How to Refinish a Carved Coffee Table

Round coffee table
  • 4-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-200
What You'll Need
Cleaning fluid
Restoring furniture polish
Wood caulk

While a carved coffee table can be a beautiful and unique piece of furniture, refinishing it can be a real problem. The usual refinishing process requires you strip off the damaged or aged layer of table, leaving a brand new one underneath to be varnished. While this refinishing technique could be used on a carved table, you may damage the carving by taking off the top layer of wood.

A better alternative is to treat the wood as though it were a piece of antique or expensive furniture and not do anything to remove the wood layer. Refinishing a carved coffee table should not take you too long, and you can manage easily to do this in a few hours.

Step 1 - Clean the Table

To begin, thoroughly clean the table with a clean cloth and some cleaning fluid spray. Spray the cleaner onto the surface of the wood, and scrub over with the cloth. While you are cleaning, look out for small chips or signs of damage in the carving. Remove all the dust and dirt from the table.

Once you have finished wiping it over with the cloth, use some wood caulk to fix any cracks or gaps, and then sweep down with a fine-haired brush.

Step 2 - Use Turpentine

Once you have sprayed, put a little bit of turpentine on your cloth and rub over the surface of your table. The turps will help to clean off the surface of the wood and will also put on a layer of oil which will help the wood to stay fresh for longer. Use the turpentine over the surface of the wood until you bring out the natural shine. You should start to see an improvement in the appearance of the table as soon as you complete this section.

Step 3 - Add Furniture Polish

rectangular coffee table with gold embellishments

You can now start to polish your table. Use a very small amount of a furniture polish specifically designed to restore or refinish wood. This will add a layer of shine to your wood without stripping off any essential oils. Use a clean cloth to apply a small amount of polish to the tip of the cloth. Never put it directly onto the wood. Rub the polish until it starts to shine up. You should then rub it until you can feel the table becoming smoother.

Step 4 - Add Varnish

When the table has been polished, you can then add some varnish to finish the job. Use a lacquer or an ordinary varnish to give the table more shine. Place the table in the sun for an hour or two to dry it out.