How to Fix Varnish on Table and Other Wooden Furniture

Wood Varnish and Its Functions

Varnish is a finishing material widely used for all-natural fibers, mainly wood. Varnish can be applied directly or added to other coating materials. Therefore, what are the functions of varnish?

  • Protection Function— Its protected property is also one of the simplest ways to fix varnish on a table. Especially in terms of helping wooden furniture be more durable, and protect it from the sun, insects, fungi, and even the wind.
  • Aesthetic Function— In terms of its aesthetic function, varnish gives beautiful lacquered furniture and even covers pre-existing cracks.

Benefits of Varnish in the Finishing Process of Wooden Table and Furniture

The use of varnish has several benefits when applied to wooden materials. In addition to its function, here are some common benefits of using varnish in general:

  • Protection from humidity.
  • Protection from UV rays.
  • Create a glossy effect.
  • Strengthen wood fibers.

Meanwhile, the benefits of varnish for finishing help protect your wooden furniture, especially dining tables, from heat, rain, wind, dirt, and termites. Every wooden piece of furniture has these problems.

Types of Wood Varnish Paint

Wood varnish paint is usually made from a combination of resin and a drying oil with a mixture of solvents (solvent- and water-based).

Solvent-based wood varnish uses thinner as a solvent. In comparison, water-based uses water as a solvent. 

A solvent-based wood varnish will produce a more glossy surface than the water-based type.

However, water-based wood varnish is recommended for furniture, mainly dining tables and kitchen furniture, since it won’t cause odor and is much safer than solvent-based wood varnish.

Causes of Damage How to Fix Varnish on Table

Wood is part of natural fibers with the characteristic of having large pores. The function of the pores is to absorb moisture.

Moisture and other external factors will cause a lot of damage to the wood. This is what happens if the wood is not evenly coated with varnish:

  • Weathered— wood is often exposed to weather changes, and air pressure will easily rot.
  • Changes color— for example, dark wood will likely fade in color.
  • Termites— these insects will only live in damp wood.
  • Fungus— the damage caused by a fungus usually sticks to the wood surface.

Therefore, it’s best to understand the causes of damage and how to fix the varnish on the table. Varnish is essential in forming a protective coating on the outside of the furniture.

Tips on How to Fix Varnish on Table

You can easily do your finishing using wood varnish on your table and other wooden furniture at home. Here are several useful tips to help you get started:

Tools and Materials Preparation

Gather your table or other furniture that you want to varnish. You will also need brushes, washcloths, sandpaper, containers, and face masks.


The sandpaper will be key to your final finishing result. Later on, you will need to maximize the smoothing of the wood by using sandpaper, starting from coarse to fine.

Cleaning the Wood Surface

Clean the polished wood surface. It must be thoroughly cleaned until no dust or dirt remains from the sandpaper.

Choose a Place to do Finishing

A good place for finishing is important to get better and smoother results. You need to find a bright and spacious area.

Applying the First Layer Using a Soft Brush

The application of first coat should use a soft brush. Ensure all corners and hidden wood parts are completely coated with varnish. Then, leave it out to dry.

Sand Again

When the wood surface has dried, sand it again using fine sandpaper. This removes the rough surface caused by the remaining dirt and the first layer’s uneven application. 

Common Issues When Using a Varnish Brush the Wrong Way

A good brushing technique during the varnish process creates a smooth lacquer surface. However, some issues come with it once it dries.

Some issues are sometimes fixed by sanding and re-brushing, but some can’t be solved this way. Here are some of the issues in applying varnish the wrong way:

Brush Marks

To get an even finish, try to avoid any brush marks. Use a new brush instead. Don’t put too much pressure on the varnish when applying. Or else, use a brush wrapped in cotton cloth. This technique will avoid brush marks.


Sagging usually appears in the form of water droplets and interferes with the surface of the wood. Try not to dip the brush too deep into the varnish solution. Then, start brushing in one stroke over the entire wood surface.

Uneven paint

Uneven paint usually occurs when the varnish being used doesn’t dissolve completely. When choosing a water-based varnish, it’s best to use a brush with soft nylon bristles.

How to Fix Varnish on Table with this Common Finishing

No wood varnish is specifically made for a dining table. In terms of how to fix varnish on the table, here are the types of wood varnishes that are commonly used for dining tables:

Natural wood varnish

Natural wood varnish is made from natural ingredients, mainly from living trees or tree fossils.

Modified natural wood varnish

Modified natural wood varnish is mixed with special chemicals that are heated with glycerin to form a gum.

Synthetic material wood varnish

A synthetic varnish forms a glossy-like coating with chemicals to form a wood varnish. The application technique will also require adding thinner.

Water-based wood varnish

Water-based varnish is made by adding water and resin. However, you don’t need to add thinner as a solvent. 

How to Fix Varnish on Table After Finishing Treatment

Once you find which type of wood varnish you’ll be using, treatment is mandatory for a durable wooden dining table. Here’s how to fix the varnish on the table after finishing:

  • Clean the tabletop immediately after meals. Spilled cold or hot water will damage the lacquer surface quickly.
  • Even when using a heat-resistant varnish, you must keep it clean with a dry cotton cloth. Don’t rub or press the cloth until the liquid is completely absorbed.
  • Polish your table once a month with a safe wood polish material.


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