I got this cute little table for free on Facebook and it is in rough shape, although not too dinged up except in a couple of places. The woman who gave it to me just left it outside on her porch in the rain for me to pick up, so that didn’t help its condition. The Hubs said I should refinish it instead of painting it, so I’m giving it a go. It will be a “practice run” in anticipation of refinishing the top of our kitchen table.
It’s called a “magazine table” because it has the pockets on the sides where you would put magazines or newspapers (if anyone subscribed to the paper newspaper anymore at home).
Here is the table before cleaning (I did take some change, an earring, a lot of dust fluffs, and an old baseball card out of the magazine pockets. The Boy was glad to have the baseball card!)
First, I gathered my supplies. I chose to use Citristrip as the finish remover for this project, as it doesn’t have toxic fumes to worry about. You need a brush to apply it and a plastic putty knife to scrape the old finish off. Since it is a strong chemical (even though it is citrus-based) I got some gloves and wore safety glasses while applying the stripper. I used the instructions from a blog called DecorHint as a reference for the job.
After cleaning it with a damp rag, I set the table on some cardboard and brushed on a thick layer of Citristrip with a chip brush.
Next, you let it sit until it dissolves the old finish. Since the finish is fairly thin, in some places it was already working by the time I coated the whole table. I scraped off some of the stripper on the bottom shelf and one of the sides and the finish came right off.
I tried the top and the finish wouldn’t all come off, so I re-coated it and thought I would let it all sit for about three hours. To be effective the stripper has to stay wet, so I checked on it occasionally to make sure it hadn’t dried out. You can use plastic wrap to cover the stripper to keep it from drying out, but I decided to just monitor it and see how that went.
I went out after two hours and checked the table, and it was pretty much ready to strip at that time. At least most of it was. The top seems to have a different finish than the rest of the table, so there will be more sanding there. It should be fairly easy because it’s mostly a flat surface. The edges of the top will also need more attention.
After scraping most of the Citristrip off, I wiped the table down with paper towels and cleaned it with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits. Here is how it looked after its mineral spirits bath. There is a bit of gunk still lingering, but it will be removed in the sanding step.
Sanding, and hopefully finishing, will happen tomorrow. I have another little project I’m going to interject as well while the magazine table is drying, I think.