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Stripping Furniture

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One new change I made to my kitchen is refinishing the wood top on my kitchen table. Stripping furniture can seem scary, but it is quite easy and can be done in an afternoon.

Post updated: 4/19/2021

Some of you noticed the table and commented about my kitchen table after seeing it in my Easter post. 

Today, I am officially unveiling it for you.  I wanted the table top to resemble the salvaged pine tables that keep popping into my Pinterest boards.


The beautiful day made me want to set the table for dinner to enhance its new lighter look.

To help bring on the Spring vibe into the house, I bought some pale green hydrangeas and then went in search of some vintage napkins that I knew I had stashed somewhere. I found them – and even pressed them – you know I am in a happy mood if I pressed napkins.   I found them years ago at a yard sale.

Bonwit teller Logo

I call them my Bonwit Teller napkins because they remind me of one of my favorite stores I used to love to browse in.


Does anyone remember Bonwit’s and their beautiful logo?  There was one in Jenkintown, Pa, not far from my house.  I remember as soon as I got my driver’s license at 16, I could drive there by myself and browse as long as I wanted. The store was still around in NYC on 5th Avenue when I was in college, but went out of business in 1990.


These napkins will always remind me of the store and how inspired I felt browsing the aisles viewing all the pretty merchandise, color, and elegant style.

Restoration-Hardware-Salvaged-Wood-Pedestal Table

If I could buy a new table for my kitchen and didn’t have to worry about budget – this is the table I would like.

PEDESTAL SALVAGED WOOD DINING TABLE from Restoration Hardware.  Price tag $1995.00

BEFORE: My Wood Topped Kitchen Table

Here was my reality.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

I bought this kitchen table for $150 at JC Penney’s about 15 years ago. It has served us well.  I like the shape and it is in good condition – a few dents, dings, and many handwriting indentations across it, but well used and loved.

As I am giving the downstairs décor in my home a color lift – the dark orange tone of the table didn’t quite fit in anymore.


I don’t like using chemical strippers, but I knew for the quick change I wanted,  I would have to use it.     I bought a can of Klean Strip Stripper at Lowes.

If you are sensitive to smells and want to use something less toxic – use CitraStrip.  It has no smell and does the job just as well, it just takes more time.  Usually overnight.   I stripped this table with it:

Paint and Stain Stripping Wood TIPS:

1. Work outside or in a well ventilated room. The smell with this stripper is pretty intense.

2. Place a drop cloth or cardboard under the piece you are working on.  Do not use plastic, the stripper will eat right through it.

3. Put on rubber gloves and goggles.

4. I simply poured the stripper on the table top and spread it out with a metal scraper.


It didn’t take long to see the finish start to peel – approx: 10 minutes.

I used the metal scraper to scrape and shovel the used stripper into a paper bag and then placed in in a trash can I had ready to make clean-up easy.

5. After all the stripper was removed,  I cleaned the table off with soap and water and let it dry.

Restoration-Hardware-Wood-Finish Salvaged Pine

As you can see the stripper did a very good job at removing the original stain and finish. Last weekend, I took the table outside and used fine grit sandpaper on a sanding block to smooth the surface and to remove some of the old finish that did not come off with the stripper.  It only took a few minutes.

I enjoyed reading The Restoration Hardware description about the table on their website…   Rough-hewn, solid finished pine is hand-selected, planed and sanded.   My table is solid and sanded  :)


I cleaned the sanding dust off with a tack cloth.


I then added a very thin coat of soft wax. I buffed it and then added a small amount of liming wash,  about a 1/4 cup for the entire table.  I wanted to whiten the color just a bit so that a faint white would settle into the grooves and imperfections of the wood.  I bought the textured lime wash on clearance at Lowes. I don’t think it is sold anymore. You could do the same thing with white paint and glazing liquid.


The RH table description continued to state:

….Handsomely distressed, our table is crafted of substantial pine timbers.   Mine is pine veneer, but after sanding, I can add… handsomely distressed.



….This item is artisan crafted with meticulous care. Given its handmade and hand-finished nature, variations in the wood are to be expected and celebrated. Each item is unique and no two are exactly alike.

Rough-Hewn- Table Finish Salvaged Pine

…Nicks, nail marks and imperfections speak of the wood’s age and provenance.  My table passes this test.   Check, check, check, and check – hours of homework completed, board games played, endless glasses of milk spilled, many happy memories made around it.

CARE   …Clear furniture wax can be applied to protect the finish from minor spills. Use coasters or placemats to help prevent marks or stains. Avoid mineral oil as its usage could discolor the wood. Wipe the table clean with a soft, dry cloth after each use

Before-and-After-Wood-refinishing furniture makeover

Over the weekend I took a stroll around another inspiring store, Pottery Barn.  I liked the burlap cloths that were gracing all the tables.


I knew I had some extra white burlap left over from a cloth I made for my dining room table, so when I got home, I made a simple table runner for the table.


When I do projects like this, that are of an experimental nature, I am never sure how my family will like what I am doing to something that they have gotten used to being a certain way.

Happy to report, they liked it, which of course made me happy that I went with my instinct to give it an update.

Next on my To-do list for the kitchen:


To see how I stripped a furniture hutch with glass doors, check out this post:

paint stripping tips and tricks

Sharing WithThrifty Décor Chick

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  1. Fantastic job! Thanks for the tutorial.

    I began stripping my dining room buffet and hutch a few months ago. The hutch is done but the buffet. Ugh! The turned legs are not fun. lol I’ve stashed it away until the urge returns to tackle it again. :-)

  2. Diane, I love everything you do and this is no exception. Where do you get all your inspiration for projects? You make them all appear so effortless yet I know you put alot of work into each and every one! When I grow up I wanna be like you!

    1. Thanks Kim – It is just the way my brain is wired. I am not good at many other things: anything dealing with numbers, technical, science, and academic stuff. That is a struggle for me. My brain works on the other side – visualizing and creating. I don’t have to work at it, I see it – the ideas start flooding my brain – it is the way my brain does math. It says look at this pretty thing – add this to it, oh and then subtract that..kind of thing :)

  3. Your table is beautiful! Stripping can be so much work but so worth it-the effect looks so expensive. I don’t know if the wax you mentioned to lime wash it is locally available but I did a similar look and got my liming wax through Amazon…also it sometimes helps to enhance the liming to open the pores of the wood with a wire brush before adding the wax. The white than settles nicely into the grain.

    1. Hi Maggi – Thanks for sharing this information. The wire brush – smart! My table was pretty smooth and I wondered how some of the tables I was Pinning (Ballard Design one in particular) got all the white into the wood without it being just washed over. I will be trying this soon on another piece. XO

  4. Love, love, love the table! I’m thinking the base needs to be white – Annie Sloane, maybe. P.S. I also am a Bonwit Teller fan and have an old hat box of theirs that I still enjoy that has the pretty lilac flowers.