When I last posted I had stripped the first table leaf and stained it with a Dark Walnut color which, though better than the golden hue it previously had, didn’t turn out to be as dark as we hoped.
Everything else having gone so well to this point, I went ahead and stripped the second leaf and stained it as well – without the troublesome sanding this time. It went even smoother this time, I’m happy to say, but the color was similarly warmer than we hoped. After doing some research I decided to try putting a General Finishes black gel stain on top, wiping it off and seeing how things looked.
We quite liked the new look so I let it cure for a day and a half and then went on to finishing. Research taught me that my original plan of using a spray can lacquer wasn’t a good one – spray can aerosols dry too quickly to work well on a table sized project – so I had to switch gears. I decided to try the thinned wipe-on polyurethane process of Ty Moser. It involves a bunch of thin coats rather than the three thick coats listed on the can. Here’s a shot of things with a still wet leaf after the first five coats (of an eventual seven).
Not sure if you can tell, but the color is definitely lighter. Apparently the gel stain couldn’t really soak in over the previous stain so a lot of it came up in the finishing process. Actually looks quite nice, so that’s a happy accident!
Now, the next step was to tackle the table itself. One issue it had was a bowing in the center. See the gap under the level?
The fix involved replacing the old extension slides underneath the table with new, beefier steel ones. The old ones simply warped over time with the daily weight on the middle of the table… new straight slides to the rescue! I ordered the slides from Rockler and, happily, they installed beautifully.
I think the table is twice as heavy now, but it should stay happily flat for the next 50 years!
With that done, I figured the time had come to refinished the brass accents on the legs of the table and chairs.
Things were starting to come together!
I could take pages and pages showing the process of finishing the rest of the table-top, but suffice it to say that it took over 10 (!!!!!!) rounds of stripper and 7 rounds of finish to reach the final result:
Overall, I learned A LOT and generally enjoyed the process. Everything came out looking pretty close to how we hoped and just last week we got to have our very first game night on the new table – a huge success!!!