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Refinish Antique Pedestal Table


We found this table on the side of the road in our neighbourhood on trash day. Originally we thought I might just salvage the wood out of the piece. However, once I got it home we decided that it was FAR TOO PRETTY to just cut up for lumber.

This table was made with solid Quatersawn White oak. The amount of ray fleck on the top was unbelievable. However, whereas we thought the table was not trash, there was no argument that the finish on the table was complete trash. The finish was almost completely worn through in several spots. There were paint splatters, and two very large stains on the top. The one stain was a dark black ring from either a spill some other residue.

I could find no maker marks or labels of any kind on the table. It is assembled with slotted screws, and square bolts, which is my only clue to it's age. (Actually there are some hex bolts also, which adds to the confusion) My guess is that the table is factory furniture from the early part of the 20th century, which would make it 75-125 years old. However, I am by no means an antique expert!

I used a Low-VOC chemical stripper, followed by lots of sanding, and then applied a walnut stain, followed by dewaxed shellac, followed by multiple coats of waterbased polyurethane. I think the results were stunning, and we are very glad that we saved this piece from the trash.

I do not rigorously track my hours in the shop, but to the best of my recollection this project was about 40-60hrs of work.

BEFORE photos:

AFTER photos:

Some of the Tools/Supplies Used In This Project: (Affiliate Links)

Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser
MaxStrip Paint + Varnish Stripper
Other Low VOC Strippers
(I used a stripper called "ezstrip" which I understand is sold in the USA under the MaxStrip name.)
Dark Walnut Gel Stain
(I used Varathane #469 Dark Walnut Gel Stain)
Varathane Waterbased Diamond Finish

3M Xtract Sandpaper
3M Finishing Pads / Scotch Brite

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See Also:

Sit-Stand Desk with Wings

Entry Bench