Dining Table Makeover

9:00:00 AM

Last summer I walked in my front door and something was different. After a minute I realized that the wooden card table we had set up in our temporary Seattle apartment had been replaced by a wooden table with a black top. Turns out that Brett saw it on the side of the road with a free sign and decided it was perfect for us. It was more solid and stable than the normal table we used, so why not?
A Simple Table Makeover

Well now that we have moved to a long term home and had the space on the balcony to tackle this kind of multi-day project we have refinished our dining room table! It took a lot longer than we thought it would, but we are really happy with the result, especially when we consider that we had no idea what the wood looked like underneath the black paint.

The biggest pain with this project came from stripping the old paint and varnish off before we started sanding. Neither of us had done this before so when I bought some stripper I just sort of picked one. And it didn’t work well. We thought this was because we didn’t use enough and let it sit for a long time, so we bought some more and tried again. Sadly, this left us with a table covered in paint and varnish that was now gummy, but still not coming off. The third time we went to the store we got a brand that worked wonders! It was a thick gel that spread out and as it peeled away the layers it would turn white so it was a relief to see that it was working after the previous days’ failures. So if you ever need to strip something down to the wood, I highly recommend Citrus Strip.

By the time we got it sanded (using a friend’s power sander, because who wants to sand that whole thing by hand!?) we were happy with the wood we found underneath. It turns out that the top and legs were actually the same color and that the top, while pieced together with different scraps, was still sturdy and looked a little vintage, not trashy.

With the white cabinets, light walls, and lots of windows in our kitchen and dining area, I wanted the table to stay a lighter color so we just did one layer of a light stain before all the coats of sealant. Eight days after we first took the table apart we finally got to set it back up and we are happy with the result. We gambled on the free roadside table and now have something that should be able to last us for years as our family grows.

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  1. what an awesome find- and I love the way the final product looks! Ben and I had a nightmare with our table a few years ago (bought it on craigslist and then forgot to read the directions of the stain that said 'mix well before using' ..... at least we got it right the second time around :)