled nail polish on it.  In an effort to clean it up, it just got worse and worse.  It was an expensive table that matched her other furniture in the dining room.  Replacing it was not really an option.  So, she hired me to do the repair.

The repair I decided that this one needed was to completely strip the table top only and refinish it.  I am going to post a series of articles showing how I go about doing a formal, heirloom quailty finish using a hand rubbed polyurethane technique.  This post is part 1 of the series.  When I am done it will exceed the original quailty when the table was new.  It will be more durable, have more lustre, and there will be virtually no trace of the damage from the nail polish.  The next post in the series will be about stripping the old finish.  Extremely few woodworkers do a hand rubbed finish anymore and even fewer attempt to do it with oil-based polyurethane, so stay tuned.  This should be a great project.  -Rory-

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