Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Refinishing an Empire style side table!

This project is one that I am doing for my daughter, she has been furnishing her bedroom with furniture from the second hand shops as well and has been "collecting" Empire style furniture. This is the third piece we have found and I have refinished them all for her. The other two are gorgeous, and I will show pictures of those as well after I feature this table. I believe she paid $300.00 for all three, and that is a bargain for Mahogany furniture.

All of these pieces were in excellent shape, none of the veneer was peeled away in any areas, which is pretty good because they looked like they had been neglected for years. Usually when furniture is neglected, especially if they had been exposed to temperature changes, the hot and cold eventually takes it's toll. So the fact that they were is such good shape for as dirty as they were, was a surprise to us.

Before I got my hands on it

My daughter is using this table as a nightstand in their master bedroom

You can't see the grain on the table top because no doubt had years of old varnish on it.

This is what I use to strip off the old finish, it works really well and isn't toxic like the old strippers used to be. I would probably have a few more brain cells if they would have invented this about 30 years ago!

What you will need are gloves, steel wool, and your stripper

I took the table completely apart, that way you can get all the finish off and not leave any in the cracks and it's just easier for me to do it in parts. When I'm finished I will put the table back together before I put the finish coat on it.
I have a thick coat of stripper on it and let it sit for 30 minutes for it to work. Then I take my coarse steel wool and, going in the direction of the grain I remove as much of the old finish as possible. I keep repeating this process until all of the finish is removed.

As you can see, I have everything coated with the stripper

Now the table is completely stripped of it's old finish, you can see the gorgeous grain on the table top. Once I strip all the finish off I clean all the pieces with denatured alcohol just to get all of the residue off before the final finish coat.

You can see how they make the oval top, buy putting small pieces of wood together so it can curve and then covering both sides with veneer.

The hubby put the table back together for me

And there's the base all put back together

Now to attach the top back onto the base

Next, I stain it with a Mahogany stain, you wouldn't have to stain it at all if you didn't want to. But the top was so much lighter than the rest so we needed to. We stained all of her furniture with a Mahogany oil based stain. When you stain furniture make sure that after you brush the stain on and work it into the wood good, that you take a clean rag and wipe it all off again. Wipe all the stain back off, I have seen pieces of furniture that people stain and they don't know to wipe the stain off. It covers up the beautiful wood grain and just doesn't look good. 
I will let the stain dry for a day or two before I brush on the poly. I use oil base polyurethane for 99% of my finished wood furniture, I just think it looks richer.
When the poly is dry, I sand it all down with a fine finishing sandpaper, clean it completely with a tack cloth and put another coat of poly on. 

Now you have a beautiful piece of furniture......

Below are all the pieces I have refinished for her. I don't know why these pictures didn't turn out well, they really don't do the furniture justice.

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