How to Refinish Oak Table

Do you have an old oak table that desperately needs a makeover? Refinishing your oak table is a great way to breathe new life into your furniture and create a beautiful piece you will be proud to have in your home. But where do you start? In this post, we will guide you through the steps on how to refinish oak table and give it a new lease on life.

How to Refinish Oak Table

Can You Refinish the Oak Table?

The oak table has been a staple in your dining room for years, but its worn and scratch-ridden surface has you wondering if it’s time to say goodbye. Before you haul it out to the trash, consider refinishing it instead. With some elbow grease and sandpaper, you can reveal the beauty of the wood grain that has been hidden under years of abuse.

Plus, refinishing is an eco-friendly option, as it allows you to repurpose and reuse instead of contributing to waste. A fresh coat of stain and finish can transform your tired old table into a stunning centerpiece that you’ll be proud to serve meals on for years to come. So, can you refinish the oak table? Yes, you certainly can.

Why Should You Refinish Oak Table?

You may have inherited an old oak table from your grandmother or stumbled upon one at a garage sale, and while it may be tempting to toss it aside and buy something new, refinishing it could be a game-changer. Refinishing an oak table gives it a new lease of life and has environmental and financial benefits.

Instead of contributing to the landfill, you can recycle and give new life to an old piece of furniture, and in the process, save money by not having to buy a new table. You can also customize the finish to match your decor and style, making it a unique and special piece in your home. So, rather than shopping for a new piece of furniture, consider refinishing that old oak table for a fresh and personalized look.

How to Refinish Oak Table: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1. Safety First

Wear a Dust Mask  Safety Goggles

Before you begin, ensuring you have all the necessary safety equipment is important. Wear a dust mask, safety goggles, and gloves to protect yourself from the chemicals used in the refinishing process. If you are working indoors, make sure the room is well-ventilated.

Step 2. Strip the Old Finish

The first step in refinishing your oak table is to remove the old finish. Using a chemical stripper according to the manufacturer’s instructions, apply it to the table’s surface and let it sit for the recommended time. Use a scraper to remove the old finish and any remaining residue. This process may need to be repeated several times to remove all the finish.

Step 3. Sand the Surface

Once the old finish has been removed, sandpaper will smooth the table’s surface. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper and gradually work your way to a finer grit sandpaper. Sand with the grain of the wood to avoid scratches, and always wipe away dust with a tack cloth between grits.

Step 4. Stain the Table

Now, it’s time to add color. Apply wood stain to your table using a brush or a cloth, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the stain to sit for the recommended time, and then wipe away any excess. If you want a darker color, you can apply a second coat. Let the stain dry completely before moving to the next step.

Step 5. Protect the Finish

To protect the new finish, apply a clear finish such as polyurethane. Apply the first coat with a brush or a sprayer and let it dry. Lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper and wipe away any dust with a tack cloth before applying the second coat. Repeat this process until you have achieved the desired finish. Let the final coat dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 6. Add a Protective Layer

Applying a Layer of Wax

For added protection, consider applying a layer of wax or furniture polish. This will help prevent scratches and add shine to your refinished oak table. Apply the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions and let it dry completely.

Step 7. Enjoy Your Refinished Oak Table

Once all the steps are complete, you can finally enjoy your newly refinished oak table. It may take some time and effort, but with proper technique and patience, you can bring new life to an old piece of furniture. With regular cleaning and maintenance, your refinished oak table will continue to look beautiful for years to come. Now that you know how to refinish oak table, you can confidently tackle other furniture refinishing projects.

5 Considerations Things When You Need to Refinish Oak Table

1. Determine the Condition of the Table

Before you begin to refinish an oak table, it is important to determine its condition. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as scratches, dents, discoloration, or water damage. If the table has been previously refinished, you may need to remove the existing finish to get a smooth surface. This can be done with a chemical stripper or by sanding the surface down with fine-grit sandpaper.

2. Choose a Finish

Once you have determined the condition of your oak table, it is time to choose a finish. Several different types of finishes are available, including waxes, oils, varnishes, and lacquers. Each type of finish will provide a different look and level of protection for your table, so it is important to choose one that best suits your needs and preferences.

3. Prepare the Surface

Free From Dust and Dirt Particles

Before applying any finish, it is important to ensure that your oak table’s surface is clean and free from dust and dirt particles. This can be done by wiping down the surface with a damp cloth or using a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment. Once this is done, use a fine grit sandpaper or steel wool to lightly sand down any rough patches on the surface before applying your chosen finish.

4. Apply Your Finish

Once you have prepared the surface of your oak table, it is time to apply your chosen finish. Depending on what type of finish you are using, this process may involve brushing on multiple coats or spraying on a single coat with an aerosol sprayer. Be sure to follow all instructions the manufacturer provides when applying your chosen finish to ensure that it will last for many years without needing additional maintenance or repair work.

5. Let It Dry

Once you have applied your chosen finish onto your oak table, it is important to let it dry completely before using it again or placing any items on top of it. Depending on what type of product you used for finishing your table, this could take anywhere from several hours up to several days, so be sure not to rush this step if you want optimal results!

Benefits of Refinish Oak Table

Refinishing an oak table can be a fantastic way to bring new life to furniture that has seen better days. Refinishing involves sanding down the table’s surface, filling any imperfections, and applying a new finish to create a smooth, flawless look. Not only does a refinished oak table look beautiful, but it also has many practical benefits.

The table is more durable since it has a protective layer that prevents scratches and stains. Additionally, refinishing is a cost-effective way to improve the value of your furniture and extend its lifespan. If you’re considering refinishing an oak table, it’s a great investment offering immediate and long-term benefits.

Some Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Refinish Oak Table

Refinishing an oak table is an exciting project that can bring new life to a piece that has seen better days. However, there are some common mistakes that people make when attempting to refinish their beloved tables.

 Sanding the Table Too Much

One of the most significant mistakes is sanding too aggressively. Sanding the table too much can remove too much wood, leaving the table uneven and weak. Another mistake is not properly removing old finishes, leading to incomplete removal or an uneven surface. Lastly, rushing the sealing process can result in a less-than-perfect finish. Taking your time and avoiding these common mistakes will help you achieve a beautifully refinished oak table that you can be proud of.


Refinishing your oak table is a fantastic way to bring new life to your furniture. With a little work and the right equipment, you can create a beautiful piece that will envy your friends and family. By following these straightforward steps, you can refinish your oak table and enjoy a stunning new centerpiece in your home. Thanks for reading our post about how to refinish oak table.

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Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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