Joss & Main

Friday, December 28, 2012

Prepping and Stripping A Dining Room Table Pt. 1 Refinishing A Dining Room Table Series

Welcome to the Refinishing A Dining Room Table Series. Over the next three days I will be going over how to strip, clean, prime, sand, paint and seal a trestle dining room table. 

In a previous post I shared some before and after pictures of a $40 dining room table find. If you missed it you can find it here

Today I'm going to show you how I prepped, stripped and cleaned the table to prepare it for painting.

Things you'll need:

Indoor/outdoor paint and varnish stripper

Plastic scrappers

Horse hair or brass stripping brushes

Medium sanding block


Chemical gloves


Bucket of warm water

Trisodium Phosphate



I'm a visual learner so i'm incorporating lots of pictures :)

Sanding with Toby. When you prepare a table for stripping, sometimes the piece(if old enough) may have loose polycrylic or polyurethane peeling or flaking off. I sanded it with a medium grit sanding block. My cat thought I was trying to play with him lol. Also DO NOT do with with a new manicure. Mine was ruined.

After sanding, you're going to dust off the extra particles and use a stripper. Citristrip Paint and Varnish Stripper is good for indoor use as well as outdoor use.  I chose this brand because I did this entire process in my dining room. It doesn't smell too bad but make sure that you have tarp laid out and baby gates up to keep children out and to keep the stripper from getting onto the floor. If it does clean it up right away. Also you'll need chemical gloves so as not to damage your skin. And take off your jewelry.

I used a spray stripper because it was the easiest at getting into the crevices on this dining room table base.

The stripper doing it's work. When you're using this shake the can and spray generously. Making sure to get in everywhere you want stripped. It'll take about 15-20 for this brand stripper to do it's job.

After your allotted time expires, you're going to use the flat plastic scraper to scrape off all of the stripper and varnish/paint. And the bristled brush to scrub out all of the little areas. I didn't included pic because my hands/gloves were nasty. Also remember, if you're not sure what the stripper will look like when it's ready, it'll look like a top layer of hardened frosting. How it gets a very hard thin layer on top of it? You know what I'm talking

Ta-da!! Look it's wiped down!! In the wiping process I used shop towels and paper towels. I prefer paper towels because they are thin and you can squish them into crevices better. 

Now I chose to wipe down the table with a dry towel because I wanted to see if I needed to re-strip the table. You don't have to do this, it's an extra step but to me it's worth it. Do you see the blanket? That's all of the scraped off gunk from the trestle base. Nasty huh?

Now, there is still stripper on this base. So here comes the cleaning part. If you leave stripper on your furniture you run the risk of messing up your project. The stain/paint won't adhere well and may not stay on.

In comes Trisodium Phosphate. What's cool about this stuff is it's one of the only cleaners that you can use inside. Pretty much every degreaser I was looking at was for outdoor use. This powder you mix with warm water and it'll clean the stripper right off. It also can be used to clean items in your home. But it may remove the finish on your floors. Just warning yah :) The mix is 1/2 cup with 2 gal of warm water. Mix with your gloved hand and sponge and wipe/scrub clean.

Those darker areas I had to re-strip.

Do you see how much lighter the wood is after I cleaned it? It's amazing.

Nasty, messy work area. Now you see why you need gates, drop cloth/tarp(my suggestion) and other precautions. This is terrible dangerous for children and pets.

He wanted to help out. Luckily, I took this when everything was put away and the trestle base was drying from being cleaned.

Sorry for the bad pic.

And it's all cleaned!! She's a beaut isn't she? At this stage I named her Melba. 

Come back tomorrow for the priming process!!

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