Friday, December 19, 2014

Fixing Up A Wood Table Without Refinishing It

 The day before Corey's birthday dinner I set aside the whole day for cleaning (well 80% cleaning and 20% food prep).  That shows you how dirty my house was.  When I get on a roll with something I get A LOT done.  One of the random unexpected things I did once I got into Cleaning Mode was fix up my wood dining room table without refinishing it. 

This table was the table my mom used growing up and that I used growing up.  My brother used for awhile, too.  The point is that it's old and it's seen a lot of abuse.  Here is the sorry state of before:

This is the table with all of the leaves in it which is why the one part is so much darker than the others.  It is the least-used leaf.

Materials I Used:
  • razor blade
  • vinegar
  • olive oil
  • Vaseline
  • Formby's lemon oil

What an odd list, huh?  I used some pins I had pinned on Pinterest to plan my attack.

1. First I mixed a 50-50 mixture of vinegar and olive oil because Pinterest told me to.  I wiped it all over the table and it gave everything a nice sheen and cleaned it up a bit.

2. Then I put Vaseline on all the white water damage spots because Pinterest told me to.  There were a LOT of these spots.  I put Vaseline on any sort of discoloration and it worked wonders.

3. Then I slowly scraped off the paper spot with a razor blade.  Then I put Vaseline on it and let it sit for awhile.

I got down to the actual LETTERS from whatever that paper is!  I ever so carefully scraped them off too and it's like the paper was never there!

Then I wiped off the Vaseline in all the areas that it hadn't fully soaked in.  It did wonders on all but the very worst spots!  It must put some moisture back into the wood or something so they don't look so light anymore.

Finally I put on a coat of Formby's lemon oil treatment.

I can't believe how much better it looks!  Those really bad spots probably need to be refinished, but for a little bit of work it looks a million times better.

Here is the table all set the night before the birthday dinner:

And here is a before and after:


  1. So this was our family room table, long ago? Cleaning it is better than refinishing, I think. Looks great now. Maybe it needs a table protector under the tablecloth, so that sometimes you can use it with place mats and a runner. It really looks great. The place of so many long ago memories now making new memories. Really cool.

    1. Yes! We do have a waterproof tablecloth under our regular one.