Kitchen table top replacement

Laura and I bought a table when we were first married that has served us well over the years.  We found it for $99 in the “as-is” area of a local furniture store.  The only defect was some slight bubbling in the wood veneer top.  This bubbling over the years increased and collected all kinds of junk.  We tried repairing it by adding wood glue and some pressure, but eventually Laura just decided to peel it off and see if we could repair the veneer.  Unfortunately it was impossible to get a clean edge, so replacing just the damaged strip was not a viable option.

Tabletop with veneer peeled off
Tabletop with veneer peeled off

Instead, we decided to just try to replace the entire top. For about $50, we were able to buy all the necessary supplies. The table measured about 5′ x 3′, so a single 4′ x 8′ sheet of finished 1/4″ plywood was cut down at the local Home Depot.   Here is what we needed:

  • 4′ x 8′ 1/4″ birch finished plywood, cut to 3′ x 5′
  • One small jar of stain with polyurethane
  • One tube of industrial strength construction adhesive
  • One small jar of wood pre-stain conditioner
  • One small jar of Zar wood patch
  • Fine grit sandpaper (220)
  • Heavy grit sandpaper (40-60 grit)

We already had a brush, some fine steel wool, and a caulk gun.  First, we glued the plywood on the top of the table, using the entire tube of adhesive.

One tube of glue was used for the top
One tube of glue was used for the top

The top was then secured with a few clamps and some weight, and left to cure overnight.

The top was clamped and left to cure
The top was clamped and left to cure

After the top was secured, some heavy duty sanding of the sides and corners was done to make the top flush with the old top and sides.  The wood filler was mixed with a bit of the stain and applied to any gaps in the plywood and the gap between the new and old tops.

The corner before sanding
The corner before sanding
Sanding with rough grit sandpaper
Sanding with rough grit sandpaper
The corner after sanding
The corner after sanding and wood filler was applied

After sanding with the fine grit sandpaper, the top was conditioned with wood conditioner and two coats of the stain and polyurethane.  In between coats, it was buffed with fine steel wool.

After one coat of stain
After one coat of stain
In the middle of the second coat
In the middle of the second coat

And here’s the final product in our dining area.

In the house
In the house

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