How to Refinish a Wooden Picnic Table


After a number of years, wear and tear can take a toll on a wooden picnic table. Rather than spend money on a replacement, take time to refinish the surface. Here are the basics of how to refinish a wooden picnic table successfully.

Tools and Materials

• Sandpaper
• Chemical Stripper
• Wood Filler
• Rag
• Stain
• Putty Knife
• Polyurethane Finish
• Paint Brush
• Gloves

Step 1 – Apply a Chemical Stripper

The first part of this process involves applying a chemical stripper to the wooden picnic table. A chemical stripper is a very harsh chemical that is designed to remove polyurethane finish from wood. Because of the toxic chemicals in the stripper, you are going to want to make sure that you are very careful when dealing with it.

During this part of the process, you may want to consider wearing some gloves so that you do not have to make contact with the chemical stripper. Pour the chemical stripper onto the surface of the wood and make sure that it is all covered. Read the directions on the chemical stripper to determine how long you need to leave it on the surface.

Step 2 – Scrape

After the chemical stripper has been allowed to do its job, you should be able to start scraping the finish off. This job is best performed by using a putty knife. Take a putty knife and press it down firmly into the table. Take your time and make sure that you have removed all of the finish from the wooden picnic table using this method.

Step 3 – Clean the Stripper

At this point, you should clean the stripper off of the wooden picnic table. Most of the time, you should be able to hose it off with some water. In other cases, you may have to use turpentine in order to remove it from the wooden picnic table. Check the label on the stripper to see what the manufacturer recommends.

Step 4 – Sand

After you let the table dry, it is time to start sanding it. Take some sandpaper or a small sander and use it to smooth out the surface of the picnic table. You will want to try to get it as smooth as you possibly can. Once you are done with this, you should try to remove all of the sawdust that you just created.

Step 5 – Apply Wood Filler

At this point, you may need to apply some wood filler to the table. This will help fill in the gaps around the grain of the wood and make it look smoother.

Step 6 – Stain

Once you have allowed the wood filler to dry, you should be able to apply stain to the wood. You can choose any color that you want for this part of the process. You should be able to apply it with a rag or a paintbrush.

Step 7 – Seal

Once you let the stain dry, you can then apply a polyurethane finish over the top. You might want to apply two coats and let both of them dry thoroughly before you use the table.