How to Restore a Dining Table

Updated November 21, 2016

Bring an old dining table back to life by restoring the wood to its original shine. The time it takes to renew your table depends on the extent of the damage and the overall size of the table. It may take one day or several days to do the job. Make sure you have the right tools and enlist the help of friends and family to make the job easier.

Place a large sheet underneath your dining table if you plan to keep it indoors while you work. Take the table into the garage if you don't want the smell of wood stain to permeate your house. Clear the area around the table so that you have enough room to work.

Dust off the table thoroughly with white hand towels. Remove dust from inside crevices and underneath the table.

Attach 150-grit sandpaper to a hand sander or electric sander. Sand table until all the old finish is removed. Sanding can be time-consuming. You may want to ask friends or family members for help with this part of the job. Sanding is necessary only if the table needs full restoration. You don't need to sand if the table has just a few scratches or chips.

Dust the table off again to remove sanding dust.

Pour clear wood stain into a paint pan and use a paintbrush to apply a thin coat of clear wood finish. Continue applying the finish until your table is totally covered. Use wide, even strokes and make sure that none of the finish runs off the side of the table. Start with a small amount, and then add more as needed. Allow the clear finish to dry for two days before proceeding to the next step.

Pour the brown wood stain into a paint pan, and then dip your brush into the stain. Wipe off any excess on the corner of the paint pan. Apply the finish in even, gentle strokes until the entire table is covered with stain. Use only a small amount at a time to prevent excess stain from pooling on the table. Take your time. Apply a small amount and gradually add more stain as needed. Allow the stain to dry for two days or longer before using the table.

Things You'll Need

  • Old sheet
  • White hand towels
  • 150-grit sandpaper
  • Hand sander
  • Electric sander
  • Clear wood stain
  • Wood restoration finish, brown stain
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint pan
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