Table Restoration:: Part 1


It has been a while since I posted any updates to the house project so you will have to excuse the fall photos in a February post.

There really was no restoration plan when we picked them up; we knew they matched what we were looking for and the price was unbelievable.  I knew that there was structural damage to one of the tables (not sure how bad), random cosmetic damages, chips, cracks to all 3 and the drawers were warped and damaged.  I wasn’t sure if we could salvage the finish or if we would have to strip them down and start over.

Upon closer inspection, as they sat awkwardly in the corner of the study, we discovered that in several areas the finish was gone and raw wood was showing. That pretty much solidified the plan, we were stripping them to bare wood and starting over…

The photo below is of the pieces in the back yard on a tarp with the first coat of stripper.


This was our first experience with using stripper, it was exciting and terrifying all at once…

After several coats of stripper we did some disassembly to the pieces and switched to sanders. This photo is out of order, but it was the only one we could find showing what we took apart.


We started with 120 grit sandpaper on the random orbit sander to get the rest of the finish off and to take off material from the tops to deal with some relatively deep scratches. After everything was sanded we switched to 220 to get rid of the scratches left from the 120 grit.  Finally we sanded everything with 320 in anticipation of staining.  This process also gave us an excuse to fill a bunch of knot holes and random dings in the surface.


For the table tops we used router with a new profile to clean up the edges a bit.  You will also see that we have now moved to the workshop, the original plan was to have them ready by Christmas, but allas we couldn’t meet that deadline and the basement is warmer than the garage…


The Coffee table had a leaf pattern lightly engraved on the side.  I wasn’t crazy about the design because it looked relatively cheap and took away from the overall clean line Queen Anne look of the piece.  Cleaning it up wasn’t any easier and some of the wood began to break off as we cleaned it.  The solution was to get a new piece to cover it, something a bit more decorative.  We found these Cherry Foster Centers online for cheap and they just about covered the old design.


The only problem was that the new pieces didn’t quite cover the old outlines.  Nothing a little filler couldn’t solve.


After staining, and the fact that top of the coffee table hangs over the details none of the filler will be noticeable.

Everything sanded and ready for staining.


Next post we will cover the staining.

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