I picked up this Ethan Allen coffee table a few weeks ago at a thrift store and I was SO pleased that no one else could see past the hideous gold spray paint on the top!
So I started stripping it. People ask me quite often what paint stripper I use. It’s called Motsenbocker’s Paint and Varnish Remover (I found it at Lowe’s).
The reason I go with this brand is because it has no fumes, it’s biodegradable, and it is water based, so I can easily wash it off any brushes or what have you. It might take a little longer than the other types of strippers, but I don’t mind because I stress less when I don’t have to worry about fumes and touching something it shouldn’t and special cleaners, etc. It takes me about 30 minutes to really soften all the paint (a couple layers). P.S. I don’t necessarily recommend doing it in a carpeted room, like I did, but I was impatient needed a place where I could close the door from the kids coming in and touching it. And I was really careful not to drop or drip any on the carpet.
In this case it was a layer of gold spray paint, plus the original thick varnish that was on top. I scraped it with a metal spatula, then removed all the traces of stripper with odorless mineral spirits. Once a majority of the paint was off, I sanded it with 80 grit (to remove stubborn bits of paint), then 120, then 220 to get it super soft.
For this table, I really wanted to show off the fact it is made from solid maple, so I didn’t want to stain it dark. So after I conditioned the wood, I went with Minwax Early American stain. It was perfect and I knew it from the minute I did the first swipe. It was just so natural-looking to the piece.
The body and legs got a couple coats of ASCP Old White, I distressed them a little, then clear waxed the entire thing.
The reason I clear waxed the top as well, was per recommendation of MMS. I had shied away from it in the past because I had heard from someone that they stained then waxed a table top and it never dried. Well, turns out that is not the case, as long as you let the stain fully dry for 8 hours. The wax finish is durable, yet it makes it so buttery smooth, it’s like nothing I’ve ever used before! To get even close to this smooth of a finish in the past, I had to do 3 coats of wipe-on poly. It has a has a perfect, low-lustre finish that I love.
The drawer pulls were heavy (good sign) and they got a fresh coat of Oil Rubbed Bronze. When I bought it, they each were missing a screw, but I happened to have 2 that were the perfect size and length in my stash! It pays to save hardware! 🙂