Many of you had inquired about the recent table project that I completed, where I bleached my table, so I thought I would put a little post together of the process. I scored this antique table at Goodwill for $3.99! Yes, you read that right! I was in such disbelief! Initially I wanted to make this table top into a sign. It didn’t work in my favor. (those of you that saw my IG stories will know the inside joke) I decided to tackle the table as a refinishing project. I lov seeing before and afters of furniture pieces. It was a long process, but so worth it in the end! Before I started this project, I made sure to have on the proper safety gear…rubber gloves, a breathing mask, and eye goggles to protect myself from some of the items I would be using to transform this table. Sorry for the shabby before photos. I hadn’t planned on blogging about this, hence the unprepared photos.
I used Citri-Strip furniture stripping gel to remove the stain and sealer on the table legs. I like to use Citri-Strip better than other strippers, as it is a citrus stripping agent that is biodegradable. But to be honest, I ultimately hate stripping furniture. Citri-Strip doesn’t have the nasty, harsh smell and fumes of other stripping gels. It actually smells citrus-like, just like it’s name. After applying the gel with a paint brush on the table legs, I covered it with plastic wrap, in order to keep the gel active/wet and from drying out too quickly.
After a couple hours, I removed the plastic wrap and scrubbed off the stripping gel using mineral spirits with a lint free cloth. Once the stripper was removed, I wiped the table with a lint free cloth and just plain ol’ water. In the small crevices on the spindles I used my daughter’s toothbrush to scrub the stripping agent when removing. Don’t worry…we got her a new one. The stain did not come off as easily on the legs, so I used the bleach process 5 times in all, with some sanding in between coats to get the stubborn dark areas off that were not coming off with the stripping gel. In the end, I’m glad that some of the dark stayed in the cracks because it gave it more contrast after using the liming wax. When sanding the detail of the legs, I used 100-150 grit sandpaper, to try to keep from scratching the wood.
On the top, which was flat, I used 60 grit sandpaper to remove the sealer and stain with my Dewalt hand sander, followed with 100 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface. I wiped the table down with a lint free cloth, after sanding, and then applied 100% bleach to a lint free cloth and wiped it directly to the table. Make sure you have a mask and gloves for this process as the bleach scent is very overwhelming. After applying bleach, I would wait for the bleach to soak in and dry in the sun completely before repeating. I applied bleach 3 times to get it to the desired shade I was looking for on the table top. It’s still drying in this photo here. (sorry about the blurry photo, I had to take a screen shot of a video here)
Once I finished bleaching and sanding the table, it was ready for a final sanding with a fine grit sanding block. I like to do this to really smooth out the table top.
Finally, I finished the table by applying a coat of Briwax Liming Wax. I used a cheese cloth and made sure to wear a mask and gloves, as this wax can be an irritant and is super strong in odor. After I applied the wax, I went over it lightly with 150 grit sand paper to thin it out a little. Now to find a place for my table. I knew I didn’t need another table, but I just couldn’t help myself. I wanted to transform it into something different and I love the way it turned out!
I haven’t used any type of “sealer” on the table yet. I’m a little nervous that it will take the “liming look” away. I tried Some wax on one of the corners just to test it for sealing and it didn’t work so great. I’m always up for suggestions (below in the comments) if you have done this process before and used a sealer after liming wax that has worked out good for you.
Thank you so much for those of you that followed along this process over on IG @vintageporch! It was a long process and I’m glad it’s over, but I’m happy that I did it! I would love to hear what you think of the finished table in the comments below.
- For Safety: Rubber Gloves and breathing mask
- Citri-Strip Furniture stripping gel
- Cheap Paint brush
- Old toothbrush
- Plastic wrap
- Mineral Spirits
- Package of Lint Free Cloths
- Cheese cloth (for applying liming wax)
- Hand Sander
- Sandpaper (60 grit and 150 grit)
- Fine Grit Sanding block
- Briwax Liming Wax