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Time
3h00

Here’s how to refinish timber furniture and bring out the beauty of the wood.
I found this cute little '60s table with a veneered star inlay. It needed some help to get back to its original condition, but it cleaned up real nice.

Posted by Stephanie Albares from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia • Published See Stephanie Albares's 7 projects »
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  • How to make a side table. Refinished Star Inlay Table - Step 1
    Step 1

    Assess the finish. How bad is it, really? If it’s just a bit dinged, you can get by with a coat of furniture polish, but if it needs to be fully stripped back and restored, you’ve got some work ahead of you. The finish on the legs of this table was okay, but the lacquered top was in bad shape.

  • How to make a side table. Refinished Star Inlay Table - Step 2
    Step 2

    Strip the existing finish. Use paint stripper on an old lacquer finish; even with a power sander, it quickly gums up the paper and it takes a long time to actually chew through the stuff. Put on gloves, apply a thick layer of paint stripper to the timber, let it sit for the time recommended on the can, and then scrape it off onto the newspaper. It may take two coats to get all the lacquer.

  • How to make a side table. Refinished Star Inlay Table - Step 3
    Step 3

    Sand the bare timber. This will even out the tone and get it ready for new varnish. Sand it out with 120-grit paper, and then do a quick sand with 240-grit. If you’re working with a thin timber veneer, you’ll want to be careful that you don’t sand all the way through it.

  • How to make a side table. Refinished Star Inlay Table - Step 4
    Step 4

    Now that the timber is stripped clean, wipe it down with a tack cloth to remove the dust and apply one coat of oil-based matte polyurethane with a brush. The poly will ensure durability under an oil topcoat.

  • How to make a side table. Refinished Star Inlay Table - Step 5
    Step 5

    Once the poly has dried, give the table a quick sand with 400-grit paper and then apply a coat or two of Danish oil to bring out the grain of the timber. The oil topcoat can be touched up without having to strip the piece all over again.

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