I have an oak table with a natural color top and white legs. I want to refinish it. I'm fine with repainting the legs, but what do I do about the natural color?
You will need to remove the current sealer in order to put a new stain on your table top. There are gel stains available that are sometimes used in lieu of sanding off an old finish, but if you are not afraid of the work, I think you will like the results of doing it the "old-fashioned" way.
Sanding is the chemical-free way to accomplish this.
Depending on the thickness of the sealant, you may want
to start with a fairly coarse grit paper (80-100) then
work your way to a finer grit (up to 220). Prepare the
wood for the new stain by wiping with a tack cloth and
mineral spirits to ensure the removal of the sanding
dust. Stain and seal according to the manufacturer's
directions of the products you choose. Be sure to always
wear protective gear (mask, gloves, eye protection) when
using tools and potentially harmful products.
Since you have already decided to paint the legs, sand them with a fine grit paper and wipe with mineral spirits prior to painting. This will help the new paint adhere better.
Bobbi J. Hauptmann, Housing and Environmental Design Research Assistant, Department of Architectural Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia
Last update: Monday, May 18, 2009