Refinishing Old Dining Room Set




Introduction: Refinishing Old Dining Room Set

We all have mismatching furniture that just doesn't go with anything else in the house or apartment. Though we all wish it did. Well you can change all that if you're willing to do the work! Since you're on Instructables site I'm guessing you are up for almost any DIY challenge. This is my first Instructable and I hope you enjoy!

Instructable Estimate Time to complete project:

  • 10-20 hours per chair (not including 24hr dry time after washing it)
  • 10-15 hours for table (not including 24hr dry time after washing it)
  • Total Estimate for a 4 piece dining room set:
  • Best 60hrs
  • Worst 115hrs
  • I completed this in just over 63hrs.

Step 1: Choosing Your Piece

I choose to refinish an old pine wood dining room set that is just boring. I'm more of a modern girl that enjoys the classic lines and real wood. You want to plan out your stain and paint job or both before you even begin. I knew I wanted to make the legging and side supports look like metal with spray paint and the back rest and seat to be a darker stain. I also wanted to highlight the chairs details that are hidden with the boring plain stain. Make sure you do one piece at a time so you can pace yourself.

Step 2: Materials You Will Need This Project

Materials you will need are: NO particular order

  1. Stripper 1 gallon
  2. Chemical Gloves x 2 (just encase you destroy one pair)
  3. Respirator
  4. Safety Glasses
  5. Paint Brush x 5 (one for each chair and then the table)
  6. Solo Cups x 7
  7. Flexible Paint Scrapers (3 different sizes. If you're going to use one size get the 1inch scraper)
  8. Drill
  9. Leather Work Gloves
  10. Newspaper 1 bundle (Makes it easy for clean up from the stripper)
  11. A box of 100 pair rubber or latex single use gloves (So much easier to grab a clean pair than washing reusable ones hoping there is no paint or stain on them that could accidentally be transferred to a portion you do not wish it to be there).
  12. Scott EdgeLock Painters Tape x 2 (one is 2in" thick the other 1in" thick)
  13. Foam poly brush x 5 (one for each furniture piece [ 4 chairs + 1 table = 5 total] )
  14. Painters key $0.49 (flat head screw driver does the same trick)
  15. Rubber Mallet
  16. Spray Paint cans x 10 (2 for each chair and 2 for the table)
  17. 1 Quart of stain
  18. Sandpaper 300+ grit (9 sheets you can cut them to size to last longer)
  19. Polyacrylic Satin finish 1 quart
  20. Silver Acrylic paint 1 tube
  21. Black Mars Acrylic paint 1 tube
  22. Q-tips x 10
  23. Size # 4 acrylic paint brush
  24. Scissors
  25. Cloth or old t-shirt/hoody

Before you begin stripping your chair you will want to take it apart (if you can) This will make it easier in the next steps when it comes to masking the chair of what you want stained and what you want painted. This way they do not bleed into one another. However if you choose to strip your chair without taking it apart just skip this step and go to Step 3.

Step 3: Stripping

Apply the stripper using the paint brush. Once you have a surface covered you then want to take your flexible paint tool and angle it about 30 degrees from the plain surface. You will see both the stripper and the stain color being lifted off of the pieces surface. Strip each piece carefully you do NOT want to get the Stripper on your skin or you will give yourself a chemical burn. Also the fumes are very powerful and you want to have your respirator mask on for this.

Step 4: Sanding

After you strip all your pieces from your chair (or the chair as a whole) you will want to sand it with 300+ grit sandpaper. I used 320 and this will keep the surface smooth but expose the wood to absorb the stain and paint. If you have a sheet pad sander or orbital sander you can use that too. It would be easer than sanding it all by hand and cut your time down tremendously.

Step 5: Washing & Drying

Once you are done sanding all your pieces (or the full chair) you will want to wash your wood to get all the sand dust off of it. Use warm water and Vinegar a 50/50 mix in a bucket. You can use paper towels or a rag to clean the wood. Once you are threw washing it you want to let the wood dry completely this way it will absorb all stain and paint faster. I recommend a minimum of 24 hours. However the amount of dry time is equivalent to you season and climate.

Step 6: Staining

You want to mask off with tape where you don't want the stain to be touching. Once you do this you want to apply a thin coat using the cut up sweatshirt (Or whatever you choose to apply the stain) and wipe it off with a dry piece of cloth. I applied only one coat of stain. Let the Stain dry completely this can take anywhere from 2-4 hours. (For best application follow the directions on your stain can).

Repeat this for all sections you wish to stain.

  1. Seat
  2. Seat siding
  3. Back support

Step 7: Masking for Paint

Once your stain is completely dry you want to remove the original tape you had protecting the wood from having the stain getting onto areas you don't want.

Now you will want to mask over the stained area and make sure the tape is secured on all sides and flush so NO paint will leak between the tape and wood.

Take your time masking as this is the most tedious of all steps!

Step 8: Painting

You will need 2 spray cans for each chair & 300+ grit sand paper.

  1. Shake your can until the ball barely makes a rattling sound.
  2. You will spray anywhere between 8-12 inches from the surface area.
  3. Spray a thin coat (one pass) and let it dry (30min-1hr)
  4. Then sand with 300+ grit sand paper and spray another coat.
  5. Repeat spraying and sanding until you get the desired affect. I did a total of 4 coats
  7. After your final coat dries remove tape.

Step 9: Detailing Masking

For the detail on the Chair Back Support and the Seat I masked out along the grooves that were already there.

I applied silver acrylic paint that best matched my spray paint. This is thicker and only needed one coat.

The acrylic paint will take the longest to dry about 1-hour minimum or you risk pealing it off with the tape.

Also I used Mars Black acrylic paint to reverse the detail on the now metal looking legs.

This needed 2 coats

Step 10: Sealant

You can choose a variety of sealants for furniture I chose Polyacrylic. Follow the directions on your Can is the best way to do it. And that's exactly what I did.

  1. Apply first thin coat to chair pieces.
  2. Wait 2hr minimum to dry
  3. Light sand 300+ grit sandpaper between coats.
  4. Apply 3 coats total to chair.
  5. Do NOT sand final coat.

Step 11: Reassemble

You will want a Rubber mallet to bang it all together so you do not damage all your hard work.

Put it together the same way you took it apart.

Step 12: Final Result

For the table I did the exact same process as the chairs it was just alot faster! Hope you enjoyed my Instructable and that this will help you in future projects!

All the Best

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    13 Discussions


    5 years ago

    I have always wanted a big beautiful bedroom vanity and was able to get one this year... It is very dark wood with metallic accents ... I want to create a master bedroom and tie this piece of furniture

    Cheese Queen
    Cheese Queen

    5 years ago on Introduction

    How did you managed to "wash" the wood with water without raising the grain?

    And why wash it- why not use a tack cloth? Inquiring minds...


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent I've yet to have a positive experience with tack cloth as it always seems to leave pieces of cloth throughout the piece.

    I've never had a problem with not raising the grain using a 50/50 mixture of warm water & vinegar (this is your white distilled vinegar, I was not clear on that) as long as I let it dry fully. Also I'm not soaking the wood just getting it slightly damp. The damp paper towel or rag did not give me any shard pieces left behind like the tack cloth.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I've not heard of your warm water & vinegar mixture for cleaning (I think the "white, distilled" is probably an important caveat!); we were always taught to clean with white spirit to prevent opening & raising the grain. Superb looking finished product tho' & great instructable, thanks very much for taking the time to share.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    You did a very good job on this. I too like the darker color but also like to be able to see the grain in the wood. The metallic is a nice touch. Just a couple of things that MIGHT help. When using the stripper, IF you are trying to get through several layers of paint or polyurethane, you can cover it with clear plastic after applying the stripper and it will keep it from evaporating. Letting it work longer. Also, when you're "washing" it to get the dust off, it goes a lot quicker and in my opinion does a better job to just use some paint thinner on an old rag. I know it's exposing you to a chemical but after using stripper, paint thinner is kind of mild. You may already know these tricks but I just thought I might help someone. Thanks for a good Instructable.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Looks great and the contrasting details really put this above the usual stuff! Well worth it.

    If you get the chance, and have a store that sells it, I'd suggest checking out General Finishes Gel Stain,
    it could be perfect for something like this. I'd bet with the dark
    color, you could do a light sanding and then just refinish with the gel
    stain (which is wipe on). It literally saved a project that the
    "minXXX" stuff was not working for.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    HP thank you very much. I personally love contrast & try to show off details that someone else already put the time and effort in that's been lost. I will look into General Finishes Gel Stain I try not to use anything that I couldn't get


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I will give this a try on my next project.


    5 years ago

    Nice job and thanks. This is why I get so many clients cause the DIY part is just not up to the challenge of the working family. Job security....


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Yes I made this and if you have any questions I am more than happy to answer them!