DIY | Refinishing our dining table

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Our dining room table was not a pretty guy and was really letting down the overall ambience of the dining room. I joke!  I would never use the word ambience and mean it, I promise.

Our table was a hand-me-down from Mum and Dad and was still in awesomely solid condition, but the original varnish on the top was thin and the finish had suffered over the years (standard nail polish remover accidents etc).  My initial inclination was to just go out and buy a brand new table, but dang, those suckers are expensive!  It was decided that we would refinish our dining room table ourselves.

Dining Table Refinish DIY NZ BlogI knew I wanted the top finished in bright, high gloss, hard wearing white enamel.  The opposite of the dipped leg that is trending right now but I had Dave had exactly zero interest in sanding down all of those fiddly little side bits!  And so we began;

Step 1.  Strip the existing finish.  Dave used a 30 grit disk on an orbital sander.  This took him probably 5 minutes!  Absolutely no indicator of how long and arduous this project was to become!  (I have neglected to mention that we undertook this project in the middle of one of the hottest summers I can ever remember – the worst possible time for oil based enamel paint to harden). 

Step 2.  Buy premium rollers.  I began with cheap ones and paid the price of having to apply more coats than I otherwise would have.

Step 3.  Apply two coats of Dulux Prepcoat Oil Based Primer with a light sand using 220 grit in between.  I didn’t listen to Dave and only applied one coat!  You will probably have to hand sand the edges and sides as it is easy to strip these right back to the wood – over and over again.  Sigh.

Step 4.  Take careful note of drying times and stick to these religiously.    After a light sand begin top coats.  I used Dulux Super Enamel Oil Based High Gloss in white.  Paint the small edges first and roll longways down the table.  Light sand between each coat.  With proper prep and good rollers you should only need 3 coats max.  I did SEVEN.  fml.

Step 5.  Do not listen to your neighbor when he suggests you top coat your hours of work with polyurethane.  At any cost.  

Step 6.  You will hate your table by this point, but now you must wait for the enamel to harden.  Give it at least two days before returning it to use.  It will probably take weeks to harden, especially if you have applied seven coats of oil based paint!

Dining Table Refinish DIY NZ BlogHowever painful the process was, I swoon over the new finish every time I sit at the table.  It is so, so glossy and hard wearing.  Nixie’s crayon scrawls come right off and cleaning up after mealtimes is bliss compared to the previously worn varnish.  A labour of love that has given this fab table many more years to endure the abuse of my children!

Dining Table Refinish DIY NZ Blog Dining Table Refinish DIY NZ Blog Dining Table Refinish DIY NZ Blog

Dining chairs, wall art and copper basket from Freedom Furniture