Before & After: Was Beth Successful in Removing this Painted “O”?

updated Mar 11, 2020
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(Image credit: reader Beth)

Has this “O” on Beth’s grandma’s coffee table been haunting you, too? If you missed it the first time: Beth wrote in for advice on this hand-me-down table from her grandmother which, unfortunately, passed through a cousin first who emblazoned it with an Ohio State “O” in seemingly indestructible paint. She was desperate for ideas to remove it. Readers encouraged her to sand, sand and then sand some more. Here’s what Beth did…

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Beth shares:

I took the advice to keep on sanding…and sanding…and sanding…

But knew that I’d probably wind up having to paint anyway, which was fine with me because I had an idea. I used blue painters tape (and a no-longer needed credit card to really seal the edges!) to cover the parts of the table that I wanted to keep wood-colored. I used Zinsser primer to help level out some of the “O” that was ingrained in the wood. I also removed and cleaned the hardware on the sides of the table so that I wouldn’t have to worry about taping them off.

After a light sanding with a low-grit block to even out the primed surfaces, I added a coat of glossy black. The name is a bit obscured with paint drips but I’m pretty sure it’s Rustoleum brand, Professional, High Performance Protective Enamel, Oil based.

This stuff covers REALLY well, so I only needed to do one coat. After letting it thoroughly dry (I’m talking days but it helped that I was working on this in my mom’s basement instead of my apartment where I certainly wouldn’t have had the patience to leave it alone that long) I removed the tape and revealed a nearly finished table!

I wanted to refinish the wood a little darker than the honey oak, so I used Minwax Dark Walnut Stain. It stained a bit unevenly because of the wear and tear on this (well-loved) table, but I blended it in and added more stain in the lighter areas.

After a few days, I brushed away any dust and/or dog hair that might have settled on the table and sealed it with some Minwax Polycrylic.

Then it was just a matter of re-attaching hardware, sticking some felt on the feet, and enjoying my beautiful new coffee table! I think my late grandma would be happy to know how much time and effort I put into it, and how happy I am with the final product. It’s great to have a piece with so much history that still fits my style!

Thanks for the follow-up, Beth!

  • See Beth’s original Good Question and read the comments: Tips for Removing Paint from Grandmother’s Wooden Coffee Table?
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