Well, it happened again. I decided to dive right into a project and I forgot to take some proper “before” photos. Ugh. Will I ever learn? My Mom found this table for me on Facebook Marketplace. Three cheers Mom! So the only “before” photo I have is the image that was shared via Facebook Marketplace.
Upon seeing it, I fell in love with the beautiful chunky carved legs. Just from the image, I knew it was old and a good quality piece of furniture. Although, it definitely needed some work.
For starters, the leaves had different wear patterns and finishes. One caster was missing and there was a lot of dirt built up on the table over the years. However, I could see it had potential.
Upon getting it home, the first thing I did was give it a good cleaning and then spent a couple of hours sanding it. Unfortunately, one of the drop leaves has a chunk of wood missing right near the folding seam of the table. In spite of this, I thought the table was still beautiful and worth the time and energy needed to give it a new life.
Here are some questions and answers about how and why I worked on the table.
1. Why didn’t you use a stripper to remove the old finish? Answer: Strippers are extremely toxic and you need to use them outside where ventilation is good. You also need to have the temperature be at least 60 degrees. Presently, the temperature outside is in the 20s. I could have used Citrustrip – which is safe to use indoors. However, it is extremely messy and leaves behind a gunky residue. I talk about stripping furniture in these blog posts here and here.
2. Why are you working in the garage? Answer: Well, it was 20 degrees outside which was too cold for me. Because I decided to sand down the table and not strip it that meant using an orbital sander. The orbital sander creates a lot of dust! This eliminated the possibility of sanding inside the house. So, the only other option remaining, was to work in the garage.
3. Did you sand down to the bare wood? Answer: Yes and no. The top of the table was sanded down completely so that all of the previous finish was removed. As far as the base of the table and legs, I simply scuff sanded because I knew I would paint it with milk paint. Milk paint works best when some of the former finish remains on the piece of furniture.
4. How did you get into the grooves of the carved legs? Answer: I folded my sand paper in half and hand sanded all the smaller and finer detailed areas of the table.
5. What did you use to clean the table with? Answer: Lysol in a bucket of warm water.
Lately, I have been drawn to the color green. Blame it on the long New York winters and the slow approach of spring. With that in mind, painting the base of the table using Miss Mustard Seed Milkpaint in the color boxwood seemed like a natural choice.
So, while this piece is not yet done, I wanted to share with you the transformation that has taken place thus far. (It still needs another coat of wax and I want to do some additional sanding on the top.)
The top will have a more uniform appearance after a final sanding.