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Posted on Refinishing a MCM dining table -- sanding, staining and finishing advice/opinions/help welcome!

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4 posts in 450 days

#1 posted 10-06-2018 02:41 PM

Alright guys!  Time for a follow up.  And eventually for an aggregated and detailed post, that can help others in projects such as these.

Here’s a link with a photo gallery:

One more project got added into the mix: a used teak outdoor set (which was previously poorly finished with I’m guessing Watco Danish Oil ?)

MCM dining top:  (total time, around 7 hours for refinish 1, refinish 2, and now the correct table top coating)

The first photos of the gallery show the starting point (refinish 2, after the original refinish)—

The table indeed turned out to use a teak veneer, with solid teak on two ends, and solid oak? teak? on the others.  As I very quickly (and luckily) discovered on the table leaves by completely destroying one, and then messing up another one.  The challenge was this: sand off the old finish and discoloration, without sanding out completely whatever is left of the veneer.  The trick is to be extremely careful around the edges—as with those, one wrong tilt of the hand, and you lost your veneer (as is shown on one of the leaves in the photos).  Working with veneer essentially amounts to an approach of mistake mitigation.  Make sure not to fuck up anywhere, and you’re good.

The grits I used were: 150 and 220 with Mirka Abranet Mesh – an excellent product.  Sands great.  Lasts a very long time.  Dust collection I am sure is magnificent due to the design (I did not use a hooked up vac).

The tool, Bosch ROS65VC-6, on the other hand, ended up being not so great at all.  The vibrations from the tool actually adjusted the dial speed, which constantly had to be reset.  Worse, the “hook and loop” system they use for actually holding the sanding pads in place DOES NOT WORK.  Well, they work for the first 5-10 minutes, and then you need a brand new foam pad which also then only lasts for 5-10 minutes (I bought 2 as a precaution, and had to go through all of them).  The sanding discs constantly slip off (or fly off). Which of course then leads to a TREMENDOUS amount of circles and swirlies that then need to be sanded out by hand. If you’re going to spend $300 on a tool, get a Festool.  Night and day difference.

The finish process:

Having gone through the correct sanding (and then destroying) of two of the leaves, I had then decided to take the easy way out, lightly sand off the existing finish, and use a darker stain for the top to even out the former problems.  For our finish we wanted to try just a teak oil as well, instead of any kind of varnish, etc. We got the stain, and on the drive I kept thinking about how to approach the sanding to not get past the veneer.  Decided to give it one more shot starting with the 150 grit, as opposed to the 80 before, knowing what I knew then.  The gamble worked out on the final leaf, and so I then proceeded to do the table as well.  Seeing the final product, we both much preferred the natural variation in the wood, so decided to keep it (and not stain).

The finish:

For the finish, initially, we used Starbrite teak oil.  It looked incredible (albeit with certain muted areas as the oil dried up), and as Waldo88 epxplained, it turned out that teak oil is NOT a suitable finish for any surface that gets any kind of real use.  He mentioned a product called Behlen rockhard table top finish, which I then purchased in satin, and have now (30 minutes ago) applied using a paintbrush, going with the grain in the application. The plan is to apply 5-6 coats (with the 14 hour curing period in between), and a final 48 hour dry period before using the table.  Will update the finish photos once I have them.  And will report on how the Behlen product works over time. 

The correct steps: start with 150 grit, move to 220. Be extra careful around all the edges.  Finish sanding by hand with 220 pre-finish application (obviously). Total time estimate: 2 hours sanding, 30 min finish hand sanding, and then 20 minutes per coat.

Outdoor Teak Patio Set: (total time: around 30 hours. power wash, sand, sand, sand, Starbrite teak cleaner, Starbrite teak brightener, Starbrite teak oil)
This was a teak set of 6 chairs, and a table, which we purchased for $500 off craigslist.  The former finish, unfortunately, was either a wrong product, or an incorrect application, which led to a tremendous amount of work.  Here goes:

First step, was power washing each chair.  I was hopeful that this would take out a step or two in the sanding process, but in all honesty, probably didn’t really save any time.  If I was re-doing the project, I would power wash ONLY the hard-to-reach areas by the orbital sander tool.

Second step:  Sanding. Sanding. Sanding.  80, 150, 220 grits.  80 was the workhorse.  The others were just for smoothing out.

Third steps:  (first time) using the Starbrite products.  In all honesty, once sanded, neither the cleaner nor the brightener really did much of anything at all.   All directions were followed.  All surfaces were scrubbed and agitated, etc.  Not really worth the time. 

Very important to use a good quality sander.  Iinitially I used a palm sander, which took something like 5x as long as the Bosch RSO one.  Now if only the sanding pads actually held the way they were supposed to, and I had the RSO from the start, this project would have taken at least 5 hours less to complete.  Moral of the story, as always:  get the correct and high quality tools.

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