How do I strip the finish off a wood table?

(Mods, I wasn’t sure where to put this, so please move if necessary.)

Our kitchen table was handmade by my former stepdad. He finished it, stained it a nice cherry color, and then (we think) put a polyurethane finish on top of that. It’s several years later, and the finish is starting to wear off. The original wood is showing through in places.

I am thinking that the way to do this is to strip all of the finish off, and then restain it, and then re-polyurethane it? I don’t know much about this kind of thing and thought I would solicit advice. I would ask my stepdad, but you will note my use of the word “former” – he and my mom had a fairly acrimonious divorce a few years ago, and contacting him is not really an option. So, suggestions? Right now we’re just throwing a tablecloth over it but I’d like to get it back to looking pretty all on its own.

Hm, I think the title actually should have been “How do I refinish a wood table?” Whoops.

Is overall sanding the whole table an option? I think that’s the only way to get rid of a stain. Doesn’t that soak into the grain? Or did you just mean strip off the old poly?

When you say the original wood is showing through do you mean that the stain has worn away? If so, I don’t see why you can’t just sand it down to the original wood and start over.

Well, I think that’s what we’re going to do, yeah, but I’m not sure what “starting over” is going to involve. :slight_smile: Just, restaining it, or is there some kind of clear top finish that goes on after that, or…?

It’s up to you. Generally a polyurethane top coat is added for protection.

A simple step by step method is explained here.

Ah, thanks! Hm, perhaps I should have Googled…

Just an anecdote, but I accidentally discovered once that Pine Sol will eat right through polyurethane.