Estate Sale Table Revealed

August 16, 2013

Today I'm finally revealing the table that I refurbished from an estate sale.  So, without delay, here it is!

In case you've forgotten, here is how the table started.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, there was a lot of trial and error and experimenting in this transformation.

Here's what I did:

I began by chipping off the veneer that was too damaged to save, like on the scroll cut area in the front.  Underneath was wood, so I wasn't worried about taking the veneer off.  I used a putty knife to pry underneath the chunks of veneer.  This was probably the easiest part of the job.

Then I sanded the top.  Well, I tried to sand the top, but I wasn't really getting anywhere.  So, I tried to use some paint stripper, but oddly enough, that didn't work either.  I finally opted for using my putty knife to scrape the finish off.  I'm not kidding.  While I know this isn't what they mean, my table really does have a hand scraped wood finish.  The top already had some nicks in it, so I wasn't too worried about using the metal tool gently on the top, but I wouldn't recommend this on a priceless antique you're trying to save.

Using some clamps and wood glue, I attached all the pieces  of veneer that I didn't remove back together with the wood.

Another trial and error process involved ironing the veneer back on the top.  I had read previously that something like this could be done, but didn't totally believe it.  What could it hurt, though?  I just ran the iron over the raised portion and heated it until the veneer was pushed back down.  There is still a slightly raised portion, but nothing that affects the actual use or visual aesthetic of the table.

I've never finished a piece of furniture like this before, but I decided to try staining the top and painting the bottom.  The top had been sanded and didn't look bad, but wasn't in a condition to just seal it.  I put a coat of stain on the tabletop, and while I liked the color, the finish seemed a little splotchy.  So, I got my sand paper back out, sanded the finish off, and stained it again.  Much better (or so I thought...keep reading)

I'm impatient and couldn't wait until I went shopping to get the green paint I wanted, so I turned a bottle of acrylic craft paint into chalk paint.  It worked perfectly and I got the color I wanted....light avocado.

I rubbed wax over the edges of the table before I painted it with two coats of the paint.  Then I sanded the edges where I had added the wax to remove the paint, sealed it with a clear varnish, and stained the piece with an antiquing glaze.

I also used the clear varnish on the top, and in random places the varnish left a white glaze on the finish.  I rushed to get a damp rag to wipe away the varnish, which normally works, but this time it made the problem worse.  Unfortunately, I had to sand off the finish for a third time and this time, the more I sanded, the more it seemed like I needed to sand.  Obviously the previous owners of this table were looking down on me and NOT liking the stained top!  After resanding for about an hour, I was finally down to the bare wood surface and decided to just seal the wood as it was and not stain it.  I actually like it much better this way (I just didn't enjoy the process of getting it to this state!).

Doesn't that wood top look great?!?!?!

So that is my multi-step experiment in refurbishing a table.  Although I can't say I thoroughly enjoyed all the steps of this process, I couldn't love the finished product any more than I do.  It turned out just like I wanted and I learned some interesting DIY tips along the way!

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