Ok, Ok, not all trash…
So one Wednesday afternoon my brother and I are driving home from the store and there on the curb is a dining room table with a leaf, one of the legs was broken and the top was ugly, but it was just what I had been looking for for so very long. I browse Pinterest all the time dreaming of farm tables, but knowing I wanted an elegant setting too. So much so I made him turn around and strap that bad boy to the roof of the car! I was working on a china cabinet, so in the barn it went. I like having my projects stack up a bit, because it lets me really work out a game plan for what I want.
The table we had in the dining room only seated six and had seen much better days. 7 puppies had teethed on the feet, my brother’s chain for his wallet had marred the bench, and a very poor attempt at refinishing it (not by me) had made it necessary for a table cloth to be on the table. Add to all of that, the table was just too small for the space. I knew what I wanted, and 8 foot table that would seat eight. My daughter has already claimed the table, so this one will get a makeover soon too.
Now because I was so determined, a few weeks before I had scored these beauties (eight of them) from a lady who was trying to reupholster them in leather and got frustrated and gave up. I got all eight chairs for a song! You can read about the transformation on these here.
Time to bring my vision to life!
So I had my chairs and finally had some bones to work with. Could I have built the table from scratch? Yes. But being the frugal soul I am, I just was having a hard time parting with the money, and honestly couldn’t afford it yet. Maybe one day I will. But this was my vision for now.
Perfectly timed, it just so happened to also be my birthday, so when my Dad asked me what I wanted, of course I said wood to finish my table. He didn’t understand, but that is like 95% of what I prattle on about anyway, so he let me lead him to Home Depot to make my selections. I knew I wanted a soft wood that would show age and defect well. This is not a lot of people’s preference, but I like what I like. I also knew I wanted the planks to be at least 8 inches wide across most of the table and 4 inches on the outside on each side. We loaded these on the cart and I went off to find my stain, I went with honey, because it is kind of middle of the road for me. Not too dark and not too light…just right.
I also grabbed 5 more cans of my Winter Gray paint by Rustoleum–the same color I used on my chairs, but I ended up only needing about 3, which was a nice surprise. Napkin rings in my future??? Maybe!
My Dad was probably so glad to drop me and my birthday present off because I was so excited and I am sure I drove him bonkers all the way home! I tend to talk a thing to death especially when I get on a roll. I know and embrace this part of myself…LOL.
Time to get to work!
So we got “Beastie”, which is what I lovingly referred to this poor, ugly table-top as, stretched out on the saw horses and I got to work. My brother and I went diving through my honey hole and found 4 table legs I pulled off of a table someone was throwing out, and because they were solid wood and in great shape I nabbed them. People said I was crazy, but I knew in my heart there was going to be a use for them. They fit perfectly! I went ahead and gave them a light sanding and got them cleaned up and primed.
Back to Beastie. She had veneer peeling everywhere, but I knew she was solid wood underneath the veneer. So I peeled off all the veneer. Initially it was very easy, but in places where it wasn’t lifting I just came back over with the heat gun and a putty knife and it lifted right off. I took some mineral spirits to it just to lift all the adhesive off, and then went over it with a damp rag and let it set overnight.
I should mention here, that the way Beastie became an always 8 ft table is because I made her leaf permanent. I did this by strapping it with three 2 x 4 boards the full length of the table using self-tapping wood screws to make sure I didn’t compromise the structure of the table itself. I also, of course, made sure the locks made for the leaf were secure. Trust me, that leaf isn’t going anywhere. Using the 2 x 4 probably wasn’t 100% necessary, but I have seen the leaf section of a table sometimes sag, and I didn’t want this happening to my Beastie.
Next, I started working on the new apron. I used just 1 x 4 boards for this. I built the new apron because I was laying the boards right across the top of the table and the existing apron was very short. I wanted that pretty paint to be seen under thewood table-top. After I got the apron secured with wood glue and my nail gun, being sure to check we were square and level everywhere, I primed that too. I only used one coat of primer because the apron was being spray painted and sealed and I wasn’t trying to block an old color. The primer, and two coats of paint took the rest of the day between drying times, so I had to let it set overnight again.
Next morning it was on to table-top I had been seeing in my dreams. I knew I wanted the table-top to be 8 ft or as close as I could get. The top of the table with the leaf still only measured 7 ft 8 inches. I was also worried about the overhang on the ends falling over time. So I attached a frame of 1 x 2 around the outside of the table. This worked perfectly, and you could still see the peek of paint from the apron. I stained the frame the same color as the table-top was going to be to make it blend so it wouldn’t look like so much of an after thought.
Finally, I cut all of my boards down by 2 inches, which left just enough overhang for me. I found the center of the table from both directions and drew a cross section lightly in pencil. Then I found the center of my first board and marked it as well. I also marked the center on each end of the table. I lined the mark on the board up with the center of the cross section and lined the board up on both ends of the table using wood glue and then securing with nails. I then just built the table out making sure each board was squared up and level. When I got to the last two I was really glad I had added the 1 x 2 frame, because I would have had dancing boards on the sides.
I filled all the nail holes in with wood filler and got to work sanding. I sanded with 120 grit first, then with 180 grit and finally 240 grit. I used my random orbital sander for this, which my brother just got me for my birthday….I know, I’m spoiled. After cleaning up all the saw dust, I used Minwax Wood Conditioner, brushing it on very thin. I did this so that my table-top would get a nice, smooth appearance when I stained it. Sometimes lighter woods will take stain differently in different sections, which is okay for a frame no one can really see, but not so okay for a table-top I wanted everyone to ooh and ahh at.
After letting the conditioner settle in, about 20 minutes, I started wiping on the stain. I went behind that with a clean, dry cloth. One coat was all she needed. I walked away for an hour and came back and started sealing with Minwax Wipe On Poly in a satin finish. I used 3 coats of this. I was going to do 5, but the wood was water tight after 3. You can always check this by splashing a few drops of water on the surface, if it beads up right away and doesn’t soak in, you are good.
I coated my now painted legs, and the apron in Minwax’s Polyacrylic, two coats each. I let everything cure up for another day. Then we brought Beastie into her new home. I am just in love with the finished product and I have people asking all the time when I am going to make them one. We haven’t sat at the table to eat every night in years, but now I am happy to say that we do.
So there you have it. I saved our landfill from more, well fill. I also got the table I had been dreaming of forever, and now I am one step closer to the house being furnished. Smiles all around! As you can see from the picture, we have a lot going on. New floors are down, I have my colors picked. Have a feature wall working. There is much more to come!
If you have any questions about my process or comments on the finished product, leave them below! Any of your own drab to fab dining table remixes? share those too!
Until next time,
Olde Made New