Antiques Booth · DIY

Matching Solid Wood Tables Get a Second Go

     Friends, it’s been a while since my last post and I can only blame my children’s insatiable need to eat, be bathed, and either be tucked in or woken up (selfish babies ;P) and this insane, humid, soggy, and ungodly hot weather. Which, I am sure sounds like an empty excuse, but truly, I painted several pieces of furniture this week and the first coats of primer and paint were fine, but the jump in temperature and humidity left the last coat of paint tacky to the touch for 4 full days!!! In any case, I’m back on track and have a few posts in the cache and I’m ready to share what I’ve been working on.

    I picked up these two matching end tables and, trust me y’all, they needed some LOVE. These tables were solid wood, but that wood had taken a royal beating in every possible way, additionally, they were antiques, but were cheap reproductions of higher quality pieces. What does that mean to me? That I’m going to invest some elbow grease, but it’s not worth a ton of time spinning my wheels on pieces that are not worth a sizable return once refinished. Like every other piece of furniture I touch, I began by scrubbing the layers of old wax, varnish, and pure filth off with a little denatured alcohol and a lot of the aforementioned elbow grease. I then sanded them heavily, using heavy grit sand paper, and proceeded to use finer and finer grit until rounding it out with an ultrfine grit by hand on every square inch of every surface of both tables. At this point, on other pieces, I can usually see the light at the end of the tunnel, I can usually run my hands over a freshly sanded piece of furniture and just SEE how it’s going to look when it’s done. This time around, there were tons of old drip marks, large gash marks, and dents from days-gone-by. Normally I would spend an hour filling dents and scratches, sanding, cleaning, sanding, cleaning…you get the idea, but as I mentioned earlier, since these are not going to be a huge return on my small investment, I wanted to just give them a little love and spruce them up. Some pieces are worth the investment and time it takes to either fully restore or refurbish them, and some are more…”fluff and paint” kind of furniture and these two tables were DEFINITELY the latter. This is what they looked like after their final sanding.

Not pretty…

I then began priming, and due to their rough shape, I knew that I wanted to give them two coats of primer. But if you look closely at the table on the right (below) you can see little drip marks tin the decorative groove on its top, both had this and it appears that someone just slapped on some varnish or poly or stain (who knows) and let it drip into the groove all willy-nilly like.

After trying, and failing, to sand the groove out by hand, I decided to get out my dremel and clean it out. Let me tell you, it worked brilliantly. 

After dremeling (/dremelING/ verb : The act of kicking a task in the teeth with a dremel.) the nasty gunk out of the groove, I used a 220 grit sponge block sander with an angled edge to get down into the groove and smooth it out. It wasn’t perfect but, again, no spinning wheels here, folks.

Then it was time to vacuum up the mess and degrease again with denatured alcohol. Once that was dry, I hit it with another coat of primer and let it dry for 24 hours. I then painted both tables with their first coat of a very light cream colored paint. Everything up until this point was just business-as-usual progress, but then there was a crazy shift in the weather and the heat, humidity, and rain set in. Coat number two took 4, that’s right, F O U R days to completely dry. On day number two, I started letting them cure in front of a fan and I’m sure it helped, but I’ve never had it take so long for paint to fully cure. 

     Here is the finished product, I think they came out great. Each table still has a few nicks and dings, but they traveled light years to get where they are and I am very pleased with them. They have loads of character and were definitely worth the work. Have you ever had to dremel the snot out of a piece of furniture? Tell me what you think! Be kind to each other, y’all.

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