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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have bought a Pre 1960's brunswick pool table. The owner before me decided that it would look good in maroon (Texas A&M fan). I am trying to restore the table for my game room and need some help.

I have stripped the paint and have it down to the veneer. No what?? I want to go with neutral colors like tans and browns. Also, I was planning on using a lacquer finish to achieve the high gloss look. So here are my questions.

How do I color it? Stain, paint, tinted lacquer?

I know I have to seal it before I put the top coat on, what is best and when in the process do I do this.

What type of gun works best for lacquer. I do a lot of painting/staining but I need a really tough finish on this so it doesnt chip. Any help is much appreicated.
 

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Too Short? Cut it Again!
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First you should decide whether you want to stain it or paint it. If you were able to get the paint off and the veneer looks good I would stain it.

If you stain it, I would use a polyurethane for your finish coats.

If you paint it, I would think about using an oil-based patio, porch and floor paint. Benjamin Moore's leaves a nice gloss finish and has urethane reinforcement. If you cannot get solvent products the acrylic version has an epoxy reinforcement.

You could also paint with semi-gloss and apply polycrylic type clear coats. Old-timers actually taught me to add polycrylic to the paint. It seemed to work but I am not sure this is strictly kosher.
 

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sdsester is right. .. if you chose to stain, clear coat with a floor grade polyurethane. no lacquer will dry hard enough for you. You could use a conversion varnish which is like a lacquer in that it dries crazy fast and shiny, but it is in fact xylene based. Extremely durable though. Look into Bona acrylic finishing systems. I actually refinished a pool table for a buddy last year. It was a pool table owned by tommy mattola and mariah carey when they lived in aspen. . . after they split up they basically abandoned it in a storage unit. I rarely get a chance to name drop things. . . .thought i would do it while hiding behind my computer screen. lol
 

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Don't tell but I have sometimes handed projects like these over to my local autobody folks once the stain is dry or if I know what paint I want. They layer on primer, paint and clear coats that shine like the top of the Chrysler building. And they are set-up already for spraying it all.

That said. I forgot to mention that if there is any chance you are going to allow people to set beverages on the finish you should aim for something water ring and beer, wine and cocktail resistant like a bar finish. This may put you into two part epoxy country though! A bar or restaurant table/bar finishing company is who I would chat with first I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
sdsester is right. .. if you chose to stain, clear coat with a floor grade polyurethane. no lacquer will dry hard enough for you. You could use a conversion varnish which is like a lacquer in that it dries crazy fast and shiny, but it is in fact xylene based. Extremely durable though. Look into Bona acrylic finishing systems. I actually refinished a pool table for a buddy last year. It was a pool table owned by tommy mattola and mariah carey when they lived in aspen. . . after they split up they basically abandoned it in a storage unit. I rarely get a chance to name drop things. . . .thought i would do it while hiding behind my computer screen. lol
All good :thumbsup:
I thought polyurethane would yellow?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Don't tell but I have sometimes handed projects like these over to my local autobody folks once the stain is dry or if I know what paint I want. They layer on primer, paint and clear coats that shine like the top of the Chrysler building. And they are set-up already for spraying it all.

That said. I forgot to mention that if there is any chance you are going to allow people to set beverages on the finish you should aim for something water ring and beer, wine and cocktail resistant like a bar finish. This may put you into two part epoxy country though! A bar or restaurant table/bar finishing company is who I would chat with first I think.
I am not refinishing the rail tops, only the legs and the skirt. The rail tops would be almost impossible for me to do as they already have a thick coating over a very thin veneer. They dont have to match since they are rosewood and very nicely grained. The bottom is painted and is my concern
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Also, I have thought about an autobody paint job as you mentioned. I think it would require too many coats and therefore be expensive. Automotive clearcoat would be the nutz though.
 

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All good :thumbsup:
I thought polyurethane would yellow?
It will...but so will most lacquers...and conventional alkyd varnish...and conversion varnish...and catalyzed lacquer...and shellac. If you're stripping the finish back to bare, I'm curious as to why that's an issue, though. A finish that tends to yellow, to some degree, resembles a wood's natural patina - which adds an element of depth and luxury to the wood.

The yellowing / non-yellowing issue is obviously a matter of personal preference, but if non-yellowing is what you want, then you're kinda limited to acrylic finishes such as acrylic polys or CAB lacquers - both of which would be fine for your application, but both has their own application quirks. Acrylic polys generally are not recommended for spray (although many have with OK results), and brushing may not give you the finish you want. CAB's are designed for spray, but CAB's can be a tricky app when compared to more conventional lacquers...

For the skirt and legs, conversion varnishes and catalyzed lacquers are way overkill...so is automotive finishes. If you want the durability of poly, but the application and appearance of a spray lacquer, consider using a pre-cat lacquer. Some brands contain little or no nitro-cellulose, so they are non-yellowing - or at least "yellowing resistant" (non photochemically reactive), they spray beautifully, don't require a sealer (unless you're applying in a high moisture area), and they dry and cure very quickly. Good luck - let us know what you decide and send pics when finished.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey rick, great post and good info. I am leaning toward painting for two reasons. one, it was originally painted when it was made 50+ years ago and two, I think it will look better when complete.

I went by a furniture refinishing shop here in town and spoke with the owners who were a great help. They told me that on items such as mine, they put a sanding sealer over the wood to keep the paint from soaking in, making a smoother finish and making it easier to redo if you want to change colors. Does this sound about right?

Also, if I am going to spray it, what inexpensive spray gun would anyone recommend? I am not trying to be cheap, just practical. This may be the only time I use it.
 
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