You may remember the updated chairs & legs post from a couple of weeks ago? Since those were ready and painted we were off to tackle the tabletop.
The edges of my table were slightly curved and had a multilevel edge detail. I had forever used a tablecloth to cover that up. We decided to just cut the edges off and make the table a simple and smaller rectilinear surface. This was definitely a task that required a little courage and the help of Heidi and Monica. Power tools anyone?
It was a little trickier than any of us could have imagined since there was not a squared edge on any of the 4 sides. We decided to use a metal square to draw what would be the final tabletop shape/size. Then we clamped the same metal squares to the table so we could run our circular saw alongside them as a guide. There was some serious finger-crossing and guessing going on. We knew it wasn’t going to be a big loss if we failed. After all it was only a 20-year-old cheap pine table. And there is always the table-cloth ; )
We figured we could sand off that nasty yellowish surface and stain it a neutral color. Too yellow for me.
Next came the sanding and staining.
The sanding was challenging. No wonder my table had lasted 20 years – it had a hard finish that would not sand off easily.
We started by trying an orbital sander. That didn’t work.
We moved on to non-toxic stripper (Citrus Strip). That didn’t work either.
OK then, confession, we tried a test patch of the highly toxic stripper that was sitting in the basement. No luck! We were kind of happy about that.
Finally, we found that the palm sander, 60 grit sandpaper, and a lot of elbow grease were the trick to cutting through that tough surface. (Heidi’s pretty proud of herself that she cracked the code of the polyurethane finish removal).
After sanding off the polyurethane, we moved into the fine-tune sanding of the wood. We used the orbital sander without the dust bag attached – that wasn’t on purpose, it was a used sander and we couldn’t find the bag…What are ya gonna do?
We made sure we had dust mask, protective glasses and noise reduction head-gear all to protect the obvious. We did the sanding in a garage/shop so it wasn’t a big deal to have a little dust flying around. It wasn’t hard to do but it did take some time and patience.
We began with a coarse 60 grit sandpaper and gradually moved through finer and finer grits until we ended up at 240. It was super fine and the table surface felt so smooth and soft by the time we got there (4 hours later). For the last sanding step, we eased (rounded) the edges very slightly.
We used one of the edge pieces that we cut off the table top to test the stain color options. Again, we just used the stain we had left over from other projects as a first step. We settled on Walnut. The actual table surface is Pine, but the color of the Walnut stain seemed to work well with the other colors in my kitchen. I ended up applying two layers of stain to get the color right.
The final step was to apply the sealer. We used Daly’s Profin. The directions on the can said to apply 3-4 coats. I applied 3 coats with a sponge brush and made sure had good ventilation. Luckily we had some warm days. I could leave the doors and windows open. I did turn on my kitchen hood when the weather wouldn’t allow the doors and windows to be open.
Finally, we put the legs on and there ya have it. There are some finishing details I might get to, but for the most part this project is done for now. On to others!