How to Refinish a Wood Dining Table

Updated February 21, 2017

If the finish on your wood dining table is fading or flawed, rejuvenate its appearance by applying fresh stain and varnish. Before you begin, understand one very important point. Finished wood dining tables are coated with a protective glossy varnish that prevents stain absorption. You must sand this finish, prior to staining, or the new finish will ultimately flake. Know the proper sanding technique, or you could end up marring the table with abrasion scars.

Eliminate the old varnish gloss finish from the wood dining table by sanding with 120-grit sandpaper. Sand along with the table's wood grain until the finish looks dull. Use a palm sander to ease the process. Don't sand against the wood grain or you will damage the table.

Add 220-grit sandpaper to the palm sander. Sand the wood dining table until it feels smooth.

Remove sawdust from the wood dining table using tack cloths.

Protect areas you do not want stained by covering them with painter's tape and dust sheets.

Coat the wood dining table with an oil stain, using a paintbrush engineered for oil-based paint. Use clean cloth rags to wipe excess stain from the dining table. Wait six hours for the stain to dry.

Use white spirit to clean the paintbrush.

Coat the wood dining table with varnish, using the clean oil paintbrush. Wait six hours before setting items on the table.

Things You'll Need

  • Palm sander
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloths
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Dust sheets
  • 2- to 4-inch oil paintbrush
  • Oil-based maple stain
  • White spirit
  • Varnish
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.