Tabletop cracking, easy to fix? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 Old 08-05-2017, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Tabletop cracking, easy to fix?

I received a dining table for free that seems to be of decent quality, however the tabletop is in rough shape and I would like to repair it. It has small cracks all over the surface that can been seen when light is shined on it, and I can feel them slightly with my fingernail. Hopefully the pictures can show what's going on.

I'm wondering how superficial these cracks are, and what may be required to restore the tabletop. Is this something an absolute beginner woodworker should attempt? I'm handy in other aspects of home maintenance and am willing to research and learn, I just need a nudge in the right direction as to what's going on here and what techniques I should try.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 4 Old 08-05-2017, 09:29 PM
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The top isn't cracking. The finish on the table is flaking off. It could be touched up in a number of different ways but the finish is going to continue to flake off. The easiest long term solution would be to strip the finish off and refinish it. At least it's something you can do and put it behind you.

The easiest fix would be to mix a 50/50 solution of Old English scratch cover for dark wood and lemon oil and just rub that all over the surface and wipe off the excess. The finish is probably lacquer and there is some testing which could be done to verify this. If it's lacquer you could clean the surface with a wax and grease remover, scuff sand it and spray a couple coats of lacquer finish over the top. None of these fixes are permanent. As more spots flake off more touch up will be needed and the lemon oil will give little or no protection from water.
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post #3 of 4 Old 08-05-2017, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick reply!

Awesome, I would rather go with the longer term solution, I will strip and refinish the table then.

Does this guide look like the right way to do it? I've never done anything like this before and would like to avoid common mistakes where possible.

http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/ski...wood-furniture
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post #4 of 4 Old 08-05-2017, 10:06 PM
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It doesn't appear the folks in the link know anything about refinishing furniture. The aerosol remover is going to dry about as fast as you put it on and get stripper all over the rest of the table when you may only need to do just the top. I would recommend using Klean Strip remover https://www.walmart.com/ip/Klean-Str...jjSYkK965cskGo. Brush a liberal coat on and let it soak for about 15 minutes touching up places that appear to have dried out. Then with a 6" broad knife scrap off the finish and remover as quick as possible. Then rinse off the residue of the remover with lacquer thinner frequently changing rags. If the table is one that opens up for leaves just do half the table at a time. Once you start scraping you have to work fast because the old finish will be trying to dry back on once the top is scraped off. It's very important to thoroughly clean the remover off the table. All removers contain wax to prevent the remover from evaporating. If you don't get the wax off it will interfere with the adhesion of the new finish. Sanding won't do it, it will just smear the wax all around.

Once the finish is stripped off and dry just sand the wood and finish it as though it was a new table. When you get to that point we will help you with the color. Probably Minwax golden oak would be a good start.

For a finish if you have compressed air I would recommend getting a cheap harbor freight sprayer if you don't already have a sprayer. A table top is a hard project to learn finishing and a sprayer will make the job a lot easier.
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