Refurbishing a round wooden coffee table

7 Aug 2013
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United Kingdom

DIY novice here. I want to refurbish this coffee table (photo shows table after surface rough sanded with a rectangular orbital sander) I used 40 grade paper so far for initial sand, will find sand surface next.


1) What sanding tools are best to sand the intricate legs ?

2) What grade sandpaper should I be using for initial sand and for fine sand ?

3) Once sanded, what do I need to do to make it look good ? I've watched a couple of youtube videos, but want confirmation... see following questions...

4) What staining product is good (but cheap) for this job.. I'm looking to get a light colour.

5) After staining, can you recommend a varnish ?

6) Is there anything else I should do?

Thanks in advance.
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Wire wool for legs, start with coarse grade and work up to a 000 grade to finish, you could oil or wax? You can't make it lighter short of bleaching the timber.
You want to get the oriignal stain off first, usung wire wool on the legs, abrasive paper with a sanding block or power sander elsewhere. Oxalic acid will get rid of stain if sanding takes too long, but be careful with it.

Grade 40 is very coarse. I start with grade 80 on flat areas and 120 on curves.

You want to finish with grade 240 paper or grade 400 for a very smooth finish. Finish options include plain wax (soft), Danish Oil, hardwax oil (more resistant to stains, easier to apply), and varnish. YOu can get DO and hardwax oil with stain included. If you stain first, make sure the stain is compatible with the finish e.g. do not apply DO over oil based stain.
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from a different perspective...

40 grade paper used with orbital sander will leave marks that usually cannot be removed - unless you are happy with a mass of little circular scratches - made more obvious via staining.

Ditto above with anything rougher than 120

Best way to remove a finish is to strip it with paint stripper and wire wool. If the wood goes black, apply oxalic acid to it afterwards, problem solved.

Sanding does not only remove the finish it removes any bleaching to the wood surface itself thus producing uneven colours if you are not careful. If the surface is veneered, it will have been sanded in manufacture so will not stand much more sanding.

In sanding a polished finish off you are making a ton of work for yourself and in danger of compromising the end result.

Sanding turned legs is just daft not to mention exceedingly time consuming;) The time it takes compared to stripping the finish is massive. Bear in mind prepping by sanding influences absorbtion of stain. Stripping ensures even staining. Sanding unless taking hours, doesnt.

Best strippers are old style Nitromores types. Now banned for DIY use but still readily available and safeish to use as long as its done OUTSIDE PREFERABLY ON A WINDY DAY! . Eco strippers are hit and miss but often do the job.

Golden rule is chuck the sandpaper away - it can cause more problems than its worth not to mention the hours spent....

Hope that helps

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