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Restoring old drop leaf table

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Anonymous

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Hi
I am after some advice / ideas for the following project. The wife got an old oak drop leaf table and 4 chairs today from a oxfam type shop. We have it delivered on Thursday but i saw it today and to tell you the truth i did not like it that much but the boss loves it and wants it for a dinning table.

She is going to put new covers on the seats and wants me to clean up the table chairs etc. I am a joiner but have no ideas about finishes etc as where i used to work we had a french polishers shop who did all the work so have no experience at all.

Like i said the table/chairs are oak and it looks like there is a darkish stain on it which is worn in places and quite thick in others. I thought about sanding it down a little but im worried that it will be really light in places and not in others, i don't fancy completely stripping it.

Can you experts give any advice on how i can make it look ok without stripping it and do you think i could restain it and then add a finish. Any advice would be great please post your thoughts and the exact name of any products you recommend and techniques

Many thanks
Coggy
 

Aragorn

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Hmmm - bit of trial an error may be needed here. How about starting with the simplest method of just rewaxing it? This should even out the colour variations and smarten up the overall look.
I'm no expert on waxes, but there's fine paste wax and briwax type products. If you go for something with a colour to it (such as briwax) then it may give a more even finish).

Best to see what other people say before going with this option...!

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Anonymous

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Thanks Aragorn

I like the sound of that. Should i give it a little rub down first with some really fine sand paper, especially where there are build ups of the previous stain, or just wash it and wax it ???

Thanks

Coggy
 

Aragorn

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Depends on the current finish really. If it's already fairly grimey with old wax and muck, then it'll take forever to get it clean. Just wax over the top! Try it on an inconspicuous area to see how it looks.
That's the good thing about rewaxing old furniture, you can get a reasonable looking finish without too much effort. Of course it's not the only option, but might be worth starting here. If it's the look you want and it evens out the finish, then you'll be grateful you didn't strip it all down to bare wood!

Good luck!
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trevtheturner

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Hi, Coggy,

If the table and chairs are old and well used there will probably be a build up of old wax in some places, together with some grease (from hands and fingers over time), and it could be this which has resulted in the variations in colour. So, I would suggest a general clean-up and look-see before you re-wax.

I wouldn't use an abrasive paper as you would no doubt find that the residues on the surfaces would clog the paper immediately and you would end up spending more on abrasives than the table & chairs cost in the first place. :roll:

I would suggest that you use some kind of solvent with an abrasive pad - a green nylon kitchen sink type scourer would be fine - keep turning it as you progress and don't use too much pressure. This should remove any residues without damaging the surface. I would avoid using wire wool as there may be little nicks or bare patches where you find you are abrading bare wood - and wire wool and oak don't go together! The wire wool reacts with the tannins in the oak to leave black stains which you cannot remove. For a solvent you could use one of the Colron range of cleaners, available in most DIY sheds, or ordinary white spirit.

Then a good wipe down and on with the waxing - best of luck.

If all of this is no good (you might want to try just a bit first - say one chair back) and you decide on a full strip, re-colouring and refinishing, set aside loads and loads of time before you start!!

Trev.
 

trevtheturner

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Your post went in whilst I was putting mine together, Aragorn - I'm a bit slow, you see!

I don't disagree at all with what you have said - in fact, that's just what I have done in the past - but was just trying to give some pointers on a general clean-up if necessary.

Trev.
 
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Anonymous

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Thank everyone

Just one thing, if i did decide to totally strip it, what is the best and easiest way to do it ???

Thanks again all

Coggy
 

Aragorn

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Trev
What you've said about clean up and clogging sandpaper is spot on. I think that's what I was meaning to say, but never quite did!

Coggy
Total strip? No easy way that I know of - lots of hard work with solvents and abrasives. If you need to go that route, it might just be worth making some enquiries at your local furniture restoration yards/antique dealer bodge-up type places - see if they'll give you a reasonable price for doing it???

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