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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to table refinshing. Can you please HELP.
I first sanded this table with a 150, orbit sander and moved up to a 220. I then stained the wood. I did not leave the stain on long the 1st time. As we wanted it darker we did a 2nd coat, no sanding just added more about 5 mins after we wiped the 1st coat off and let it dry 48 hours. It was still tacky, I took a cloth and mineral spirts and removed the excess. And we now have the pics below. I would like it darker. What do I do. I have no idea what kind of wood it is. The stain was oil-based. And I want to tung oil for a finish. Please help, I have a ton of other pics if you want them but I don’t know how to re-size and upload. Thanks for your help. It does have a leaf that’s why the grain looks the way it does. Thanks again for your help.
 

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The wood is red oak. It's generally a bad practice to stain wood twice. If it isn't dark enough you should have selected a darker color or intermix it with a darker color for a custom color. I know you don't want to hear this but the table wasn't sanded well enough. The problem is the table is veneered. Only you being there could make a judgement call on how thick the veneer is and how much more sanding it can stand. If it is as thin todays plywood then you probably can't do but a little more sanding on it. The blotchy spots of color may be the original stain or might be water spots. If it was me I would thoroughly wash the top down with lacquer thinner and let dry. Then use bleach on the table top and see if you can bring the top and leaf to a more uniform color. Then thoroughly rince the bleach off with water and let dry. Then sand it again with 150 and move up to 220 grit. The next step would be the stain. It would be best if you could pick up a piece of red oak to practice the stain on. If that isn't an option you could try the stain on just the routed edge of the table. If it doesn't work, it is solid wood and the test color could be sanded off.

Tung oil is a pretty good finish however I wouldn't recommend it for the table. Red oak is bad to turn black when it gets wet and if someone leaves a sweaty glass on the table it is going to mark it. I think you would be better off with some kind of film coating like a varnish or polyurethane. Behlen Rock Hard Table Top Finish comes highly recommended.

It's a really nice table and I think it deserves the additional work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Steve, thanks for the reply. The table was not stained, it had some white finish on it. It did come off with 120 and it was raw wood, I think. Either way I'm going to do exactly what you recommend. Any other tips you may have would be great! I'll also use the finish you stated as well. Thanks again
 

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OK, that changes up things a great deal. The white in the grain in your first post is still the white paint or what is known as a pickle finish still on the table. It will stay white when you try to stain and finish it. I would recommend that you use a paint and varnish remover and strip the table. The best retail remover I've used is Kleen Strip. Brush a thick coat of the remover on and keep it wet for about 15 minutes. Then take a brass stripping brush and see if you can get the white paint out of the grain. The stripper evaporates quick especially when you start using the brush. You might strip one half the table, then the other half, then the leaf to make sure the remover doesn't dry up on you. The paint will just dry back on if you do too much at once. To me the table looks like it has had a stain finish on it at one time. The remover should take some of the dark blotchy spots off if rinced with water. I use a small electric power washer that is only 1500 psi. If that isn't available you can use a garden hose. Option III would be to rince the residue off with lacquer thinner. It's as important to get the residue off as it is to get the paint off. The remover contains waxes that prevents if from evaporating so fast and the waxes can interfere with the adhesion of the new finish. Actually any time you refinish a piece of furniture it's best to start with a chemical remover. Even if the finish was clear it soaks into the wood and creates problems when you put a new finish on it. It seals the wood and when you go stain it, it would have light and dark spots depending on how much of the finish was sanded off.

I recommended using bleach to begin with and may not be necessary now. After you strip it and sand it again, wipe the table down with mineral spirits (paint thinner) and see what it looks like. If the wood looks good then the bleach isn't necessary. The mineral spirits won't hurt anything. It will just let you see what condition the table is in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks again Steve. I'm going to grab the kleen and do as said, brush on ect... Then after that bleach and hose off. Once dry mineral spirts to check the wood. Here is my question, being new what am I looking for, all the white and stain to be removed. Would you mind if I emailed you a pic at this stage to varafy if I am ok to stain? That would be a big help... Hate to take 1 foot forward and 2 back. I'll remove tonight and bleach and let dry and update you tomorrow thanks again
 

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Thanks again Steve. I'm going to grab the kleen and do as said, brush on ect... Then after that bleach and hose off. Once dry mineral spirts to check the wood. Here is my question, being new what am I looking for, all the white and stain to be removed. Would you mind if I emailed you a pic at this stage to varafy if I am ok to stain? That would be a big help... Hate to take 1 foot forward and 2 back. I'll remove tonight and bleach and let dry and update you tomorrow thanks again
The pickle finish is just white enamel paint that has been thinned down. You apply the thinned paint and wipe off the excess and the pigment sticks in the grain. Having the pickle finish it has white paint penetrated into the grain fibers. When you sanded the finish off you just got off what was on the surface. If you don't remove all of the white paint it will remain white in the grain no matter what stain you use. Not only the large patches in the center round section but the boarder around the top has little short lines of white. Hold off on the bleach for now. The stripper does pretty good getting stains off. You will be tell some what it's going to look like being wet from the stripper. Anyway testing it with mineral sprits will let you know for sure before you commit to stain. If it doesn't look right you could maybe do some more sanding or if necessary use bleach. I would try to avoid the bleach if possible but the table being veneered doesn't give you a lot of options. You sure don't want to sand through the veneer.
 

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One thing I would like to see some day is furniture damaged with a power washer. I owned a furniture refinishing shop for ten years where we were stripping 30 to 40 pieces of furniture a day which half were veneered and the power washer never damaged any furniture. Some of the furniture was mahogany veneered dining room tables and some were walnut conference tables. The power washer was especially important on painted oak furniture as the paint would get in the grain and the power washer was the only instrument that would lift the paint out of the open grain. It isn't unreasonable to expect to get 100% of paint off of oak furniture in open spaces such as a table top. This step is the most important part of furniture refinishing. I would hate to take a nice piece of furniture and cover it up with gel stain because I didn't get it stripped good enough. The overwhelming majority of removers especially professional removers are made to be rinsed with water because of the cost of solvents but more important the water rinse removes much more of the original stain better. The water may raise the grain a little but not any more than waterborne finishes. It only takes a little light sanding to bring the wood back to the original condition.
 

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One thing I would like to see some day is furniture damaged with a power washer. The water may raise the grain a little but not any more than waterborne finishes. It only takes a little light sanding to bring the wood back to the original condition.
Your major complaint about waterbased finishes is that it raises the grain. But, according to you, using a power washer with a much more forceful penetration and a whole lot more water, saturating the wood, only "raises the grain a little". A waterbased finish applied in thin coats initially does very little grain raising when used on bare wood...even less if an oil base stain has been applied.

I doubt a professional finisher that has ruined a project with power washing would admit it. For the DIY'er/hobbyist, it would be very easy due to lack of experience to tear chunks out of wood even at 1500 PSI. I've had the little electric ones with as little as 1200 PSI capable of tearing out wood surfaces if directed too close.

The DIY'er/hobbyist deserves to be aware of all the possibilities of suggestions gleaned from forums.






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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Please, everyone has there own way of doing things and tools they use! This is a table that cost 40 bucks but I'd like to redo it the best I can. Anyone who uses a power washer knows the risk. Please just add positive feedback on here, instead of pointing out who may be right and wrong.
We are helping people here, not pointing fingers. Thanks 2 both for the info.
I'll start with kleen and then update, thanks
 

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Sanding is a poor way to remove existing finish. With all woods, but especially oak, the prior finish will have been deeply absorbed into the wood. Sanding will not remove the deeply absorbed finish. The residual finish will cause a new stain to be unevenly absorbed and you will have uneven coloring. In addition, as mentioned, sanding today's very thin veneers is problematic. You can very easily sand through the veneer and then you have a serious problem.

The proper way to remove a prior finish is to use a chemical paint stripper containing methylene chloride. Follow the directions on the label. Only after you are sure that you have all the prior finish removed should you proceed to re-staining and applying a top coat.
 

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Please, everyone has there own way of doing things and tools they use! This is a table that cost 40 bucks but I'd like to redo it the best I can. Anyone who uses a power washer knows the risk. Please just add positive feedback on here, instead of pointing out who may be right and wrong.
We are helping people here, not pointing fingers. Thanks 2 both for the info.
I'll start with kleen and then update, thanks
I'm sorry. It had nothing to do with your post. It's an old argument that seems to keep coming up and I'm tired of it.
 

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Please just add positive feedback on here, instead of pointing out who may be right and wrong.
We are helping people here, not pointing fingers. Thanks 2 both for the info.
That's what opposing viewpoints are, and are what forums are all about. Opposing views benefit the OP as it's not a right or wrong discussion, but rather a difference of opinion, and should be read as such. It's true, that different people have different methods, and you are entitled to hear both sides...it can be to your benefit.

I'm sorry. It had nothing to do with your post. It's an old argument that seems to keep coming up and I'm tired of it.
You see our differences as an argument, I don't. You state what you do, and I state what I do. You give your reasons, and so do I. We just don't seem to agree on some things, and those things keep coming up.







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Discussion Starter · #15 ·


Ok I tried this stripping, in my opinion it's not doing enough but what do I know. I tried to do the small area of the leaf. I left it on and scarped it off. That's where it sits now. I cleaned it with a paper towel until I hear back. Thanks
 

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How long did you let the remover soak? From what I can see I think you are going to need a brass stripping brush to get the paint out of the grain. You kinda have to think of wood at the microscopic level. It's like a bunch of drinking straws glued together into a sheet with some of the ends pointed upward. If you took a sharp knife and shaved them off you would have a bunch of open ends. Then picture pouring them full of paint and let dry. When you put remover on it, it liquefies the paint but if you don't use a brush or something to get the wet paint out of the straws you just end up wiping over the top and the paint hardens back up and stays there. This is why I use a power washer. The water under pressure will lift the liquefied paint out of the grain. The stripping brush will also lift a lot of paint out of the grain and you can use lacquer thinner to wash off what is on the surface. It just may take more treatments to get it all out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I left it on for 30 mins as directions said. I tried the liquid 1st. That didn't do anything, I had the gel left over and used that. It came clean but like I said I expected more. I'll try the brush. Can I keep stripping the wood, as in is it hurting the wood?
 

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I left it on for 30 mins as directions said. I tried the liquid 1st. That didn't do anything, I had the gel left over and used that. It came clean but like I said I expected more. I'll try the brush. Can I keep stripping the wood, as in is it hurting the wood?
It shouldn't hurt the table to strip it again however I would try to put an end to the stripping as soon as you can. When you go over it with the brush if you are using lacquer thinner to rinse with you can dip the brush in lacquer thinner and scrub with lacquer thinner some. The solvent just evaporates much more quickly than the remover.

You are just not seeing dramatic changes in it because you sanded most of the finish off. Actually that hurts the process a little. Had you used remover to begin with it would have been more likely to pull on the paint that is in the grain pores. Much of what you are going through is normal though. It's just a pain to strip a piece of furniture that has been painted especially a open grain wood like oak. Your lucky it's not enamel. Normally there are many coats of paint and when you strip it, it comes off one layer at a time so if it has 5 coats of paint on it you pretty much have to strip it 5 times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Steve, no update, just grabbed a brass brush, some steel wool and I'm going to start in the am. Stand by in the am, thanks do much for your help through this
 

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Steve, no update, just grabbed a brass brush, some steel wool and I'm going to start in the am. Stand by in the am, thanks do much for your help through this
Just keep it wet with the stripper until you get the white paint out of the grain. You should be able to get every bit of it out.
 
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