Dining Table Refinish

One of the first pieces I refinished when I began my company was a dining table for our house. At the time, I had a good amount of experience painting with chalk paint, but hadn’t worked with stain that much. Now that I have, I was excited to do a dining set finished with paint AND stain.

I do want to mention, for those who are just starting out, even after years of painting and refinishing, there are always lessons learned with each piece I do. Fortunately I’ve learned enough of those lessons on my own furniture that now, I can finish a high quality, durable piece for a client. But I honestly learned so much from reading tutorials online that I sincerely hope my blog can be helpful to other painters seeking advice! So... on to the dining set! 

My dining table, finished with Annie Sloan Pure White & Varathane Briarsmoke

My dining table, finished with Annie Sloan Pure White & Varathane Briarsmoke

My most recent refinishing job was for a client who wanted a farmhouse style table, much like my own. A few of you asked for the products I used on it, so I figured I would link them here so they are easy to find and then walk you through the process.

My client’s completed dining table and chairs

My client’s completed dining table and chairs

The first step for the chairs was to prep and prime. I use TSP to clean, which is an all-purpose cleaner that gets rid of dirt and grease. I prime with Zinsser B-I-N Primer, which has a shellac base that keeps wood from bleeding through the white chalk paint. **If the wood does bleed through, NO amount of chalk paint will cover it. Shellac is the only thing that will block it.** Priming also helps cover the darkness of the wood, so you may not have to use as many coats of chalk paint.


Here is before the primer:


And after primer:


After the primer, I applied two thick coats of Annie Sloan Pure White chalk paint. I didn't worry about brush strokes at this point because I knew I was going to sand the chairs all over to make them smooth and distress them. After the paint was dry, I sanded the chairs all over with 220 grit sandpaper. Once they were smooth and distressed, I blew off the chalk dust and wiped them down to make sure they were clean and free of dust. I sprayed them with three coats of Minwax water-based Polycrylic, following application instructions listed on the can. Always use a water-based finish over white chalk paint, as anything oil-based will amber, or have a yellow tint.


For the table top, I sanded the top down to raw wood using 80 grit discs on my random orbital sander, finish sanded with 220 grit, then cleaned the wood thoroughly. I applied one coat of Varathane Briarsmoke. This is my favorite stain... it's a brown with a grey undertone and mixes well with browns, blacks, and greys. Once the stain was dry, I sprayed numerous coats of Varathane water-based Polyurethane. I sprayed so many LIGHT coats, I lost count... honestly I probably sprayed at least six coats. You do NOT want this to run, so it's better to spray a lot of coats very lightly than spray too much and have to fix it after. 


As far as the apron of the table, I followed the same process as the chairs, although I did not prime it. 


Here's a look at the table BEFORE:




I was super happy with how the set turned out, and my client was as well! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about the process. I always look forward to chatting with you!

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Happy painting!

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