Blistered and Peeling Table

For the last 4 years, this table has been slowly killing my soul.

I like chips, but this isn’t my flavor!

We bought this mission style table from World Market about 10 years ago. I wanted a table that could expand for company, was durable for kids art projects, and smooth enough to write homework on.

It came with 4 high back chairs, a leaf, and a long bench.

It was perfect. It checked every box, and it fit in our dinning room. I loved it!

Fast forward a few years. I had noticed that the table was starting to blister and leave water rings when a wet cup sat too long. Then shortly after, the finish started to flake off. I was so sad. Before long, just about anything we did on the table caused another mark to appear. Including last Christmas when I was wrapping presents and a piece of tape lightly touched the surface, pulling up more of the dark finish, exposing a very light colored wood.

But I was shocked when the finish came off when I picked up a post-it note!

Soon my table was filled with flaked bald spots, scrapes and blisters. I didn’t think we were abusive to the table. This was all normal activity, right? For crying in the mud! We weren’t tap dancing on the thing!

Gene Kelly Donald Oconnor GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Surely, this table wasn’t as durable as we were originally lead to believe. *tears*

The table I had fallen in love with, no longer showed me the same amount of love in return.

Sure, table clothes helped hide the blemishes. But they aren’t practical for schoolwork.

Top 30 Table Cloth GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

I tried to think of how I washed the table. Maybe I took off the original finish when I wiped it with Clorox wipes after meals…? That’s probably it, actually. I should have been using water and soap.

But still! This was advertised as a family table with room to grow. It should have had a more durable seal on it.

My friend reassured me that this is typical of mass produced home furniture nowadays. Just not as durable as we would like need.

She encouraged me to trouble shoot some repair methods before completely sanding the entire set.

She believed it had a lacquer finish and to try a lacquer thinner with a toothbrush to lightly brush the darker finish. This was genius! Just disperse the finish.

I tried.

Good suggestion, but I just succeeded at creating a smudge. poo!

Nonetheless, I appreciated the troubleshoot, and succumbed to the fact that I might just have to sand it all down.

But, rather than do the entire table and all of the seating, maybe I can get by with just refinishing the table top? Yes! That’s what I will do.

Hubs helped me move the monster outside.

Instead of sanding it all down, my friend told me to just remove the finish with some lacquer thinner. I think I went through 2 1/2 cans of thinner in the removal and clean up process.

It took a lot of elbow grease, but I got it all off of the top. I left the sides because I was naive. I thought I could get away with only doing the very top. But the lacquer thinner escaped a couple of times. Despite my cat like reflexes, it still dripped down the edge and removed the finish along the way.

For now, I will relax and admire the hard work thus far.

Blissfully unaware of the troubles I’m about to encounter.
The carnage of cans, sand paper, gloves, sponges, and rags

Meanwhile, my family was rather enjoying the physical closeness of our temporary eating arrangement.

Maybe we don’t need the leaf when the table returns.

Back outside the next day, I set to work on clearing off the edges.

After all of the finish was removed, I sanded the entire surface with 320 grit sandpaper and removed the sand with a damp cloth.

Next, I applied the wiping stain.

Whoa! Super light. and OI!!! I see the water rings more.

I was disappointed with how light the stain was. Definitely, not like the sample in the store.

To find the best color match, I took a decorative piece from the base and held it next to the samples.


I decided to stir the can once more, in case the pigment had settled.

Apparently, It had because…


But what is that?

The previous damage is darker??? Ack! Just let me love you!

I tried a Hail Mary pass and sanded down one of the offending areas, stained, and sanded. It was good! So I hit the rest of the sinful areas.



I then set to work on the sides without issues.

Next I sprayed the entire surface with E-Z Vinyl Sealer. 3 coats with a bit of sanding between coats, followed by a damp cloth and a microfiber towel to remove dust.

lookin’ good!

After that, I got to work using Finisher’s Choice Sealer. Once again repeating the process of the coats, sand (800 grit), damp cloth, microfiber towel.

good clean fun

Since it was a super hot day, the finish dried too fast and I was left with these whitish marks!

*gasp* panic

Oh nos! I quickly began sanding it all back down, staining, and building the layers back up.

At this point, I was still safe. But, if this is going to happen with the rest of the table, i am going to have a melt down!

I decided that maybe the day was too hot, and I waited until evening for the remaining coats.

In the morning, the same thing happened!


In my panic-stricken state, I forgot to take pictures.

Daughter saw me on the verge of tears and said, “Hey! What did you say in the beginning of all of this? That no matter what you did, it would still be better than what it was. You need a hug. Come here.”

After she calmed me down, I called my friend and she told me about a spray called “Super Blushing Retarder“. All you have to do is spray the white areas and they disappear.

To my surprise, it worked like a charm! Too bad I didn’t know about this for that previous edge!

I was able to save the finish without going through the entire process again!


Since the table still smelled like chemicals, I let it sit outside one more day. When I woke up, I saw this:


The night air got cold enough to condense, puddle on my porch roof, and leak through onto my newly finished table!

I was mortified!

After all, a mere sweaty cup would have previously ruined the surface in just a few minutes!

I didn’t know how long this water had been sitting here. I quickly wiped it up to assess the damage. I noticed there was absolutely NO WATER DAMAGE!!! What the what???

I think it is safe to say that the table is ready to be brought inside now.

I’ve gone to the dark side.

It is a bit darker than I wanted. Probably due to the extra layers of staining. But you know what? It’s worlds better than it was before!

I am so much happier with how it looks now. Sure it is darker and it isn’t perfect, but at least now we can use the table without worrying about the finish.

Dyar! Me treasured table is back on the mess deck!

UPDATE: After a few days of school work and daily life, I’m considering applying a couple of layers of super durable polyurethane. I’m seeing a few subtle scratches in the finish. I want to be able to drop a bowling ball on this sucker and not have ANY damage!

*Cheers my Dears*

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