I am taking a break between projects to refinish a set of Table tops that had worn out urethane covered in drink rings and other signs of age.
First the tops were removed to prevent any chance of the painted table bottoms from being stripped.
The first step in this process was to choose a stripping agent. I have not been a fan of chemical stripping in the past because of the fumes and harsh chemicals in stripping agents. At a recent woodworking show I stopped and watched a demonstration of Soy Gel, a fume free “natural” stripper. After the show I was pretty skeptical as most of those demos seem to be rigged in one way or another so researched the product online and looked over the reviews on amazon which were all excellent so I picked up a quart from rocklerhttp://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=17402&filter=soy%20gel.
Step 1: Place Soy Gel On Table
Soy Gel was simply brushed on with a foam brush (totally ate the foam brush so i will try a cheap bristled brush next time around). It is important to follow the directions here and make sure to put the soy gel on much thicker than you would paint or varnish
- Soy Gel Placed on Table Ready to Start working
Step 2: Wait
Next I had to wait for the Soy Gel to work on the finish. These tables were veneered so i only allowed the soy gel to sit on them for 10 minutes as instructed by the back of the bottle to prevent the veneer glue from being stripped as well. If i was using this on a solid wood table somewhere in teh 20-30 min range would probably be the perfect amount of time to let the table sit
Step 3: Scrape
Next I scraped the now gel-like finish off of the table leaving only a few spots of urethane behind. These spots can be removed with more gel stain, but i’ll leave them because it will only take seconds to remove them with my random orbit sander and a 120 grit pad
- Table just after scraping.
Step 4: Sand
Next a random orbit sander and a 120 grit pad take the table down to a smooth finish in just a minute or two. Following this i move up to 220 and smooth surface further. It is important when sanding a veneered surface to be very careful not to sand through the veneer. Generally I will make sure never to use coarser than 120grit sand paper and apply only a small amount of downward force to the sander. This is especially important with thinner veneers.
- Freshly sanded surface ready for sealer
Step 5: Sanding Sealer
Next, i applied a coat of cut shellac 50% Shellac (wax free-this is important) and 50% denatured alcohol. This serves two purposes, one it seals in the sanding after you blow out all of the dust and tack-rag it, 2 it provides a much more uniform surface for the gel stain to soak into. I can’t stress enough how important wax-free is when selecting your shellac, a waxed shellac will not bond well with top-coats such as urethane, poly acrylic or water-based finishes
Step 6: Gel Stain
Prep: Before applying the gel stain lightly buff the surface with OOOO Steel Wool, this will smooth out any runs and make the surface uniform for the gel stain
Application: Note: WEAR GLOVES unless you want stained hands. Using t shirt cloth liberally rub gel stain all over the surface to be stained there should be plenty of extra sitting on the surface. Next wait 4 minutes and with a clean t-shirt cloth wipe off any excess and voila very even blotch free color.
- Table after gel stain has been applied
More To come…. Spraying on Water Based General Finishes Endura Var Satin finish with a WoodRiver HVLP spray gun.
UPDATE: A Few More Pictures with Gel-Stain and one with top on base
Step 7: Spraying on top coat
Spraying on the top coat was did not go as effortlessly as planned as I decided to combine reviewing a new HVLP gun and spraying these tables into one activity, bad idea to use a new HVLP setup on a project that you have many hours of work into. The finish quality of the sprayed General Finishes Enduro Var satin was lumpy and had an orange peel texture (not normal at all for this finish which I can’t recommend enough)
After this coat the surface was fairly rough so i had to lightly block sand it wich 320 grit to flatten out all of the bumps before I could continue spraying with another spray gun. Several coats later with the Finishline 3 HVLP gun and these table are ready to be put back to use. Final pictures to be posted very soon.
Some images of the final product
Sometime I’ll upload some pictures that weren’t taken from my phone as well.