Need help with refinishing a table, please!

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Forum topic by Ashlei posted 07-07-2016 02:40 AM 735 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 1194 days

07-07-2016 02:40 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood stain diy tabletop refinishing refinish help finishing refurbishing question trick tip

Hi, I’m attempting my first DIY project. I decided to restain my table top and I’m stuck. I’m not sure of the type of wood. It’s an old table and after sanding down it was a very light colored wood. I used an orbital sander to sand it down starting with 100 grit and working my way to 220. I used Minwax pre stain wood conditioner and Minwax oil based stain. I have put two coats of stain on with making sure it was completely dry between coats. I have ended up with a few areas on the table that appear scratched and the stain is not soaking into those “scratches.” I have not applied a protective coating yet. I did try one of the stain correcting felt ripped pens to no avail. The stain just wipes right off. I’m thinking maybe I sanded too much in those areas? Is there a “simple fix” or do I have to start all over with the sanding? Any tips/advice would be greatly appreciated! I have attached a photo of an area of the scratches for reference.

6 replies so far

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1958 days

#1 posted 07-07-2016 09:34 PM

Looks like those scratches are where you sanded thru the veneer . . .
If you did then this is no longer a finishing project but a repair project. The top veneer is gone. You need to replace the veneer and/or top.



-- Madmark - [email protected]

View Ashlei's profile


4 posts in 1194 days

#2 posted 07-07-2016 10:38 PM

Bummer! Not what I wanted to hear but thank you! You saved me even more money on trying to “fix” it. I think I’ll just go ahead and put the protectant coating on it and call it “rustic.” Lol! Maybe I should hang up my DIY hat

View Ingjr's profile


144 posts in 3522 days

#3 posted 07-07-2016 11:39 PM

My guess would be that it’s contaminated in that area with a grease, wax or the like. The stain appears to have not sunk into the wood but rather stayed on top to be easily wiped off. Going to have to decontaminate it in the area. At least it’s worth a shot. More sanding, acetone, MS or something of that nature. Just be careful, you didn’t say if it was veneered or not. If it is the cleaning must be a lot more gentle in nature than solid wood. Don’t want to separate veneer from substrate.

-- The older I get the faster I was.

View Ashlei's profile


4 posts in 1194 days

#4 posted 07-08-2016 12:09 AM

Hmm, it’s worth a shot! I’m open to give anything a try. I’m not sure I could make it much worse…. Which was my statement when I decided to try and refinish it lol! I don’t know if it is veneer or solid wood. It’s a really old told table. We have had it for about 9 nears and the people we bought it from had told us it was old then. I have googled to try and decide which it was and convinced myself it was solid wood but now, I just honestly don’t know. Thank you for your help!

View Ashlei's profile


4 posts in 1194 days

#5 posted 07-08-2016 12:32 AM

Any ideas what would happen if I put some antiquing glaze over it?

View Picken5's profile


282 posts in 3197 days

#6 posted 07-08-2016 02:57 AM

Hard to tell from the photo so you may have sanded thru the veneer or that area may be “contaminated” with grease, wax, etc. A bit more sanding in that area may sand thru the contaminates — and you’d probably be no worse off if you had already sanded thru the veneer. If you do try this, try to sand a wider area so you don’t end up with a shallow recess in your table top. If, after more sanding, the area that doesn’t take the stain gets bigger, then you’ve probably sanded thru the veneer. I’ve never tried antiquing glaze so I can’t comment on that. But I have had limited success with gel stains by leaving it on the problem areas a bit longer than the container suggests. Gel stains act more like a surface colorant than most penetrating stains — sort of like paint. Sometimes this has worked out for me when dealing with problem areas. If you do try a gel stain and someplace is too dark, you can usually lighten it by wiping the dark area with a rag dipped in mineral spirits so long as you do it fairly soon after applying the gel stain — i.e. before it cures too much. It may take some experimenting. Good luck.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

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