I had the opportunity to refinish a double wooden mahogany vanity top that showed signs of wear in the finish. The urethane was lifting and some mold had started to find its way into the wood. (See the image below with the light brown stains).
Make it new
The home owner wanted me to make it like new, I was thinking I can make it better but, like new, I am not so sure that is going to happen. She also didn’t want me to use any chemicals to remove the old finish.
So I got out my electric orbital sander and my 40 grit sandpaper and removed most of the flaky stuff. Once I could see that I was making progress and sections were now appearing which was more difficult to remove I didn’t want to continue sanding with the rough paper and put marks in the wood.
So I changed the sandpaper to an 80 grit and continued sanding concentrating mostly on the old urethane trying to avoid putting unnecessary scratches in the wood.
Most of the old surface gone
Once most of the old finish was gone I then had to hand sand and remove the old finish in the areas next to the walls and mirror.
After about an hour and a half most of the surface was urethane free and I then put a 150 grit sandpaper to prepare the top for repainting which took about 20 minutes. I was going to use some wood bleach to get rid of some of the dark stains but Beatrice said that she liked it the way it was, it now looked like a well preserved antique.
Cleaned the top
I vacuumed the top and wiped it with a cleaning solvent and let it dry. I then applied some Urethane to the top and then I let it dry for about an hour. I then sanded it again with 150 grit sand paper and then reapplied another coat of Urethane and the top came out better than I thought was possible. (See image on the left).
A vanity top with character
As you can see for a few hours worth of work and care refinishing can be better than replacing. In this case instead of spending a $1000 or more by replacing everything. For under $200 and less than a days worth of work the unfinished bathroom vanity now has a vanity top with character.