Furniture Refinishing for Beginners| Refinishing an Antique Coffee Table

Furniture Refinishing for Beginners

Tips, tricks, and what I learned by refinishing an antique coffee table.

Furniture Refinishing for Beginners |

It’s been years since I tackled a furniture refinishing project, but when I spotted an antique coffee table at a thrift store, it had to come home with me!

It has a crack and some pretty bad stains on the top.

The $40 price tag was steep, but I still wanted it.

My husband tried to talk me out of it, but I was determined to get it.

Never go thrift shopping with husbands.  Never, never, never! 🙂

Since I haven’t done any furniture refinishing in a long time, I thought the challenge might be fun.  And since my daughter is putting an offer on a house this week, I knew she’d need a coffee table.

But the real reason I wanted it was …

How to Refinish Furniturefor Beginners |

… the hardware on the drawers.

Yes, I’m a sucker for old hardware.

Furniture Refinishing tips and tricks for beginners |

Those old brass drawer pulls were like a siren song calling my name.

I walked away from it several times, hoping I’d find a real bargain to distract me.  But I kept coming back to it and finally gave in to the little metal sirens. 🙂

So, I got it home and began the task of refinishing it.

For those who are beginners at furniture refinishing, I’ll share how I did it, along with mistakes I made, a few tips, and supplies needed to do the job.

Supplies needed (includes affilidate links):

Citristrip (There are other products out there, but I used this one.)

Chip brush

Refinishing gloves

Plastic scrapers

Mineral spirits

Fine steel wool pads

100, 120, & 180 grit sandpaper

Palm sander

Wood stain (I used this color.)

How to do it:

  1. Remove hardware and clean.
  2. Apply stripping gel with a chip brush and let it sit for 1-24 hours.
  3. Use a plastic scraper to scrape off the finish.
  4. Put mineral spirits on steel wool pad and scrub off any residue.
  5. Use various grits of sandpaper to get a smooth finish.  Start with a rougher grit working up to finer grit.
  6. Apply wood stain and let dry.
  7. Reattach hardware.

Tip #1 – Put a thick coat of stripper on the piece.

Mistake #1 – In hindsight, I think I should have put on a thicker coat.

Furniture Refinishing tips and tricks for beginners |

Mistake #2 – I didn’t have a plastic scraper on hand, so I used a metal one which slightly gouged the wood.

Furniture Refinishing tips and tricks for beginners |

Tip #2 – Use a toothpick to remove the stripping gel from inside the hardware holes.  Don’t leave it.

Furniture Refinishing tips and tricks for beginners |

Here’s the top and sides all stripped.  The stain on the wood still shows, but I knew stripping wouldn’t remove that.

Furniture Refinishing tips and tricks for beginners |

I knew I would need to use a dark wood stain to cover the stain on the wood, so I used the color ebony.

Furniture Refinishing tips and tricks for beginners |

Tip #3 – Elevate  your piece above the ground over a drop cloth while staining.  That keeps the stain from puddling around the bottom of the legs and lets air flow around it to dry.

Furniture Refinishing for Beginners Tips, & Tricks |

And here’s the finished coffee table.

Refinishing an Antique Coffee Table |

Those little drawer pulls look so much better against the new color.

Refinishing an Antique Coffee Table |

My daughter loved the deep color I gave it, and I can’t wait to see it in her new home!

Refinishing an Antique Coffee Table |

Refinishing an Antique Coffee Table |

To see some of my past furniture projects, click HERE.

Furniture Refinishing for Beginners |Refinishing Supplies, tips & tricks |

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Vaya con Dios,

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  1. Angie…Did you add wax , poly or some other sealant, on top of the stain?

  2. Marlene Stephenson says:

    It is a beauty and your daughter is a very lucky person.

  3. It turned out beautifully, Angie! The thing I really like about it is that it still looks very “used” and rustic, but the stain gives it a nicer color. Great job! Thanks for sharing.

  4. very good job on your table I hope your daughter gets her house and if you give the table to her for a house warming I hope she likes it.

  5. Karen Harrison says:

    I was in a thrift store today, and as I was looking through the frames/artwork, this man kept saying “Let’s go, lets go” to his wife. When he wandered away I whispered out of the side of my mouth “Never bring your husband when you go thrifting.” She looked at me and said “Ain’t it the truth!”

  6. So so pretty! I love that dark stain, its classy. I found similar draw pulls at our local Restore and used them on a reclaimed wood box for my kitchen table, totally understand the allure! Wonderful makeover!

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