I got this solid wood table off of Craigslist a year ago. At the time It had only one scratch in it. Now after a year its worn down and has many scratches and fades but only on the top! So This instructable will just be on how to restore the top of the table to its former yet better beauty! I decided to go with Oak stain because that is what closely matched the current stain. Therefore I'm assuming the table is made of oak but I could be wrong. I know it ain't pine atleast. The nice part about redoing a table is that once its fully sanded down it will be up YOU to customize it to any color or shade of your liking to match your home and lifestyle. Especially with these Craigslist tables you don't know the history of what it has seen so for me anyway redoing the top was more than just a cosmetic issue, Now I know once its refinished what the table has seen a top of it, plus the added feeling to your home with a nice shiny piece of furniture is very rewarding. I decided to use MINWAX for its easy to use ability and color selection as you will see in the following steps.

For this table project you can expect a start to finish time of about 3 days. It will take time for the stain which is 12 hours to fully cure and a good day for the Polyurethane gloss to cure. A quart can of each is more than enough to do this job.

Step 1: Materials Needed:

So first things first. You gotta decide what you want to do with it and what it needs to match. So you got to consider the following:

-Colors of the room and adjacent furniture
-The tint of the table your restoring, do you want it to stick out or blend in? In my case a more light colored wood
-Do you want it to have a nice shine look or just some small shine?
-How much of it are your restoring? So you know how much stain/Poly you need to buy
-It can't be done in your living area where you eat and sleep, sanding is to messy and the stain is a health hazard inside inclosed areas so you will need to do it outside or in a garage with the front door open.

Also you will need:
-Electric sander
-120 grit sand paper disks, a pack of 5 costs about $4.50
-Electrical drop cord (those long orangle cords) for the sander
-Safety glasses
-Dry cloth to wipe it down as you go
-Dedication (sanding will be the hardest part)
-Paint brushes, about 3 in total. (Foam brushes are best) 0.73 cents each
-A quart can of each,MINWAX Stain and Polyurethane, Stain costs about $7 and the Poly costs $10

With those things considered, lets get to work!
Great job. Looks wonderful. I've seen so many similarly damaged tables being thrown away. I'm going trash pick the next one I see.
Beautiful job! I just picked up a mission style oak table off craigslist today, and will be going through this process when i find the time. I used pretty much these exact steps and products to create oak window sills recently, with one small additional step, as recommended by a professional carpenter friend: After the first coat of poly, lightly sand with a 220 or higher grit sandpaper, to remove small rough spots created by first coat of poly. This will result in a smoother finished product. Just my two-cents;-) Thanks for a great Instructable!
Excellent work man!. Congrats and thanks for sharing
Thanks! It took a lot of work to get this far.

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