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Repairing A Farmhouse Table

(This guide applies to farmhouse tables built by Generations Marketplace or tables that have been finished with polyurethane. Other steps and tools not included in this guide apply for different finishes.)

Whenever we buy nice furniture, we always set out to be extra careful with it so that it lasts. Unfortunately, life happens and that isn't always possible. Someone leaves a water puddle on the table and ruins the finish, a child scratches the table with toys, or maybe a hot pan was put directly on the table. Because of that, Generations Marketplace has put together a step-by-step guide on repairing those problems in only a day, a complete refinish will need more time for the polyurethane to dry. Let's get into repairing your farmhouse table! You will need: sandpaper (80,120,220,400 grit), paint thinner, tack cloth, stain and brush if necessary, tight disposable gloves, mask N95 type and minwax polyurethane spray in a spray can (choose the finish based on what your table is).

Step 1: Assess the damage to the table and determine the level of repair needed. If its only a problem with the finish, then this can be taken care of fairly quickly. A gouge or scratch that goes past the finish and into the wood will need to be sanded down more and will take more time to repair.

Step 2: Clean off your table good with dawn dish detergent and water (you can probably use others, but we use this kind, and it works great). Spread water and dawn mixture over the entire top. Use a soft sponge and wipe the tabletop down good. Let the soap clean off the entire tabletop. This step is very important. If the table is not cleaned thoroughly, you will get fisheye in the places you polyurethane. Fisheye is a big pain, and you don't want to have to fix it. It's basically spotting that forms in the finish and it is very noticeable. Make sure you dry off the table completely once you're done cleaning.

Step 3: Sand the spots you need to fix. If you're only fixing the finish, 220 grit or higher will work fine. You do not need to press hard, if you do, you will end up sanding out the stain and have to fix that as well. If you are fixing a gouge or scratch, use 120 grit or 80 for a deep gouge. sand until scratch or gouge is gone.

Step 4: Wipe off table with rag and tack cloth until table is clean.

Step 5: Wet rag with paint thinner (you do not need to drench the rag) and wipe off table to get any dust in cracks. Let it dry.

Step 6: Wipe off table with tack cloth again.

Step 7: If you need to re-stain a spot, Now is the time. This is the most difficult part of repairing a tabletop. Blending in the stain in the places you sanded requires a little finesse. If you can catch a break, the stain will blend well and no additional sanding is needed. If the spot stands out as too dark, use your paint thinner rag and lightly wipe the spot until the spot is the desired shade that matches the table. If its too light, which is usually the case, add more stain and let it sit on the spot for a few minutes. Use your spare rag to wipe off the stain until you can match the table. If it is still too light. Sand the spot with 80 grit, tack cloth the spot and add stain again letting it sit for a few minutes, then wipe off stain to get it to match the table. This part is very much finesse and may take a while to get the spot to blend in. You may have to wipe and add several times until the spot is unnoticeable.

Step 8. Spray polyurethane on the spots you repaired. Let it sit for the time the can says. Depending on the temperature and humidity of the room you are drying the table in will determine how quickly the polyurethane dries.

Step 9: Use a 400 grit sandpaper and lightly sand the spots you used polyurethane. All you're trying to do is smooth out the rough spot you created. So it should only take a few light swipes over the spot. Do not sand anywhere else. Otherwise you will have to polyurethane more.

Step 10: Use tack cloth rack to remove dust.

Step 11: Use paint thinner rag from earlier. Rewet the rag a little bit. Wipe off sanded spots.

Step 12: Use tack cloth again to remove any remaining dust.

Step 13. Spray another coat of polyurethane on spots. Depending on how it looks, you may only need a light finish sand and you'll be done. Just make sure you follow the directions on the can of polyurethane to let it cure properly. If your table still doesn't look right, and spots are still rough, repeat steps 9-13. If you have shiny spots from where you used polyurethane, you'll have to coat the whole table to make the finish look right. Follow the additional steps to redo the finish on the whole top.

Extra additional steps-

Step 14: Use 400 grit sandpaper and sand down the whole tabletop, including the sides.

Step 15: Use tack cloth to wipe off dust.

Step 16: Use paint thinner rag and wipe down tabletop. Rewet rag if necessary.

Step 17: Use tack cloth again to remove dust.

Step 18: Spray polyurethane, going with the grain, evenly over the whole tabletop. We usually pick a side (end grain sides) and spray from one side to the other, skipping the side we want to finish spraying polyurethane. Then, on the side we sprayed polyurethane, we spray from left to right, right to left, starting at the bottom, and work our way as far up as we can reach. Then we walk to the other side and start spraying from where we stopped, until we reach the bottom and then we spray the side we skipped originally in the beginning.

Repeat steps 14-18 two more times. Which will give you a total of 3 coats of polyurethane. Keep in mind that you will have to repeat steps 14-18, if your last coat doesn't go on great. After that you should be all finished. A great way to finish sand your table once you're done, is to rub (2) 400 grit sandpapers together until one of them doesn't have any rough left. Then use that sandpaper and lightly wipe it with the grain on the tabletop to remove any remaining nubbies or specks left. You can use a tack cloth to remove the excess dust.

We hope this guide helps when it comes to repairing your farmhouse table. For any questions send us an email or give us a call during business hours. Be on the lookout for the video version of this guide which will be available on our YouTube channel and website.

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