Old new table

 - by Sarah Lipoff

I’m a total sucker for stuff on the side of the road. Just a couple of months ago, I found the perfect dresser to finish one of the last house projects I was working on. So, once that was tackled, I really wasn’t eyeing the corners or turning my head looking for random things.

But, once again, at the end of our street, just around the corner, there was something lurking. A peak of curved wood and some rustic texture caught me off guard and I had to pull over.

The problem was my new find was too big to toss in the back. Without shame, I jumped out of the car, yelled to the hubs to sit with the babe, popped the table on the top of my head and trekked it home.

Yes, a couple of my neighbors pointed and laughed, but I didn’t care.

Free table!

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

While we were out doing our Saturday morning errands, I was totally distracted while thinking about that table.

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

I’m no expert or anything, but I’ve learned a lot from watching my dad do fun stuff with wood and also from being at the far end of the school building while teaching art, which meant I was usually next to shop class. I’m comfortable using power tools and getting my hands dirty. And I knew that funky, dusty, dried out table was going to be perfect after a bit of love.

Instead of going the painting route, I decided that taking things down to the natural wood and layering on several coats of Minwax Satin Wipe-on Poly would be best. Sure, those colorful ideas were lurking in the back of my mind, but, I had a bit more of a reserved idea for this table. I recently purchased a desk to actually plop a computer on and needed a nice table for the corner to place a wonderfully distracting TV for when I needed a moment to zone out.

Once the table was situated in the yard, I used a medium grit sandpaper (80-120) to work off the really dry areas and any stains and marks while trying to preserve the details. I worked the top, the sides, legs, and base. Yes, this was messy, and there was tons of wood grit floating everywhere, which made working outdoors less of a mess – and less of an inhalation ick.

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

Then I used a nice, damp rag to dust and wipe away any remaining dust and wood bits and used a fine grit sandpaper (150-180) to finish off any areas still needing a bit of attention. Sure, I could’ve used the power sander while doing this, but I think when working on an item with any details, there’s potential for sanding everything fun away. Sanding can be a bit addicting, so with this project, I felt working by hand would ensure those unique details would remain intact.

Next I popped on some latex gloves and dug my wipe-on poly, and began pouring it on and then using a clean rag to carefully rub and smooth the shellac on the table. Using gloves guarantees your hands won’t smell like a gas station for the rest of the day. And that table was so dried out it sucked up almost the entire 16 ounce container! As soon as I finished with one coat, the top was dry and ready for more!

Now, if you want things to be super high gloss, by all means, keep pouring, rubbing, and layering (or use Gloss Poly) – but after about four rounds, I was pretty happy with how things were looking. The rustic wood was showing through, but there was a nice sheen to the table and no dry or rough spots. All that was left was a cute and clean table with a happy finish ready to be placed in the perfect spot.

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

And, I love it.

Leave a comment