How to Refinish Wood Without Stripping

Do you have a damaged piece of furniture that you’d like to bring back to life? I have a table that’s been in my sisters garage for several years. It got damaged, but I don’t want to spend all day stripping it. I want to make it look good enough.

refinish a wood table without stripping

That is my motto when it comes to up-cycling, “good enough”. I like the satisfaction of saving an item from the land fill, but I don’t want to spend an entire weekend doing it.

The secret weapon of this table is that it can transform from a rectangle to a square. It’s perfect for large sewing projects when you don’t have a big space. It’s definitely worth saving. I’m joining with a group of bloggers today to share table projects. You can see all of their DIYs if you scroll to the bottom.

Supplies needed to refinish a wood table

You could use wood stripper, but it’s very stinky and not a minor project. I used sandpaper, stain and a wood pen.

Supplies used to refinish table

Before I show you the results of my project that I’ve never stained any furniture before. In fact, I knew so little about staining furniture that I didn’t realize you rub it on and then rub it off.

Steps to refinish a wood table

Refinishing this table took longer than I expected. After my first pass I wasn’t happy with the table so I came back for round two. I watched several videos on how to get rid of scratches and I’m not sure why the process didn’t work the same way for my table. If you have an idea, PLEASE leave a comment at the bottom.

These are the steps I took.

  1. Sanding – The first step is to lightly sand the table until it is smooth. I actually ended up sanding the most damaged areas a second time on day two.

2. Washing – Wipe the table clean and dry it.

3. Staining – I used a paper plate and poured the stain onto that. It’s easy to apply with a foam brush and at the end you can toss the brush. I experimented with using both regular stain and Howard’s Restore and Finish. I couldn’t tell much of a difference.

4. Wipe Down – After you apply the stain, take a rag and wipe the excess off.

I repeated this process on day two with one exception, I didn’t sand the entire table. I only sanded the spots with the damage. Here is the table on day two. You CAN still see some of the damage, but it looks 200% better.

how to stain a table without stripping.

If you add up all of the time I spent, including two trips to Home Depot, it probably took about 3 hours spread over two days. I think it was time well spent. Let’s have a look at some of the other table projects.

Beautiful DIY Side Table Makeover For Your Home – Chas’ Crazy Creations

side table makeover

Tiered Tray and Entryway Table – The House on Silverado

tiered tray and entry table

Creative End Table Ideas – White Arrows Home

creative end table ideas

How to Remove Paint, Scuffs and Scratches from Wood Furniture – Grandma’s House DIY

Restoration of an Antique Table – Life At Bella Terra

restoration of an antique table

Simple and Easy Way to Upcycle a Garage Sale Table – Shiplap and Shells

Hutch Makeover – Kippi At Home

hutch makeover

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  1. Oh my goodness, it looks lovely Andrea! I have some furniture I need to do this too. Thanks for sharing and wonderful hopping with you!

  2. Andrea, I had no idea that you could restore a table without stripping it first. Your dining room is gorgeous, and your “new” table is perfect in there.
    Happy New Year,

  3. I can’t believe how simple it was to transform the table into an amazing piece Andrea. Even I could do this! You have inspired me to try my hand at working on a table that I didn’t think I could save. Thanks for sharing. It is always so fun hopping with you and the other talented ladies.

  4. Andrea, I LOVE projects like this where you get a big pay out for not a lot of effort! The results are amazing!

    Fun hopping with you again!

    Niky @ The House on Silverado

  5. Your table turned out absolutely gorgeous, what a difference! Its great hopping with you, I hope you had a good new year!

  6. This turned out great, Andrea! I love how easy stain is and what a difference in can make in a piece of furniture or decor piece. Definitely a worthwhile use of your time. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kathy Frontiero says:

    I love your newsletter and especially love the do it yourself ideas! already can’t wait to get started on some, Thank you!

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