Wednesday, July 20, 2016

refinishing the dining room table

This is what kept me busy while the biggers were at camp: refinishing our dining room table.

In 2007, right before we had moved away to Gburg, we had purchased several items from Unpainted Furniture using the big bucks I had made at my first nursing job at the hospital - our armoire, dining room table and chairs. That table has treated us well over the last nine years. However, our kids have not returned the favor...

The table is made of a soft wood called alder and the kids have been steadily gouging away at it. Ezra seems like the biggest culprit but I think all of them have banged their silverware down into it over the years. Initially I put six coats of polyurethane down when I first finished it. Two years later when we bought two tall kid chairs, I added four more coats of poly. It seems ten coats was not enough to protect it. Plus, the color was yellowing and I just hate yellow wood.

Because we were going to be gone for two full weeks in July I thought it was a good time to refinish and let it have time to really cure. Halfway through Noah and Evie's trip to Rainbow Bible Ranch I got started. Terry was at youth group and I was sanding away for the afternoon and evening. The littles and I even had to go buy more sanding discs.

It didn't take as long as I thought it would. 

I put one coat of Weathered Oak down, hoping to imitate my $10 coffee table finish...

Like an idiot, I put two more coats of Weathered Oak on and ended up with a blue table! 

The next day I put two coats of Special Walnut down. I hated it!!! I didn't want a black table. I wanted a light brown table with gray undertones. Obviously, my plan failed. 

Here is the overview. Gray, gray, gray, brown, brown = bad.

I did not want to be stuck with a table I despised, having to look at it and be reminded of my disgust every single I decided to start over. I let it sit overnight and then started sanding it down once more with the orbital sander. It was incredibly slow going. 

Even though the tabletop was dry to the touch, when I'd saw off a layer, it was pretty wet underneath. The sanding discs kept getting coated with gummy stain. I went through a lot of them.

I would lift up my sander and chunks of stain would just go flying everywhere.

I made a huge mess.

I kept at it through the darkest moments when I thought I'd never get there, berating myself the entire time, and I finally overcame all the stain. 

Boy was I glad to see that bare wood again.

While contemplating the dark black stain and the steps I had taken to get there, I realized that I loved most the color I had put down in the very beginning - one coat of Weathered Gray. After we returned from camp on Friday night, I took the plunge... 


Getting some poly down...

Finally, before our trip to Wyoming, we brought it inside. 

Right now we have the original two leaves in the table because Nathan, Ana and their kids are here. But this is a good comparison to what it was before.

It was a shock to see how much lighter it was, but I love, love, LOVE it! I don't regret starting over at all. It's even better in real life so come and see it. 

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