Like many people my family lives on a limited budget. This means that the remodel of our house with the Barn Wood Builders has made us stretch every penny that we have extra every month as far as it will go. So when I wanted a different coffee table for the “NEW” room I had to think out of the box on how to get some thing we could afford. At first we started looking at new coffee tables…. then sticker shock set in. We had to try to find some thing used as I just could not see paying 300 to 450 dollars for wood coffee table.
So after a couple of weekends we ended up at a local antique/ new furniture store that sells just about everything. On the top floor of the store, in a back corner, under another table, hidden away because it was so ugly, Tom found a table. It turned out that the table was a very used late 1960 to 1970 sold wood coffee table, with a leather stamped top. It was ugly and burnt and dog chewed and he loved it. So for the very reasonable price Tom said this was the “one” and we packed the ugly thing into my little Chevy.
The finish had chips, the top had burns from cigarettes and one leg was dog chewed, leaving the finish a different color then the rest. I was not sure what we would do with the table but my first thought was to tile the top with some of our left over tile and just stain or paint the base and call it done. Well some times you get a surprise that you are happy with before you reach the end of a project.
I first applied a stripper to the table and waited the recommended ten minutes and began to remove all the old finish. It took two complete coast of stripper to get all the finish off and I washed the table off with a garden hose. Then I removed the leather top. The top was real leather that had an embossed gold leaf printed into the edges. I found a loose corner and began to pull and pry the leather away from the wood top below as carefully as I could. I did not want to damage the tables wooden top just in case I needed it later. This is what was left when I finished removing all the finish
As you can see in the photo the glue still remained in some places and would not come off with stripper… I tried and it was not going come off that way. I also really got a good look at the wood and the color of the table. To my surprise the back had a light-colored strip of wood and one leg was almost white after stripping.
So I let the table dry for a couple of days and started to sand the remaining finish off the table and it was looking pretty good but I really had no idea what was under the glued covered top until the sanding started. I sanded the top with a 220 grit paper on my orbital sander and the beautiful grain slowly appeared. This was not just a fill in top made from some second-rate wood. I was so happy to see the table top was the same wood as the rest of the table. It was the same color and would take stain the same way. This changed all of my ideas for the top. I sanded the entire table again with 400 grit paper and made the choice to finish the whole table the same way.
After a couple of days I stained the table with two coats of stain… the first being a stain called Gun Stock that should have been a nice darker maple stain. but turned our table orange. It looked funny and I was very unhappy with the first coat. This is what the Gun Stock stain looked like.
So after a day of dry time I added a coat of Cherry stain to darken the wood and bring out more of the contrast of the gain of the wood. This was a good combination and we both loved it. Not to dark but not orange.
I finished the table with a wax rubbed on finish and we are still debating if we want to add a glass top to protect all of my hard work. I may need to get my coasters out for now just so I don’t mess up the finish. As you can see the old table that we spent less the 100 dollars for with stripper and stain is a real bargain over the 400 dollar table I feel in love with at the furniture store.
I really enjoyed this part of my summer projects it reminded me that we can recycle, reuse most well made furniture. It makes me smile when I look at the difference I have made and that my home has a personal touch of my handy work. I laugh when I know that if this table was back in the store it would not be hidden way in the back with the discards, but would be up front with a price tag that would be double what I have in it. Some times thinking out side the box is so much more fun then just buying new!