Refinishing the table from hell


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Old 01-01-19, 08:24 AM
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Refinishing the table from hell

Hi, I'm new here. I would wait until I get home to take photos of my project, but I'm likely to forget the moment I walk in the door. I will update this with photos later, because I have more than one question. But first up is an easy one. I just discovered the forum, and I've been scouring it for hours collecting ideas. Thank you!

I'm refinishing an accent table for a friend. It's of indeterminate age, incredibly soft wood, unusual veneer on the drawer (more on that later), has intricate appliques and detail routing, and it had been spray-painted black over the previous damaged finish (insert scream here). I have been sanding for days. When I take the pictures later, I will add my additional questions.

But my first concern is a wonky nail that attaches a shelf to the legs. I'm surprised the internet does not have 15 sites about this one. Three of the nails are fine, but one appears to be an 8d and sticks halfway out of the underside, angled and bent. I want to remove this awful thing, but I don't know whether to secure that corner of the shelf with a new finishing nail before or after I pull the old one. I'm thinking I should put in the new one first for stabilization so the entire shelf doesn't pull too much when I'm trying to get the old one out. There should be enough room for me to put in a new nail, because whoever smashed that railroad spike into the shelf wasn't paying attention to placement. Is this workable, or should I pull the old nail first and see what happens before I put in a new one? I'm concerned due the age of the piece and don't want to damage it any further.

Thank you again!
 
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Old 01-01-19, 09:46 AM
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Welcome to the forums and Happy New Year.

A little help for later..... How-to-insert-pictures
 
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Old 01-01-19, 10:11 AM
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We are kind of flying blind without pics. Usually you are better off using a paint stripper to remove the old finish/paint than sanding alone, especially if there is a veneer involved. What type of finish do you hope to use?
 
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Old 01-01-19, 10:21 AM
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I would prefer to stain it. I will decide later once all the repairs are done. My main concern right now is the nail issue. Thanks!
 
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Old 01-01-19, 10:35 AM
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First off, just agreeing with what has already been said, pictures would help and a stripper is probably the best place to start. As far as the nail, I would definitely remove it before re-nailing it; otherwise all of your wiggling around to get the old one out is most likely going to make the new one less effective. Again, can't see what you can see, but maybe clamp the piece in place while pulling it. If it protrudes all the way through, straighten the exposed end first, if necessary. As far as getting anything under the head, you may need to visit the local hardware store or big box for a cats paw or whatever. Once you get enough shank exposed, sometimes a pair of the right type of wire cutters works well in tight spaces; just a matter of gripping it well enough to get a good bite but not enough to cut it.
 
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Old 01-01-19, 06:20 PM
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I have not gotten decent results using chemical strippers in the past, so I didn't want to waste my time and patience. I enjoy sanding. The original piece with its mangled finish, the nail in question, and where I'm currently at.
 
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Last edited by mlk528; 01-01-19 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 01-01-19, 06:31 PM
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I would clip the nail off (in order to eliminate the chance you dent the wood by pulling the nail) and set it below the surface with a nail set. Add a new nail if you want, predrill a hole for it first with a bit slightly smaller than the finish nail you intend to use. Predrilling ensures the old wood doesn't split and that the nail goes in straight. The wood on the drawer front reminds me of teak, or a similar imported tropical wood.
 
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Old 01-01-19, 06:37 PM
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Thank you very much - I like that option better than pulling a nail that's been in there for who knows how many years.
I've been going back and forth between thinking that veneer is some bizarre wood and worrying that I sanded right through it and that's the underlying wood showing. I'm reluctant to play with it more in case I do destroy it.
 
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Old 01-02-19, 03:26 AM
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The problem with sanding the existing finish off is you don't always get all of the previous finish off. If the wood isn't bare it won't accept stain as well. There are different types of paint strippers, the more caustic ones work a lot better than the diy/environmentally friendly ones.

It's looking good so far
 
 

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