Q:  I have a dining room table I want to refinish. I want to restain it and put a polyurethane finish on it. Could you give me the steps and the best products I should use? Is it better to use a water base polyurethane or a non water base for the most durable finish?

Thank you,
M. Manchon

A: Restaining requires patience and work to get a professional job. Start with sanding using typically a hand held vibrating or random orbital sander using a course grit if there is a lot of finish on it or if it is a hardwood like oak. Reduce grit size if the table is made of a softwood or not much finish on it. Once you get the finish and the stain removed (this may take time and effort, if you are going with a dark stain you do not have to remove all of the old stain but it cant be blotchy) sand with a fine sand paper or if you are to use an oil base poly you can use 0000 steel wool (which is what I like). Tack cloth the table and then stain using a rag and rubbing the stain in for consistency. Tack cloth the table just before using the poly. Apply the poly with a natural bristle brush if using the oil base product or a good latex brush if a water base. In between coats use 220 grit sand paper if working with the water base and 0000 steel wool with oil base, to smooth out brush marks and any dust or raised grain. Then tack cloth before each coat. 2 to 3 coats will give good protection. After the last coat using again 220 sandpaper or steel wool, lightly sand, then tack cloth, and then using a 4 part paint thinner to 1 part oil base poly or 3 part water to 1 part water base poly, wipe on table with a dust free rag and enjoy. Any questions call my store at 545-1222.

-Bill the "helpful hardware man"