Refinishing tabletop of my coffee table

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Old 11-17-12, 09:29 AM
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Refinishing tabletop of my coffee table

Hi,

I would like some guidance on how to refinish the top of my coffee table. I have 3 young children that really wore down the top of this table. I am sick of looking at it like this, and really don't want to spend the money to buy a new one. I bought the table from IKEA, but believe it is solid wood, probably pine. I am totally new at this, and would really like some tips on how to get started. Thank you so much for your help!!!

Lauren
 
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Old 11-17-12, 10:20 AM
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Welcome to the forums Lauren!

Do you have an electric sander? You have to get down to raw wood before stain can be applied. Unless there is enough finish left to make a chemical stripper a good option, I'd start sanding with 80 grit to remove the bulk of the existing finish and work my way up to 180 or 220 grit. Once the wood is clean/raw you can apply a stain [wiping off the excess] followed by 3 coats of varnish or poly.

Another option would be to sand it smooth, apply an oil base primer and then paint it with an enamel [latex, oil base or waterborne] in a color of your choice.
 
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Old 11-17-12, 10:50 AM
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Before you start sanding or stripping, I would pick those stickers off the top. The stripper may not care about the stickers, but the sander will only make a mess of them.

After you have removed the old finish and did a nice job of sanding the wood, you will apply your stain. After the stain has dried you apply a clear top coat. There are several choices here. Polycrylic is my recommendation because it is waterbased and makes for an easy clean up.
 
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Old 11-17-12, 10:56 AM
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Andrew - good call on the stickers, I saw the spots but didn't look close enough to identify them
 
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Old 11-17-12, 11:16 AM
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Thank you for your replies! I do not have an electric sander, would it be bad to do it by hand? And yes, I am in the process of removing the stickers, there were actually more, but they are gone. Thanks again for your help!
 
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Old 11-17-12, 11:47 AM
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To sand all that off by hand will be a lot of work. If you use a stripper first and then sand by hand, it won't be as bad. But it is still a lot of work to hand sand a top of that size. It's up to you as to how much elbow grease you want to burn on this project.
 
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Old 11-17-12, 01:58 PM
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Do you have a friend/relative that would let you borrow a sander? or maybe have future use that would justify buying one
 
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Old 11-17-12, 02:35 PM
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I might be able to borrow one from a friend. But if not, if I decide to sand by hand, how do i know that I have sanded enough? Sorry for such basic questions, I have never done anything like this.

Thanks again!!
 
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Old 11-18-12, 05:44 AM
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The whole top will be a consistent color when all the finish is removed. I'm not sure if there is any type of 'test' a novice can used to make sure it's all raw wood. If the old finish isn't completely removed, the wood won't stain evenly. Sorry I don't have a better answer but maybe someone else can explain it better.
 
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Old 11-19-12, 06:59 AM
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Thank you all for your help and input. I borrowed an electric sander from a friend, and am going to get started on it this week. Thanks again!!
 
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Old 11-19-12, 07:17 AM
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This may be obvious but you don't want to sand the table indoors, except maybe in a garage and wear a mask.
 
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