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A newly restored timber table in living room.

Overview

Transform a tired table into a stylish centrepiece. This is an easy D.I.Y. project – all it takes is a little sanding and a couple of coats of furniture oil.

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (such as ear muffs, safety glasses, a mask and disposable gloves) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment.

Steps

1Prepare your work area

Set out a drop sheet in a well-ventilated area and place the table on top.

Person sanding table with orbital sander to remove varnish.

2Sand away most of the varnish

Begin by smoothing the table all over with an 80-grit abrasive disc to remove the bulk of the table’s varnish. Remove any remaining varnish using sanders with 120-grit discs. Hand-sand with 120-grit abrasive paper to clean around trim and into the corners, lightly rounding over the edges to remove the last of the varnish. 

Green Bunnings hammer
Tip: Use an orbital sander for the larger areas and a palm sander for smaller sections, such as the legs.
Person applying abrasive disc to orbital sander.

3Smooth the corners

Smooth all over using sanders with 180-grit discs. Hand-sand with 180-grit abrasive paper around the trim, into the corners and along the edges to remove potential splinters.

Green Bunnings hammer
Tip: When working with timber, sand through the grits to remove finer amounts each time. The higher the grit, the finer the abrasiveness.
Person sanding edges of table with a palm sander.

4Finish sanding and wipe clean

Smooth all over using 240-grit abrasive paper with a hand-sanding block, working in the direction of the wood grain for a silky finish, lightly rounding over the corners and edges. Wipe the entire table clean with a damp cloth to remove any dust. 

Person wiping down table with cloth.

5Apply furniture oil to timber

Use a specialised furniture oil to seal the table. Begin each coat with the table upside down so you can work over the legs and underside first, flipping it over to do the top last. This way, it can be left to dry undisturbed.

Begin by stirring the furniture oil well, but avoid shaking the can. Wearing gloves, apply the oil with a cloth, working in the direction of the woodgrain and leaving to dry overnight.

Green Bunnings hammer
Tip: Store the cloth in a Ziploc® bag to prevent it drying out.
Person stirring tin of furniture oil with paint stirrer.

6Sand and apply the second coat

Lightly hand-sand all over with 240-grit abrasive paper, then wipe away dust with a damp cloth. Apply a second coat of oil with the cloth and leave to dry.

Person applying a coat of furniture oil to a table with a cloth.

7Keep in mind…

  • When using a power sander, be sure to wear safety equipment: a mask, eye and ear protection. Always work in a well-ventilated area when sanding and applying oil or varnish.
  • Strip the surface with coarse 80-grit; clean up with 120-grit; smooth with fine 180-grit; refine with super-fine 240-grit.

8Ready to create more décor?

Learn how to build open shelving with our handy guide.

 

Photo Credit: Michelle Holden

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.