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QUESTION: Can you please tell me how to refinish a kitchen table with a "Resistivar" finish?  After nearly 30 years, the finish is worn and in some areas, it is actually off down to the wood.  (this in areas where we used to have salads on paper plates with italian dressing - small, maybe quarter size areas).  

Please suggest products and where they can be purchased along with instructions.  My husband is very good in woodworking and has built many beautiful oak furniture pieces.

Thank you for your help!  We want to save the table, not have to purchase a new one!

ANSWER: There are many ways to refinish such a table, the real question is how easy is it going to be to strip. The old finish needs to be chemically stripped, so that's the first thing he needs to do, with a methylene chloride stripper. I am not familiar with Resistivar, and a simple search did not yield any tangible results...but if it is a catalyzed finish, it can be very difficult to remove....what is his finishing skill level, and experience with this type of project?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: While he has done many wood working projects we have limited experience with stripping. Once stripped he is fine with normal instructions. Is the chemical stripper one we can get at Hom Depot, Lowes or Menards? We are looking to only do the actual top if possible. Everything else looks fine and looks to possibly be normal polyurethane. I doubt they would use that finish on the sides and legs wod they? Thank you for your help so far.

Answer
It's possible that the whole piece is finished with the same finish....are you saying the table is finished now with "Resistavar"?...if so, how do you know this?....these strippers are available at any good hardware or home center...protect the surrounding areas, and read carefully and heed the product warnings...they are dangerous and toxic, but the best and fastest way to completely remove the old finish....Polyurethane was/is not really used in the furnishing industry...it's more likely a lacquer/catalyzed lacquer from that era....

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Greg Scholl

Expertise

Questions on Woodworking, wood finishing and refinishing of all kinds, repairing furniture and wooden objects, Architectural details, Woodturning, carving, tool usage, product usage, some chemistry as it applies to woodworking and related interests,cabinet making and furniture construction/design, etc. I have experience with all manners of colorants, finishes, paints, stains, dyes, glazes, and coatings, wood species recognition and usage,tool recommendations, blade types and recommendation,techniques and methods for many Woodworking related issues, etc.

Experience

Fine furniture restorer and cabinet maker for over 30 years,serving high end Antique dealers, Interior designers, Collectors in the CT area. Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.) Sold, built, serviced, setup Home, Industrial, and Commercial stationary woodworking tools for a major tool retailer in CT. for three years, sold hand and power tools , provided knowledge, parts replacement, service, and on site service, Trade show Demo, and training as well.

Publications
Published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (12/97), included on Fine Woodworkings first "Best of Fine Woodworking" CD-ROM (2002) ...("27 year compilation of expert know-how")

Education/Credentials
Art School at Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, CT., 9 year apprenticeship in a European run Cabinet and Restoration shop in CT., various classes on subjects having to do with the field. Seminars from major Tool manufacturers, Skil/Bosch, Delta, Powermatic, Ritter, Porter cable, Milwaukee, Dewalt/B&Decker, Performax.

Past/Present Clients
Many varied clients including work on Martha Stewarts' Westport, CT. show house, many fine Antique dealers and private collectors in and around Fairfield County and in Woodbury, CT. (the Antiques capital of CT.), Golden Age of Trucking Museum,Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.), local Museums and Historical Societies. For the last two years I have been employed with Schwenke Auctioneers Inc.- Woodbury Auction LLC., as a staff photographer,IT tech,and doing restoration and repair work as well.

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