How I Destroyed Our Dinning Table.


Introduction: How I Destroyed Our Dinning Table.

Somewhere around in the middle of the 1990's my mother bought a new "Solid" oak dining room set, a table and 6 chairs.

Having 4 teenagers in the house only 1 chair survived the past 20 years, but the table stood the test of time (somewhat), as you can see from the before pics, it only had some ware and tear to the finish.

We inherited the table about 7 years ago and I finally convinced the wife it needed refinishing, here's how it went.

Step 1:

First thing to do dis-assembly. Remove table top and legs from the base, replace washers/nuts onto bolts you don't want to lose them.

Step 2:

Next step was to use a technique called "Shou Sugi ban" to darken and protect the wood.

Shou Sugi Ban (or Yakisugi) is an ancient Japanese exterior siding technique that preserves wood by charring it with fire. Traditionally, Sugi wood (cryptomeria japonica L.f., also called Japanese cedar) was used. The process involves charring the wood, cooling it, cleaning it, and finishing it with a natural oil.

Step 3:

With the legs finished I moved on to the table base.

Step 4:

I started burning off the old finish from the table top, first on the sides then I moved onto the table top.

Step 5:

After the initial charing/sanding of the top I went back over the top with the torch And that's when disaster struck, the top of the "solid oak" table top started peeling off... when I brushed off the charcoaled wood, I realized it was only a thin oak veneer that was glued to chipboard/particle board with a 1/2 inch of real oak around the outside lip.

Now I need to figure out what I can do with this hunk of junk table...and the wife was/is not pleased.

Thanks for looking at my disaster piece of an ible.

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    48 Discussions

    somebody made a killing off these tables. We had the same table when I was growing up, (my mother still has it), my best friend in high school had the same table, (the middle insert was destroyed when he threw a burning dish towel on it), and my wife's parents have one too!


    2 years ago


    That's what you get when playing with fire.............

    What am I missing here? I have refinished DOZENS of pieces of furniture of all types and sizes and woods and never had a problem with veneer.

    Much like others have suggested, new veneer would be great and cheap, but would no longer match ur charred finish on the legs and pedestal.but- this would require a lot of work- but what about a cut wood design. You know- where different types of wood are cut and placed together like a puzzle? Idk what it's called, but once done you could char it as well, or char portions and stain others to make a unique design

    1 reply

    The charred parts that worked look really nice. There are several different ways to refinish the top so it will still make you smile when you use it :)

    I've got the same table. I've been thinking about doing a penny or washer table top for it!

    I do not understand. "hunk of junk?" Is this not the same sturdy table that served dinner for 20 years? All those birthdays, Thanksgivings,card games, Christmases, school projects, late night workbench? In fact, until you screwed the pooch this was the center, the heart of your home was it not? now its junk? Wow, if That doesn't say something...

    It's so interesting when people think something is "solid" oak. I worked for a charity that took furniture donations that we would pick up from the donors homes. We went to a ladies house that said she had a "nice solid oak entertainment center". When we arrived I told her it wasn't actually solid oak and she proceeded to bite my head off! I think whoever sold it to her used that as a selling point. At any rate, I turned the piece around and showed he a raw edge in the back that was clearly verneered plywood! I think the easiest way to find out if it's plywood or veneer is to find a raw edge or look underneath (like if its a table). I've sold a lot of these types of tables and people say they are going to sand them down and refinish them which I have to tell them would be a bad idea as veneer is usually surprisingly thin and will sand right off!

    Ah geeze, that looks horrible! Yes, I did laugh:) There are some good fixes below, so you should be able to salvage it. Now, just in case you, or any of your readers, have a problem with putting something hot on a veneered surface, like maybe a pizza, (don't ask!) and getting a white spot where the heat/steam was, I can tell you how to fix it. Don't go trying the old hot iron and towel thing, it doesn't work. What does work, is plain old mayo! Yup, mayonnaise! Wipe it on with your fingers, you don't need a lot, let it sit for a minute and wipe it off. It gets the white off and there is only a little, not so shiny, but shiny, spot left. It doesn't harm the surface at all. I suppose if I really rub the spot with a good wax it will be shiny again, but I've lost interest now that the
    white is gone and it looks pretty decent. You can't really see it
    unless you look for it. Of course when my boyfriend comes over, (he put
    the pizza on the table!), I point it out and say "Just look at that!
    It looks horrible." Once he turned the table around when I wasn't in
    the room, and I pointed to the wrong spot to scold him. He's just mean!

    Paint it. That's a simple fix.

    I had this same table and i knew it was a veneer table the moment i seen it.
    not sure how you missed that. the bottom grain is way different than the top grain.
    tall tails of it not being a real "solid" table. had a table cloth to hide its ugly grain design and worn out veneer. switched back to the old table after awhile.
    still fun story. lol


    2 years ago

    Actually you can finish removing the veneer and apply a brand new one on top. It will look like a brand new table.

    your welcome, I enjoyed looking at the lble.

    You can buy a 1/4" oak board sheet from Home Depot and cut and glue it to the table top.

    To be fair mate, you weren't to know a charlatan sold you a chipboard fake.

    Quick fix... table cloth. If you want to get fancy, get a piece of glass to cover it and do some decoupage to make it a "keepsake". :)


    2 years ago

    Oh dear! So very sorry! It seems, if you still have the table top and sides, you might try an amazing dark indigo stain or any color, brushed on. Let it soak in. Then when it's dry used heavy masking tape. Tape around the edge, three layers around the top. Mix up a poly resin and pour it over the top. I understand a heat gun, gently move over the top, about an inch up from the resin, will remove the bubbles. KEEP MOVING so as to not cause a fire. Once this has set, I'd give it a day or two (the container will tell you, remove the tape and polyurethane the sides. It could turn out quite lovely. Itthink it's a disaster waiting for "art".

    Oh, I would be furious! (not at you, at the people who sold my mother a "solid oak" table!) I'm sure you'll do something good with it, though. Can't wait to see the results.


    2 years ago

    Since your putting it in your game room, a felt topped card (poker) table would work. Good luck! Thanks for sharing I wouldn't have known there is only veneer on table tops.