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How to Refinish an Oak Kitchen Table

    Stripping Old Finish

    • 1). Don gloves to protect your hands from the chemical stripper.

    • 2). Paint a thick layer of chemical stripper onto the surface of the table with the paintbrush. Work in sections to keep the project manageable. Leave the stripper to work for the amount of time recommended on the product label.

    • 3). Test whether the stripper has had enough time to work on the old finish by lightly scraping the surface of the wood with a putty knife. If the stripper and finish easily come off of the oak, you can proceed. If not, wait a few more minutes before retesting.

    • 4). Scrape the old finish off with the putty knife, taking care not to gouge or mar the wood.

    • 5). Soak medium-grade steel wool in the paint stripper, then use the steel wool to get any hard-to-scrape areas of finish off of the oak table.

    • 6). Remove the chemical stripper's residue, following the label directions. Some strippers require no cleanup, while others require a water rinse or rubdown with turpentine to clean the chemicals from the wood surface. Let the wood dry completely.

    Prepping the Oak Table for Stain

    • 1). Sand the oak kitchen table, going with the direction of the grain, with 120-grit sandpaper. This will remove any remaining stripper or finish.

    • 2). Smooth the table with 220-grit sandpaper. Remove any residual sawdust.

    • 3). Fill any imperfections in the oak with wood filler. Apply the filler with a rag and let it dry. Once dry, scrape any excess filler off with a plastic scraper, taking care not to mar the wood. Sand the area with 220-grit sandpaper. Remove any residual sawdust.

    • 4). Paint a thick coat of sanding sealer onto the wood with a paint brush. Let it soak into the wood. After a few minutes, wipe the table with a clean rag to remove the excess sealer. Once dry, sand the surface with 220-grit sandpaper. Remove any residual sawdust.

    Staining the Oak Table

    • 1). Apply an oil-based stain with a paint brush to the oak kitchen table following the stain manufacturer's directions. Allow the stain to penetrate the wood.

    • 2). Wipe excess stain from the table with a rag. Allow the table to dry.

    • 3). Repeat the stain application and removal process if a darker color is desired. Each addition of stain will create a deeper color.

    Finishing the Kitchen Table

    • 1). Stir the polyurethane well, taking care not to create excessive air bubbles.

    • 2). Dip a paintbrush into the can, and tap it against the side of the can to remove excess polyurethane.

    • 3). Paint a thin coat of polyurethane onto the stained oak kitchen table using long strokes. Allow the polyurethane to dry.

    • 4). Sand the table lightly with 220-grit sandpaper.

    • 5). Apply another coat of polyurethane in the same manner as before. For a more durable table surface, apply several coats of polyurethane, sanding between each coat. Do not sand the last coat.

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