Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Country Pine Table Refinish No. 2

Friday, March 19, 2021

Water damage over the past two years to my French Country style dining table required refinishing the pine table this winter... for the second time in thirty plus years. The first time I refinished the table by myself, but this time I paid someone else to do all the work with input from me. 

During the pandemic and the historic Texas snowstorm!

A F T E R 

French Country Pine Table Refinish after photo
Here is how the table looks finished after stripping the table top to bare wood and applying three coats of special waterproof polyurethane finish. 

Unfortunately for readers who want full details with photos of the process BEFORE, DURING, as well AFTER, there are no photos of immediately before or during the process. I was too busy trying to survive February to take photos. 

However, there are some photos of the before to explain the need for a full renovation of the pine table top. 

F r e n c h   C o u n t r y   

P i n e   T a b l e

Refinish No. 2

B E F O R E . . . 

spring 2019 . . . 

French Country Pine Table Refinish before photo with faint water damage
Water damage to the pine table was visible in early 2019 shown above . . . and grew worse during the pandemic of 2020. 

With no visitors due to the world quarantining at home, the table became the storage space for new stock arriving for my small seasonal French Country Christmas Event. Stacks of newly-arrived boxes of stock, half-finished projects, and cat food bowls covered the surface and hid a lot of the new damage occurring from water. 

B E F O R E . . . Refinish No. 1 

  spring 2013 . . . 

French Country Pine Table Refinish before photo with severe water damage to wax finish
Back in 2013, the table suffered severe damage when plants were set on the table for a couple of weeks and water splashed onto the table when the plants were watered over the two-week period. 

The damage in 2019-2020 was not as severe as in 2013, but was bad enough to require renovation of the wood. 

The pine table is made from old reclaimed thick English pine boards and was sealed with a wax finish that worked perfectly well for over twenty years before the plant-watering damage in 2013. There is a link at the end of the post to a previous blog post where I shared how I refinished the table then, Refinish No. 1, and applied wax once again as the sealer. 

Fall 2017 . . . 

French Country Pine Table in post and beam house
The old reclaimed pine wood table fits the French Country style of my post and beam house very well, and Fall 2017 photos show Refinish No. 1 was doing well. 

R E F I N I S H  No. 2  . . . 

Winter 2021 . . . 

French Country Pine Table Refinish after photo of thick reclaimed English pine table top

GOALS . . . Refinish No. 2

  • Renovate top only, not apron or legs
  • Remove water stains
  • Retain the original character of the old wood
  • Apply a polyurethane final finish instead of wax
    • Water resistant
    • Matte or satin finish, not shiny

French Country Pine Table Refinish after sanding and polyurethane gel refinish photo
Removing the water stains required removing the wax finish to be able to sand the wood. Sanding through wax only gums up the sand paper. When I completed the first refinish in 2013, it took me three to four days of scraping off the wax using a single blade of broken scissors. For Refinish No. 2, I paid a person who works as a painter and handyman. 

French Country Pine Table Refinish after photo shows some deep scratches remain after refinishing
The final finish still retains some of the old deep scratches which I hoped would happen. 

The project began the first part of February when temperatures were the normal mild winter temperatures (daytime highs in the 40s-60s) in Texas, and the windows could be opened to dissipate the strong odor of the mineral spirits used to strip the wax from the table top. The stripping process required applying mineral spirits with 0000 steel wool, and letting the table dry overnight before the next application. It took three applications of mineral spirits with 0000 steel wool over three days to strip the table top to bare wood. 

The project ground to a halt when I had a strong adverse reaction to my second COVID-19 vaccination, followed immediately by historic once-in-a-century prolonged frigid temperatures below 10 degrees coupled with a snowstorm! 

French Country Pine Table Refinish after photo with deep scratches retain the character of the antique boards
After temperatures warmed back to our usual 40s-60s daytime highs, the project moved forward. Once the table was bare wood with no wax, the handyman used an orbital hand sander with 100 grit sandpaper to remove the water rings from the wood. He followed with a finer grade of sandpaper.

Deep scratches still retain the character of the life of the old boards and of our lives. 

French Country Pine Table Refinish after photo shows final finish of food safe polyurethane gel
After the water stains were mostly removed, he applied three coats of The Good Stuff polyurethane gel. He sanded with a fine grit paper after the first coat, then used 0000 steel wool after each of the two other coats. The final 0000 steel wool polishing was to knock some of the sheen from the polyurethane gel to get more of a satin finish.

The Good Stuff polyurethane gel is food safe, and water beads up on it instead of soaking through to the wood. While wax gives a soft aged patina perfect for antique wood, the table needs more protection than the wax gives. 

French Country Pine Table Refinish after photo shows table with patina of final finish
There are still a few water stains visible, but only faintly, which adds to the character of an old French Country style table made from reclaimed thick English pine boards. 

✯ Information shared about renovation projects is to give readers ideas for their own projects and is not professional advice. Please research any products you use and consult professionals for advice. During your research online, be sure to read customer reviews for products. Especially read reviews with low ratings to better understand what problems may occur. The more you know, the better you are able to make decisions. 


S o u r c e s  

Pine Table Refinished  Blog Post for Refinish No. 1 

Pine Table - English Pine Company, Fort Worth, Texas (no longer in business) - several years ago

The Good Stuff polyurethane gel - Internet 

Glass Cloches - several years old  

White Ceramic Cracker Dish Bunny - Botanic Bleu - no longer available 

Wood Eggs - Target - two years ago