Need help with refinishing a table

Old 02-17-09, 07:16 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Cleveland, OH
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Need help with refinishing a table

Hi guys, as you can see i'm new here! I work in a small custom cabinet shop doing all the spray finishes. So i'm not completely ignorant on this stuff, but i am having a problem i can't figure out how to fix and keep getting different fixes from everyone.

I'm refinishing an old dining room table for my grandmother. She used a chemical stripper to remove the old stain/finish, then i sanded the entire thing down with an orbital sander. Everything went great up to this point.

I then stained the entire thing, and then sprayed a clear lacquer on it for the finish. Well the lacquer i used separated on me, and it looked like tons of little craters all over the table. So i sanded it all back down to the wood, re-stained it and tried a polyurethane. Same thing happened.

I don't know what to do now. I'm assuming that whatever the original finish was, or whatever the cleaned it with is still really absorbed into the wood. The table is solid maple, but then it has an 1/8th veneer over the maple. So i can't sand anymore without burning through the veneer.

I have tried cleaning it really good with mineral spirits and lacquer thinner, but that hasn't helped. I was just told to put a shellac finish on it, and then put the polyurethane on, but then reading online, it doesn't sound like i can put polyurethane on top of shellac.

So if anyone has any suggestions, that would be GREAT! I'm leaving for Florida this Sun. and my grandma really wants the table before i leave so i'm kind of in a hurry.

Thanks in advance!!

Old 02-20-09, 01:23 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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you have a contaminate, probably from the stripper. Try to find out what stripper she used, you may be able to neutralize it. if not, try soaking the table down with MEK or Lacquer thinner. As soon as that drys out try a coat of a vinyl sealer. you may be able to get the vinyl on it before the chemicals leach back out. if that fails, try a brush on varnish, it is more stable then poly and more durable then schallac. if the vinyl works spray a conversion varnish on it. if the brush on varnish fails, you may be up a creak.

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