Monday, January 18, 2016

Old table new

Last summer I stopped at a garage sale down the street and bought a couple of chairs and a little wooden table to use on my roof deck.  I spent $20 for the three items, and I figured that I'd sell them myself or take them to Goodwill once I'd replaced them with "real" furniture.

I now have "real" furniture for the roof and the old chairs are long gone.  But I held on to the table.  Turns out, it's an unusual little table with interesting lines -- and the size is perfect for my second-floor living area.  

Which means I regret having abandoned it to the elements for the past year...

But rather than throw it out and find some new replacement (which will likely be expensive or soulless, possibly both), I decided to refinish it.  I mean, I refinished the end tables that I got at the Chelsea Flea Market -- surely I could do this!

And so I did.

I walked down to my neighborhood paint store and got them to identify the wood (mahogany) and suggest a few stain colors (I went with "pecan").

The downside of testing colors right on the surface is that you then have to wash as much of them off as you can using paint thinner, and then sand down the surface until the remaining color is gone.  But given how weatherworn the table was, it needed a good sanding anyway to prepare it to receive the color.

Having learned from experience that sanding tables in the living room is not a smart idea,
I took my project to the back deck and hoped the rain would hold off long enough for me to finish.
It didn't.
The sanding, by itself, did wonders for the little table.  Already the wood looked warmer and more even.  Then I broke out the stain and started rubbing it on.

Stain is so much easier to apply than paint!  Just rub it on.  Let it soak in for a minute, then rub off the excess.

The grate was a perfect solution for holding the legs -- I just stuck the screws at the top
into the cracks and let them support themselves in the air.
But freshly-stained, not-yet-sealed mahogany is not something you want to leave on your porch in Seattle in January.  The pouring rain threatened to undo my handiwork, so I brought it all inside for the night.

Next morning, the stain had dried and it was time to apply the tung oil finish.  This treatment would seal the wood and make it more-or-less waterproof (depending on how many coats I had the patience to apply; answer: two).

I pretended that the ventilator in the range hood would prevent me from losing too many brain cells while breathing the fumes.

After two coats of tung oil and a few more hours to dry, I reassembled my table and stepped back:  voila!

Looked good to me!  The little table still had its flaws and character, but the new stain and finish brought out the richness of the wood, and nicely emphasized the detailing on the leg joints.  Now it looks better than ever in my little reading corner.

I hadn't bothered getting a nice pot for that plant because I was convinced I would kill it.
Seems to be tougher than I thought, so maybe it's time to look for a pot.

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