Refinishing an awesome Baker Table


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I recently went to give an estimate on buffing the top on a Baker formal dining room table and while I was at the house, the homeowner asked me to refinish their dinette. It was a Baker piece too. Baker makes some of the finest furniture in America. What really sets it apart from other manufacturers is the attention given to the finish. Fine furniture just has “that look”.

This table is highly distressed. It’s a light color. It also has a matching bench and chairs. Since it will be the centerpiece of the daily dining area, it will have to be refinished exactly the same way in order to match; a multi-layered finish with depth and lots of life. A bit of a challenge.

Since I have no reference for what the company used as materials, it is up to me to make the choice. So before I even begin to work on a project like this, I make a materials list and determine a gameplan for the process. I chose a Honey stain for the background, and a mixture of Ebony and Jacobean stain for the distressing (which will be applied mostly by a toothbrush). I chose to spray a vinyl sealer and a pre-catalyzed lacquer for the top coats since this is the most durable finish for a table that will be used daily. If you do not formulate a strategy like this before diving in to refinish something, you may not be satisfied with the end result.

The table Before

The table Before

Lots of distressing here

Lots of distressing here

Here is a close up of the surface. It has become soft and sticky. It looks terrible.

Here is a close up of the surface. It has become soft and sticky. It looks terrible.

The finish was thick, so I used a combination of gel stripper and lacquer thinner as a wash.

The finish was thick, so I used a combination of gel stripper and lacquer thinner as a wash.

After stripping the finish, most of the distressing is gone and needs to be replaced

After stripping the finish, most of the distressing is gone and needs to be replaced

Here is the first layer: Applying the Honey stain, and some minor distress. After this, I spray clear sealer and begin the process of adding more distress, and layers until I am happy enough to spray the lacquer.

Here is the first layer: Applying the Honey stain, and some minor distress. After this, I spray clear sealer and begin the process of adding more distress, and layers until I am happy enough to spray the lacquer.

 

Close up of additional layers of distressing (cow tailing, and fly specking)

Close up of additional layers of distressing (cow tailing, and fly specking)

Overall, it took me several hours to complete the process. The reason for doing 4 or 5 layers is that it gives you control during the process. By using an oil based stain on top of lacquer, you can wipe off the distress before it sets up permanently. This is because the oil and lacquer are chemically “not compatible”. It’s the sealer or lacquer that will lock the distress in when you are happy with it. I have always found it’s best to do a little at a time and keep adding distress until you are happy… if you do it all at once and add too much, you can’t take it off unless you start all over by stripping the piece again.

Once I have reassembled the table in the home, I will update the blog with the final photos.

 

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One thought on “Refinishing an awesome Baker Table

  1. BAKER has that beautiful rubbed finish it have repaired many tables the easiest way to achive the high end look is simple DAWN SOAP and 0000 steal wool just make sure you rub straight left to right. Then clean off the soap with windex.

    Like

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