How to Varathane a Table Step-by-Step

You'll usually need to finish a wood table with gloss to protect it from moisture and dirt. You don't always have to stain it first, though in most cases, staining is necessary to bring out the best grain patterns of the wood. Varathane is a brand of refinishing products that includes both the stain and gloss. Choose your stain shade based on the natural tint of the wood -- light golden stain for light oak, for example, or a deep red stain for cherry wood.

Sand the table surface with a vibrating sander loaded with heavy sandpaper. Get it down to bare wood, completely removing the old finish. Brush off the dust.

Repeat, sanding it a second time with medium sandpaper take up any residual finish and get it smoother. Sand a third time with the fine sandpaper to get it completely clean and smooth. Brush off the surface.

Apply stain over the table surface using a paintbrush. Brush the stain on thickly, let it absorb into the wood for one minute and wipe up the excess with rags. Let the stain dry overnight.

Apply Varathane polyurethane in a thin, light coat using a paintbrush. Cover the whole table. Let it dry for six hours.

Lightly sand the Varathane by hand using extra-fine sandpaper so the next layer will adhere. Wipe up the dust with rags.

Brush on a second coat of Varathane in the same way as the first. Let it dry for six hours. Apply a third layer and let it dry for 24 hours.

Things You Will Need

  • Tarps
  • Vibrating sander with heavy, medium and fine sandpaper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Varathane brand wood stain
  • Rags
  • Varathane polyurethane
  • Extra-fine sandpaper


  • If the table is new and has never been stained or glossed, follow the same procedure but skip the first sanding with rough paper -- start with the second sanding with medium paper.