I’m probably the only blogger in the history of blogging who writes about a table redo a few days before Thanksgiving! I know I should be writing about food or tablescapes or other things holiday related, but indulge me, ok?
I’ve talked about our small dining table before here and more recently, here where I mentioned the sanding of this table was turning out to be more work than I had anticipated. A little background:We purchased this table more than 8 years ago, shortly after buying the cabin. It was a steal at less than $400, including the chairs. We were able to get such a great deal because the store was going out of business. At just 48″, it was the perfect size for this small space, plus I liked the idea of having a round table. They just seem to work better for ease of conversation, don’t you agree?
Even at the time of purchase, there were scratches because it had been on the selling floor for who knows how long, but it was never a huge issue because the table has an overall rustic feel to begin with. But I must confess I’ve thought about painting it many times over the years. Not only is painting easier than refinishing, but I thought a nice coat of creamy white would help it to stand out a bit against the log walls. But a dark wood table is timeless, and I wanted to try my hand at staining and figured this would be a good opportunity.
Here’s a peak at some of the damage before…
…and here’s the ‘after’!
Here’s the low down on how I restored the top of this table in just a few days:
The first thing I did was gather all my supplies.
Here’s what I used: 1. stain 2. metal container (this is only needed if you’re mixing stains) 3. foam brushes 4. dust mask 5. sander 6. sandpaper in medium and fine grit 7. tack cloth 8. wood conditioner 9. latex gloves 10. sanding wedge (not shown-optional) 11. sticks for stirring/mixing the stain 12. satin poly or wax of choice (I used Minwax fast drying poly, not shown)
The only part of this table that was heavily damaged was the top. Thank goodness for that, because sanding the pedestal would be a difficult, tedious job due to all the nooks and crannies. I wanted to do a test run for the stain so I found a scratch on one of the chair bottoms to use for practice.
I already had the stains that I would need. Yup, I said stains. I needed to use not one, not two, but three stains to get the color I was going for. In this case it was 3 parts Ipswich Pine to 1 part each of Gunstock and Dark Walnut, all by Minwax.
I sanded it smooth using 80 grit sandpaper…
and here’s the color when I was finished.
If you scroll back up and look closely, the ‘before’ looks like it has more yellow in it than the ‘after’. This is completely due to the lighting at the time of taking the photos. The truth is, the table has a little bit of yellow, a little bit of brown and a little bit of reddish tones. That’s what made it so tricky to find the right stain combinations, but I wanted the end result to blend in more with the brown tones than the yellows, and I got exactly what I was looking for.
Once I had the right stain combinations, we removed the top from the base and I did the bulk of the sanding outdoors. (Thank goodness it was warm enough, or else I’d be getting rid of dust in my house for weeks!) This was by far the most time consuming part. In total, I think I spent about 4 hours sanding. I’m certain it had more to do with the sander that I was using and also what was apparently a build up of varnish on the table top. If I ever do an extensive sanding project again, I’m going to invest in a belt sander. I had wanted the table to have a uniform finish after sanding, but I quickly realized that was not going to be possible. The nature of this wood, which is pine, is rustic and somewhat uneven and that’s actually the appeal of it. So I gave up that fight and decided this is what I was going to work with.
After using the wood conditioner (an important step, especially if you’re working with a soft wood) I applied a coat of stain with a foam brush and let it sit for a few minutes and then wiped away the excess. When you’re working with raw wood, it tends to be pretty thirsty so most of the stain was absorbed. After the first coat was dry, I sanded using a fine grit sandpaper, wiped it clean with the tack cloth, and applied another coat. Now, after I applied this coat, I FORGOT TO WIPE AWAY THE EXCESS! What that resulted in was a sticky surface. I used some mineral spirits on an absorbent cloth and wiped the table with a fair amount of pressure and that did the trick. Crisis averted.
The side on the right is after one coat of stain and the side on the left is after two coats.
I applied three coats in total, and after the third coat of stain dried completely, I applied two coats of satin poly and here she is, good as new!
Now…I love the look of the table, but I still feel like the area needs some brightening up. The chairs have lots of interesting carvings and I’m thinking I should highlight those with paint. Or maybe paint the chairs a light color and distress the areas where the chairs have the carvings. I’ll live with it a while longer and see how I feel.
In other news…
It’s been another frustrating week dealing with the NY City Dept. of Health regarding the never ending saga of my BC. Here’s an excerpt from my latest email to an attorney at the Dept:
‘I have written to the Mayor’s office in NY, as well as a Consumer Advocacy group here in Massachusetts. If needed, I will also be contacting a local news station, and if none of these work, I will be forced to hire an attorney. I wish this wasn’t necessary, but I don’t see any other way around this bureaucracy.
Can we please put an end to this nonsense?’
I’m happy to say she emailed me back asking for additional information, so that’s encouraging. At least I hope so!!
I’m not sure I’ll get another post in this week, so let me take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!