Give your kitchen table a whole new look by removing the old stain. With a little bit of patience and elbow grease, you can turn your old worn out dining table into a stunning farmhouse table. Here’s how to strip a kitchen table.
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I found this old kitchen table for only $50 on Facebook! It’s solid wood, the leaf is stored under the table, it seats 8 and it has big chunky farmhouse style legs.
It was the perfect find to replace our old dining table that was falling apart.
Here’s what it looked like before I stripped it.
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The finish needed a bit updating and I couldn’t wait to see what was under the old finish! You’ll never believe how simple it was.
How to Strip a Kitchen Table:
- Remove the legs and lay plastic under it.
- Brush Citristrip all over the stain.
- Let it sit.
- Scrape off the stripper.
- Remove the remaining residue.
- Let dry.
- Lightly sand and wipe down.
- Seal the raw wood.
- Plastic to protect the floor – Dollar Store Shower Curtains are perfect!
- Buckets or taller surface to place table top on
- Chemical Resistant Gloves
- Citristrip Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel
- Old Cheap Bristle Brush – Dollar Store Wins again!
- Plastic Putty Knife
- Small Disposable Bowl with Lid
- Mineral Spirits
- 0000 Steel Wool
- Paper Towels
- 220 grit Sandpaper
- Minwax Wipe-on Poly in Satin
- Cut up T-Shirts or Lint Free Rags
Lay Down Plastic and Remove the Legs
We started by placing plastic shower curtains from the dollar store down to protect the floor. I’ve also used cardboard boxes to protect the floor.
Then we placed the table top on a couple of 5 gallon buckets to lift it off the ground, and I stood the legs upright on their own.
I also opened up the table so I could get to the leaf.
I used Citristrip to remove wood stain on this table.
Stripping furniture with Citristrip is the easiest way (and the least stinky way) that I have found to strip.
So I grabbed my all time favorite wood stripper and started pouring the orange goo all over the table and legs.
How to Use Citristrip
Brush Stripper All Over the Stain
I used an old bristle brush (dollar store paint brushes for the win!) to brush the Citristrip all over the place.
I like to lay it on thick, especially on the sides.
I’ve heard of placing plastic wrap over the stripper to keep it moist for longer. Next time I’m going to try that!
((Update: I have since tried the plastic wrap trick on a few pieces, including this weathered wood dresser makeover and holy moly it helps a lot!))
Let the Stripper Sit
Then I left it for a few hours to do it’s thing.
After a while I tested a small area to see how easily the old finish came off (if it is hard to get off completely it needs more time, if it comes off with ease it’s time to start scraping!)
Scrape off the Stripper
After putting on my gloves I used a putty knife (plastic is best to avoid scratching the wood) to remove all of the stripper and finish off into a small bowl.
How to Remove Citristrip Residue
Once the majority of the stripper was removed, I grabbed some steel wool and mineral spirits.
The mineral spirits combined with the steel wool scrubs off any excess or harder to remove the finish and is seriously the best way to remove Citristrip!
I went through about 5 or 6 rolls of steel wool in this project.
**A little tip is to pull the rolls apart into 3 pieces. Then every time the steel wool seems gummed up I turn it over until all the steel wool is completely covered in goo. Then it’s time for a new one.
I used paper towels dipped in mineral spirits to wipe off any excess stripper as well.
At this point, the table resembled a weathered wood finish.
There was a bit of old finish left in a few knicks and dings, but that just adds to the weathered wood look.
This was exactly how I had envisioned it!
Let Dry and Lightly Sand
I let it dry a couple of days before I gave it a light sanding to make the wood completely smooth.
Then I wiped the table and legs down to remove any extra dust that was left from sanding.
Seal the Raw Wood
Once everything was wiped down completely I used a cut-up white t-shirt to apply the Minwax Wipe on Poly.
I made sure to apply it with the grain in long even strokes, letting it dry completely before applying the next coat.
Since it is a dining table that I expect to have heavy wear and tear I applied 6 thin coats on the top and 3 thin coats on the legs.
I love the Minwax Wipe-On Poly to seal wood because it protects it super well.
That was all there was to it! Super easy! But it does take some patience.
If the table wasn’t the right shade after I stripped it I would have easily grabbed a can of the color of stain I wanted and applied a thin coat, wiped it off, and let it dry.
Once the color was what I wanted I then would proceed with the Minwax Wipe on Poly to protect the finish.
Make sure to let the polyurethane dry for 48 hours, and then be super super careful with it for a month while it cures completely.
Tips for Using Citristrip
How Long Can You Leave Citristrip On?
Since Citristrip isn’t a harsh stripper, you can leave Citristrip on wood for up to 36 hours. I’ve even left it on wood veneer for that long without it causing any problems with the veneer.
I typically like to leave the Citristrip on overnight with some plastic wrap over it to make sure it doesn’t dry out.
What to do if Citristrip Dries?
If the Citristrip dries, it will stop removing the stain or paint that you are trying to remove. As long as the stripper is wet, it will continue to eat through the old finish.
But once it’s dry, it will stop eating through the finish.
You can put more Citristrip over the dry Citristrip to reactivate it. Or you can scrape it off and put another coat of stripper on if it didn’t remove all of the paint or stain.
What Happens if you Leave Citristrip on too Long?
The worst thing that I have had happen is that the Citristrip will dry out.
I left it on for a couple of days on accident and it was just dry. So I put more stripper on and started again.