Quarantine Journals – Refinishing a Table (part 2)

Now that I have the garage cleaned out, it’s time to start working on the table! First, though, I had to take the table apart. It wasn’t that difficult – it only involved about 10 minutes lying on the floor trying to figure out how to take the top off. Then about 5 minutes with a manual screwdriver, before I figured that it would be much faster with power tools, so I got out the drill, popped a flat-head bit in, and 5 minutes later, the top of the table was off, and I carried both pieces out to the garage.

Table Top Start
Table top – before any sanding (sitting on saw horses)
Table Bottom Start
Table bottom before sanding

Time to start sanding! I plugged in the orbital sander (that’s what the orange cord is for), put on a dust mask*, turned on the sander, and started sanding. And quickly noticed that although I was making a fair amount of dust, I wasn’t doing much to get through the original stain on the wood. Turned off the sander, looked at the sanding pad – and realized that I was using a 180 grit sandpaper.

*Well, an improvised dust mask (aka bandana). Although I do have a few N95 masks that I bought several years ago (long enough that they may actually be expired) after an excursion into my crawl space left me wheezing for days, given the current situation, I figured it was probably better to save those.

With sandpaper, higher number = smaller pieces of grit. So a high grit sandpaper, like a 180, is really good for the finish sanding right before staining/painting, but not good for getting rid of old stain. So, I dug through the drawers of my work bench, and found that I didn’t have any low-grit sandpaper.

Time for a trip to a (surprisingly busy) Home Depot. I was able to find some 100 grit sandpaper. Once I got home, the 100 grit sandpaper worked much faster, and a few hours later, I was able to get the sanding done for both the top and bottom, and most of the old stain has been removed.

Bottom of the table after the rough sanding

Next up: Touch up sanding, hand sanding some of the detail spots (the groove on the posts, edges, and the drawer. Then I’ll switch back to the high grit sandpaper and do a final sanding, and clean everything to get it ready to stain.

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