how to refinish a cherry wood coffee table

Refinishing a Cherry Wood Coffee Table

Whether it’s an heirloom or modern find, refinishing a cherry wood coffee table can be a rewarding and satisfying task. Revitalizing your furniture from an old, scratched and faded look to a vibrant and gleaming new finish can take some effort, but with a few simple steps and the right materials, anyone can do it. Here’s how.

Step 1: Determine the Bonus

Before beginning any renovation project, it’s important to determine how much work needs to be done. Do you want to keep the existing finish and just buff it up? Or do you want to strip it down and start fresh? Consider how much of the existing finish is present, if there’s any water damage, and if the table is structurally sound.

Step 2: Gather the Right Supplies

Your supplies are key to a successful refinishing job. You’ll need:

  • Mineral spirits
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Fine grade sandpaper (up to 1500 grit)
  • Soft rags
  • Stain
  • Sealer or varnish

Step 3: Strip Down the Old Finish

Start by lightly sanding the coffee table with a fine grade sandpaper. Then use the mineral spirits and lacquer thinner to remove any remaining finish. Wipe the table clean with a soft cloth, let dry, and then use the finer grits of sandpaper to sand down and smooth the surface.

Step 4: Apply the Stain

It’s important to choose the right stain for your cherry wood coffee table. Make sure to do a test patch first to determine the right colors. When you’re happy with the results, wipe on the stain with a soft cloth, let stand for 10-15 minutes, and then wipe off any excess. Allow the stain to dry for 24 hours.

Step 5: Apply the Sealer

Once the stain has dried, it’s time to apply the sealer or varnish. This will protect the table from water damage, scratches, and fading. Apply a thin coat with a soft cloth, let dry for an hour, and then lightly smooth the surface with some high-grit sandpaper. Finally, apply a second coat and let dry.


By following these simple steps and using the right materials, it’s easy to refinish a cherry wood coffee table and give it a new lease of life. With a bit of elbow grease and attention to detail, you can transform any piece of furniture into something you can be proud of.

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