Top Tips When Restoring The Original Tabletop Finish

September 18, 2020

Wooden tables remain one of the most popular forms of dining table. The reason is simple. They are durable, look good, and generally considered to be environmentally friendly.

While modern tables use reclaimed wood to create stunning styles, older ones are good for the environment simply because you keep using them, saving the destruction of trees to create new ones.

Of course, over time the finish of a wooden table can look lackluster. That’s why you need these tips to restore the original finish.

It is worth noting that a reputable furniture repair business will handle the process for you. The finish will be guaranteed but you may enjoy the satisfaction of trying to do it yourself first.

Start By Sanding

Technically you should start by removing everything from the table and examining it. But, once you’re ready to start you’re going to have to get the sandpaper out. Sanding removes the old top coat of wax or polish if there is any of it left.

Sanding will also allow you to remove scratches from the tabletop. The deeper the scratch the more sanding you’ll have to do.

However, remember to keep sanding the whole tabletop to ensure you have an even finish. You don’t want dips in your table where you’ve sanded one spot only;

Remember to wear goggles when sanding. It is best to do this manually and to use a heavy grit to start with. Once the scratches and scuffs are gone you’ll have to re-sand with a finer grade of paper.

You can’t take too long sanding! When you’ve completed it, wipe off the top to remove the dust and inspect your tabletop. You’ll probably want to do more sanding.

Once you’ve finished the top it’s a good idea to do the legs as well, if you want the whole table to look like new.

Check Joints

Older furniture is usually put together with dowels or mortise and tendon joints. They may have worked loose over time. Now is a good opportunity to check the joints and fix them, returning them to their original format.


Once you’ve sanded and sanded again you’ll be ready to choose a stain. This step is only applicable if you want to change the color of the wood. To stain your freshly sanded wood simply follow the instructions on your wood stain tin.


Polishing is where the table really gets its shine. The idea is to use shellac which has been dissolved and diluted in mineral spirits. This can then be applied to the tabletop in a circular motion. It’s best to use cotton screwed into a ball and wrapped in cloth.

You’ll need to slowly go across the entire table and then leave it to dry before re-applying the shellac solution. It will take several coats to get the right finish but the effort is worth it!

You can cheat and use a ready-made French polish although the effect may not be quite as impressive.

Top Tips When Restoring The Original Tabletop Finish was last modified: by

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