I bought two end tables and a coffee table off of craigslist years ago. The tables themselves were in decent condition and were sturdy and a style I liked. But the tops had been abused - they had scratches and rings and stains. But for $30, what the heck?
I had intended to refinish them, but just never got around to it. For the most part, they had enough crap on them to hide the worst of the damage. In the last year, the coffee table picked up several new rings, and having the time and perfect weather yesterday, I decided to fix them.
I took out the worst table first, as a test subject, since I had never refinished a table before, and had never tried rub-on polyurethane before. It wasn't until I had put on the first coat that I realized I should be taking before and after photos. So I have an in-progress photo:
The bottom left table was the worst one, and has been sanded and has the first layer of poly on it. This is a bad photo, but the coffee table is in worse shape than the side table on the right.
I was amazed how quickly I sanded off the damage. Even more so, I was amazed at how easy the rub-on poly went on. No brushes to clean up afterwards! No bubbles or smoothing out to deal with. And once the third layer went on, it had a nice finish. It was satin - so it wasn't as smooth as I've had some woodwork, but I am extremely pleased with the results.
Look at how smooth and flawless that looks!
The first completed table.
This was an afternoon well spent. I love rub-on poly. My desk top needs refinishing -- it may be next!