DIY – the kitchen table

Well, its finally done!!! The new/old table that I’ve been making over is finished! It only took about five weeks from the day I got it. Really. It would have been done sooner if I could have worked on it more solidly. As it was, it went from this:

to this:

Not bad eh?

Ok. So here’s the story. I’ve always dreamed of having a country kitchen. Our kitchen here is melamine heaven (ugh) and not really big enough for the big pine table I dreamed of. So I make do till I can afford to do the kitchen up. Up till now I’ve had my 60s kitchen table (and chairs as you can see above) in the kitchen and that worked fine. But I still wanted that timber table. I figure the rest of the kitchen will catch up one day soon…

As you know, I’m a tip shop/op shop addict. And on one of my trips I saw this table and thought ‘hey… I can do something with that!’

It had a horrible, broken top, a wonky leg and nails all over the sides.

All I saw was that it was solid tassie oak and I was going to replace the top anyway. I had plans to use the offcuts from enclosing the mud room to create a new top, but then I looked around me and found this:

And old shed door. Too small to use as a front door but still… I thought it’d come in useful one day. šŸ™‚

I put it on top of the table and thought ‘eureka!’. I had my new table top.

I started by removing the bracing at the back of the door and the very old, very rusty hinges. I quickly found out that the slats were in pretty bad shape. I had to pull them apart, clean them up and re-glue them together. They still weren’t all that solid.

I sanded off the paint. I wanted to use the front of the door with the grooves between the slats. The slats were bent and uneven due to years of exposure to the elements. I had to sand a LOT to get the door more or less smooth and even.

Then I started work on the table. I turned it upside down and found it had a clever little ‘hold the top on’ system which I saved and re-used when I finished.

It had a nice solid oak frame which had originally held plywood covered with some kind of laminate which was long gone, only the glue remaining. I had to beat that out with a crowbar.

In the end I was left with the solid table top frame and the table legs.

I worked on straightening up the wonky leg and sanding back the peeling paint off the legs. I wasn’t too fussy about getting it perfect. I’m after a country look after all. Worn and loved, not pristine.

Next came attaching the top frame to the legs with glue and nails, then the new top onto that.

And sanding.

Lots of sanding.

I got to use the new belt sander for the first time. That sucker sure can pull. Almost pulled me over the table top first time I turned it on.

Ā Eventually, I got to where I thought I was finished. Then I sanded some more.

The table was only about 19-20mm wide with ragged edges. Even after I cut the worst of them off with my circular saw I still needed to edge it to make it look neat. Plus make it look thicker. Nothing like a nice thick table, right?

I got some pine strips as edging. They were 40mm wide. Great, but too much overhang underneath. I didn’t want to risk anything catching onto the edge and pulling it off. So I had to cut down some strips of timber to put behind as extra support for the edging.

Sorry, no photos of that. It was dodgey looking.

Once the edging was on I had to sand it again cause my joins left a bit to be desired.

I learned to work with furniture from a guy who makes rustic pieces. I basically learned to sand using a grinder … need I say more?

I used some clear silicone stuff to fill the big holes. Big mistake. Sure, it worked on the holes, but that stuff was horrible. I tried to fill the gaps with it (cause who wants to lose crumbs in cracks in the table?) and I got it all over the surface of the table. I got my fingers covered in it for one thing, but I couldn’t remove it. And when I went to sand it off it only made a kind of greasy smear. Yuck.

Note the clever trick I picked up from a friend: use a balloon stretched over the tip to keep the silicone from drying out.

I had to find a way to get the smeared silicone off, or at least minimise the mess… so I rubbed some burnt umber artists acrylic onto the table around the cracks where the smears were. I like it. I love burnt umber. I use it to give my ‘distressed’ items a more distressed look.

Then I looked at the table top, before applying polyurethane, and thought ‘Hmmm. It needs something.’

I found a graphic I liked on the Graphics Fairy website, printed it out but couldn’t blow it up to the size I wanted to tranfer it onto the table. I had to do it freehand.

I ruled up lines, then drew the letters on with a pencil. I then used a brown marker to draw on the type. I ain’t a signwriter. It came out ok, but not quite as authentic as I would have liked.

So I attacked it with the sander, rubbing it down, making it look like it had worn off. I probably went overboard with the rubbing, and perhaps the black marker would have looked better, but when I tested it on a scrap bit of timber the brown sanded better than the black.

Finally it was time to paint and lacquer the table. I sat the table up on some tap bits (like the skirts you put under tap fittings) so that I could paint the legs all the way to the bottom without having to worry about then sticking to newspaper (a tip off Pinterest)

I tried another tip I got off Pinterest: the elastic band to stop drips. HaveĀ  I mentioned how much I love that site?

I had to do three coats of polyurethane, sanding lightly with 240 grit paper between coats (cause thats what the instructions said). I gave the legs 2 coats of a creamy white paint I mixed up using some leftover cream and a bit of Antique White USA. Once it was dry I gave the legs a light sand to show a bit of wear, then moved it into the kitchen!!!

Next project… the chairs!


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