Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Project table

I'm at my happiest when I have some home improvement project cooking. Unfortunately, my ambitions far exceed my skill set, so mostly I just ogle DIY blogs and obsessively pin project ideas on Pinterest. But every once in a while I come across a project that seems both doable and useful for us, like this one on restaining a wood tabletop. This is our kitchen table:

I bought it back in law school and it's traveled with me across the mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. It gets heavy use, for daily dining, of course, as well as daily gluing (gluing being a daily activity if you have kids of a certain age). The finish is pretty worn, and the light wood tone doesn't particularly jibe with the rest of the house. Eventually, I'd love to replace it with a huge, rustic farmhouse table like this:

But it's not a priority at the moment, so I just lived with our old table and didn't think much about it other than to be grateful for it when my kids broke out the aquamarine glitter glue -- until I saw that blog post and decided right then that I had to refinish our table.

While the pedestal itself is less graceful and a little more tree-trunkish, our table bears a slight resemblance to these Pottery Barn tables:

if you could picture the Pottery Barn tables with slightly different styling:

The table under than mess is my parents' kitchen table, which they kindly let us borrow while I work on our table - thanks mom & dad!

The table is solid oak and pretty well made, so between the Centsational Girl tutorial and the images of those PB tables, I was inspired to attempt to spruce it up.

After the initial setup, procuring our substitute table, etc. I dove right in with sanding. Home Depot didn't have the 80 grade sandpaper that Centsational Girl used to sand off her finish, so I used both 60 and 100. To my great relief, the finish is coming off pretty easily - I had nightmares of having to break out the chemical strippers (which some sources say you need to remove stain). That is some uber-nasty stuff that I really hoped to avoid. Thankfully, I think we can get the finish off without it.

Here's the tabletop, mostly sanded and free of the oak finish:

I started trying to sand the feet while they were attached to the pedestal, which was kind of awkward, so I decided to unscrew the feet:

Usually when we start taking things apart around here bad stuff happens, so I'm a little nervous, but at least for now, the sanding is going much more quickly. I totally LOVE the project so far -I see a kind of observable, immediate progress that just doesn't tend to come as easily in the non-sanding areas of life.

Sanding the tree trunk is going to be a bit of a challenge, as it has some rounded areas that our belt sander can't easily hit. That will probably require some hand sanding, which I am likely to find boring and hard -- which creates the danger that an upside down, footless table will take up my side of the garage for the foreseeable future. Hopefully I can keep my eyes on the prize, though, and forge ahead in the face of adversity.

1 comment:

Pamela said...

Well, I am impressed that you are doing this. Great job so far, I am sure it will be stunning. I love a round dinng table. Wish we had room for one