Hello, ive just bought a solid old pine farmhouse table second hand. Its treated with wax at the moment. The top is over 2" thick. I want to sand the top to expose the bare wood and paint the legs a pale colour in a distressed chalky finish. Im wondering if its that simple? And the table will have to be stored in an unheated and not altogether damp free shed for 6 months or so. Can I carry on and then wrap it up for storage or will it warp when the protective wax is taken off? Sorry if this sounds dumb but im itching to start work and dont want to ruin it.
Hi. As the humidity changes wood changes shape in quite a complex way. At it's simplest the planks get wider as it gets damper, but they can also warp and twist. A well made bit of furniture is built in such a way as to minimise the effect of this, but nothing can stop it. It's for that reason that we don't recommend subjecting nice bits of furniture to widely varying humidity.
All of which is a long way of saying that if you like your table find a better place to store it!
How you finish it depends on its existing state. If it is an old antique then you will destroy the patina by sanding and refinishing it. Most people expect their antiques to look old, and that increases their monetary value accordingly. On the other hand if the table is basically a wreck then you can hardly make it worse whatever you do. The general rule of restoration is to use as light a touch as possible.
If you want to refinish it then sand the top, preferably with a random orbit sander (which is less vicious that a belt sander) starting with 80 grit and finishing on 180 or 240. Get ALL the dust of the top â€“ use a â€œtack ragâ€