The Refinished Coffee Table

I found this beauty on a local garage sale Facebook page, and knew that the size and shape would be perfect for our Living Room.  And, at $10, I couldn’t pass her up.

coffee table before

Her orangey color didn’t complement the rest of our decor, but I put off refinishing her for a long time because of past experiences trying to stain furniture.  I have read a lot about gel stains, and decided to give it a try.  I figured if it didn’t turn out, I could always sand her back down and paint her.

I purchased 1/2 pint of General Finishes Gel Stain in Java from a local shop, and then I started one of my least favorite tasks – sanding.

I started out with a 120-grit sanding block, but ended up busting out my 60-grit block to really get the shine off the coffee table.  I think I should have been smarter and purchased a sander, but I persisted with my sanding block.  Unfortunately, because it was such a rough grit, it did leave some deep lines in the wood, but I was just too impatient to do it the right way.  Live and learn.

Once the coffee table was sanded down, I started to stain.  The woman the shop told me to stir it very carefully and fully, making sure to scrap the bottom of the can and mix the top and bottom layers of stain.

coffee table stain 2

I used a clean, lint free cloth to apply the stain and let the first coat dry for 24 hours before applying the second coat.  You can see the sanding lines and uneven application after the first coat, but I already liked the Java color.

I applied 3 coats of stain, letting each dry for 24 hours before the next coat, and then a coat of Minwax fast drying polyurethane (because I’m impatient).  I let the fast drying poly dry for 48 hours before bringing the table inside.

coffee table after

It’s not perfect, but I’m happy with the finished result.  I would definitely use gel stain again!


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