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Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

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  • Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

    My wife purchased a poorly made kitchen set - problem is I really like it with one main exception, it was very poorly finished. The table top has a panel where the finish has started to come away - kind of cracking... I am pretty sure if I take my random orbit sander to it I will go through the laminate - can I use a stripper (gel)? Or will that de-laminate the table? Once stripped, I am assuming I should apply several coats of a good quality liquor... ? Oops, meant lacquer
    Last edited by erik4169; 01-28-2014, 12:45 PM.
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  • #2

    Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

    Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

    Can you post a pic or two? When you say laminate, do you mean the Wilsonart Formica kind of stuff or do you mean a real wood or even a photo veneer?
    Advice depends on what we are dealing with.
    Paul

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    • #3

      Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

      Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

      Click image for larger version

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ID:	898114Ok - you can see a side view of the table leaf - because of the rough cuts I assume they are hiding something, which is that it is not actually solid - two of the pictures are just for context - the third picture shows where the finish is cracking? and the wood beneath is revealed

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      • #4

        Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

        Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

        Looks like a cherry veneer on particleboard core. Lots of them around and with a bit of work they can be brought back to look very nice.
        Scratches will go away but I would take a very close look at the areas where the white marks are. I have seen this effect from hot dishes, pizza boxes, liquid spills that weren't wiped up quick enough. Check to make sure the veneer itself is not lifting. A magnifying glass should be sufficient. If the veneer is lifting and cracking then how you proceed depends how risk averse you are. Every method will have the potential to lift the veneer, some less than others.
        Standard procedure for me is to wash/wipe everything down with mineral spirits, and keep on doing this until rags come up clean. Have a look at the cracked areas while the MS is still wet and see what it looks like.
        It looks like a standard commercial tinted lacquer finish to me (but you should run a couple tests to verify), and if you are set up to spray lacquer, or can get someone to do it for you, this will be the quickest/easiest/cheapest way to go. Hand sand/scuff the entire thing to level it out and then apply a couple coats of lacquer.
        You could also chemically strip the finish, but if the veneer is lifting in that area, there is a distinct probability the stripper will work under it and not only lift it but swell the particleboard, which will pretty much ruin it.
        Paul

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        • #5

          Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

          Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

          Excellent - thank you Paul, you confirmed my fears, I will try the mineral spirits first, and take a close look at those cracked areas, I assume what I am looking for is evidence of the particle board being visible through the cracks.

          I don't currently have the ability to spray lacquer, nor do I know anyone who is, could I not stain and town apply several coats of verithane?

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          • #6

            Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

            Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

            Originally posted by erik4169 View Post
            Excellent - thank you Paul, you confirmed my fears, I will try the mineral spirits first, and take a close look at those cracked areas, I assume what I am looking for is evidence of the particle board being visible through the cracks.

            I don't currently have the ability to spray lacquer, nor do I know anyone who is, could I not stain and town apply several coats of verithane?
            You do not want to put Varathane over Lacquer. You can get brushing lacquer. Lacquer will bond with lacquer, effectively giving you one thicker surface coat.

            Of course you first should test and verify that it is in fact lacquer. I don't know the method off the top of my head, but if you google you'll find it.
            It's not about you.

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            • #7

              Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

              Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

              Hi

              If you can't spray the whole table
              I would re-stain the areas where the lacquer peeled of (the white spots). Then buy a can of lacquer (spray) do some touch up and call it a day.
              For a table like that, if will never look as good if you apply a finish with a brush. You will see brush marks and you will hate it.

              We bough a table similar to that one and after 4 years it looks like crap. My next table will be solid wood for sure.

              My 2 cents

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              • #8

                Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

                Re: Refinishing a "cherry" table (laminate)

                Originally posted by erik4169 View Post
                could I not stain and town apply several coats of verithane?
                You could, but IMO you will make it look a lot worse, because the stain will pick up all the scratches, dents, cracks etc and accentuate them. It will also pick up the cracked veneer and may indeed lift it a bit more.
                To help get rid of the scratches etc you need a finish that will chemically melt into the existing finish. Varathane won't do that. There are some waterbased finishes on the market that claim they can.
                If you use a rattle can, then be prepared for a halo effect around the repair. There are products that could fix your problem, but they are difficult for a non professional to acquire and they are not easy to use without some experience.
                Do you go into Toronto? If so contact John E Goudey, they may be able to help with products.

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