Sanding and wood stain?

First and foremost I do not know what type of wood this is, secondly I’m looking to sand down the finish polish on the end tables and apply a wood stain to match some of our other furniture. I’m not sure what Grit I should use for sanding and whether an oil base or a water-based stain would work best for the end tables. Please help

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  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    Casey, I have a *little* experience, which is better than none. We can hope someone with more comes along.

    The wood appears to me to be oak, which is a hardwood. For staining, what you need is to remove any finish that seals the oak, so your stain can penetrate. I don't see a lot of damage, so you would use a fine-grit sandpaper. It's going to be very time consuming to get every part of the entire surface sanded bare, but if any sealing finish is still there, you'll end up with a mess.

    That's why I'd recommend using a chemical product to strip the table. The only issue is that it's hard (impossible?) to know whether you have a table finished with varnish,  lacquer, shellac, or something else.

    Lacquer and shellac are easiest. You test a spot with denatured alcohol; if the finish liquifies, you've got shellac. If it doesn't liquify, test again with lacquer thinner. If it liquifies, it's lacquer. If it just gets soft with both, it's probably a combination of shellac and lacquer. Use denatured alcohol to remove shellac, lacquer thinner for lacquer, and a 50-50 mix of the two for a combination finish of shellac and lacquer.

    But if those products didn't do anything, you need a paint and varnish remover. These are apparently in the category of "you get what you pay for." The cheap ones don't do a good job and require scraping. Look for one labeled "water-rinsing," "wash-away," or "water cleanup." These products let you wipe down the dissolved finish with water on wet rags rather than scrape it off, and they leave it truly stripped.

    Once it's stripped clean, you can sand lightly to minimize any dings and dents. The stain choice of the woodworker in our house is MinWax, which is widely available. There are color charts in the store for what color each stain will turn several different kinds of wood. An approximation is usually close enough for a harmonious blend with other wood furniture.

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