Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Project: Refinish Lane Acclaim tables, part 2

OK, picking up where we left off on the project last time --

Next for the two-tiered end table, I hit a few spots with 220 grit sandpaper, and then went over the whole table with extra fine 0000 steel wool.  Then I wiped all areas down with mineral spirits and let the table dry, which didn't take long.  Here's what it looked like at that point:

As you can see, the side wood and dovetail areas are much lighter from the stripper.  I debated with myself and decided that I would not re-stain at first.  

I've had good success with Howard's Restor-A-Finish.  This stuff will cover up small scratches and bring back some color, so instead of using a stain, I wiped the whole table down with the Walnut variety of Restor-A-Finish and let that sit for about an hour.  

Then I wiped off the excess, and at that point, this is what it looked like:

The light areas are still not nearly as dark as they were before. 

But honestly, I like it this way, so that's all the staining work I'm doing.  Sorry if you were hoping I would figure out how to get it back to the exact finish it was originally.  Oh well.  My table.  :-D

To finish the table off and protect it, I'm using  this Minwax product.  

I like that this stuff wipes on. No brushing or spraying to run or streak.  Grab a clean cotton cloth, wipe it on, let it dry, do a once over with extra fine steel wool and wipe down the whole table again so you don't have little steel wool fragments laying around, then repeat with a second or third coat of the Wipe-On Poly and I'm  done - except for masking off the leg bottoms and adding a coat of black paint, which is how they were originally.

So here's the two-tiered end table after two coats of poly and with the black paint renewed on the legs.

(That lump on the chair on the left is just Miss Patchelina - she thinks that Z chair is hers. Ha!  She is sooooo wrong.)

I'll be finishing the coffee table the same way, and once that's done look for final photos of that table too.

Overall I'm happy with how these turned out.  

If I wanted the tables to be darker as original, I would suggest  not using strippers but lightly sanding and refinishing with a dark stain like walnut, and probably using multiple coats to get the darker look.


  1. I'm wondering if one could tint the poly before applying it and if that might get the lighter edges closer to the original color. And as far as cats and who's king of the house...we all know who cleans the litterbox. ;)

    1. Interesting idea, I'll have to keep that in mind if I want to darken something.

  2. Nice work! The table looks beautiful and I can't wait to see your work on the coffee table.

  3. I'm with you, I like the dark and the light wood together and would not worry about staining the edges darker at all. I would leave it exactly like it is, its gorgeous!

    And steel wool bits in the stain/topcoat - uuuugggghhhhhhh!!!! Those bits are pretty much the bane of my existence! :D

  4. Nice refinish. Good to know about Restore A Finish. I've never tried it but always wondered what the end result looked like.

  5. I have that exact table that I just cleaned up a little bit and did a walnut "Restore A Finish" wipe-down recently. It came out pretty nice. I didn't do an extensive job. There's still a cigarette burn on the bottom section, haha. Remants from the 60s? The top tier is a tad wobbly and I tried to tighten the screws as best I could but it didn't seem to help much. I also have a square coffee table that needs cleaning up.

    1. Jeanne, if you can scrounge up some wood glue or even white Elmer's, and some wood toothpicks, you can often fix a loose screw hole by backing the screw out and gluing the hole with some toothpicks. Once the glue has dried try turning the screw back into the wood and it should grip better.

  6. Thanks for the comments everyone. I made more progress on the coffee table, but it's not quite done yet. I've got a splinter out of the top that I'm still trying to cover up.

  7. it reads not to finish over howards with poly- did it really work

  8. I am also working on a few acclaim tables and have a question regarding your experience with using restore-a-finish with poly top coat. Checking the Howard website, they recommend to never use the two together because the topcoat won't dry properly. Did you have any issues with your project?

  9. It did dry completely, but I'm not satisfied with the current look. There's no shine to it. You might want to try following the Howard's recommendations and see how you like the results.

  10. I have a few of these pieces and I think the colors look pretty accurate how it is now, the oak on the edge is supposed to be much lighter than the walnut. Love it, I have one piece I need to restore! Thanks!