I've been helping my older daughter furnish her most recent apt., mostly with estate sale and thrift finds. We found this little coffee table at a thrift store for $7 (!) and I refinished it for her. I forgot to take a "before-before" photo, but suffice it to say it was "beat up." I used gel stain with no poly, which is my preferred method. These are during and after; four photos to follow.
Here it is during the stripping process.
1) During strippingThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Nitalynn,
Oh, thanks again, everyone! I actually DO enjoy the gel staining process; I don't enjoy the stripping process so much...but the results are so rewarding. I stopped using poly because I find it difficult to work with, and I discovered I could get a lovely protective sheen by using 5-6 coats of gel stain.
Details pretty please! What type of stripper do you use? Do you sand all the original stain down to bare wood, or does the gel stain cover the old stain? Is this one of those products that goes on the top surface like paint, or does it actually penetrate as a stain?
Tuesday - questions, questions! I use CitraStrip, and apply as many coats as necessary to remove the old finish. I brush it on with a disposable brush, and then use a scraper, and then paper towels; let dry, repeat as necessary. When the old finish seems to be removed, I clean it with rags and denatured alcohol. If it seems to not be quite stripped (as was the case with this table), I sand with 220 grit sandpaper, and then clean again with denatured alcohol. So yes, I get it down to the bare wood. I then apply the gel stain thickly with a disposable brush, and rag off. Repeat as necessary. The first coat does penetrate (if you've gotten down to bare wood), and then it builds up with each coat. I think you might could use it over an old finish like paint, but I'm not really sure how well it would adhere, and would be more of a "quick fix."
Nice job. Suggestion, if for use as a coffee or end table? Consider a piece of glass cut to fit the top insert. Not very expensive and they will grind the edges so they are not sharp. Use little clear silicone bumps in the corners to keep it just barely off the wood. Then any drink rings or sticky spots can be cleaned off easily.
Even a few favorite photos can be laid under the glass if she likes?
Thanks, kw, seashell, gracie, annie...conrad, that's an idea; I'll ask her if she's interested. I just have to decide at what point to stop on a $7 table - :/ She's a graduate student and we are still partially supporting her, and trying to do everything on as small a budget as possible! But I do appreciate the suggestion and everyone's positive comments