Monday, November 19, 2012

A Little Table Talk

One of my fall goals was to re-finish our dining room table.  I've wanted to do it ever since we got the table ... oh ... about twenty years ago.  Finally the stars lined up and we had no children living at home for a few months and I just decided to do it.  

I do enjoy using this table as it is likely over 100 years old and belonged to my great-grandparents. Now I know a few of you have mentioned that you didn't think I should paint the table as it is a family heirloom, but the table was not in very good shape and every single leg had a long crack in it.  By painting the base I was able to just fill the crack, sand, and paint it.  Rest assured though, I did refinish the top and put three coats of a stain-varnish on it to protect it.  

So let's have a look at how it all went down.  

Here's the before - always a good place to start.  From a distance our table didn't look too bad, especially when covered up with a tablecloth.

However, when you got up close and personal the table really showed its age as you can see by the crack on this leg.  

So I painted the base and things were improving, but the table surface was still very worn.

As you can see here

and here.  

So I got out the sander and worked some magic on it. I used the Dremel to sand the edges. When I was finished I went over the whole table surface with a block sander by hand and it made a huge difference in giving it that glassy smooth finish.

I want you all to picture the dust.  Yep it was bad! It took me three days to sand the table top completely and then I had to spend a couple of hours cleaning every. last. surface. It was too cold outside to work in the backyard or garage so I just did it in the dining room and we survived.

I used this stain and varnish combo made by Circa 1850 on the table surface.

I wiped it on in a circular motion and then immediately wiped it off with another cloth in the direction of the grain.

So now the table was looking pretty good, but there was still one thing that really bothered me - the sag in the middle of the table. In the two photos below you can see that the tabletop is not level and that there is a gap in the apron between the two sections. 

After some contemplation and discussion the easiest and best solution was to use clamps on either side of the table underneath to hold the two parts of the table together.  You can't see them or feel them unless you actually go under the table.  That way we can just release them when we want to put leaves in the table for when the whole family is over and yes, the table will sag then, but that isn't very often and we can live with that.

See how close the two halves are?  Not perfect  but definitely good enough to make me happy. Brilliant, eh?

And here is the finished table in all its glory.

I had the table set with our glass pumpkin in the middle when my mother brought some flowers over from a wedding she performed.  Did I ever tell you my mother is a minister (retired now)?  She says this wedding was her last one, but who knows.  The flowers looked lovely so I took some more photos with the bouquet in the middle of the table.

And a final before and after.

I love the change.  Now we just need to get some chairs (and thanks for all your input on which IKEA chairs would look best - we are going with #2, if they feel comfortable that is).
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Linked to Tutorials & Tips Party at Home Stories A to Z,
WOW Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style,
Uncommonly Yours Link Party at Uncommon Designs,
Flaunt it Friday at Chic on a Shoestring,
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage


  1. Oh I love the transformation and how wonderful that it has such history! Good work! A-M xx

  2. What a wonderful job you did. I like it so much better now. And I love your kitchen/dining room set up.

  3. I am not always a fan of painted furniture, but in this case I think it had definitely added to the piece,and given it a great new look.
    I can empathise with the sanding mess, as husband is currently cutting ceramic tiles indoors!

  4. This turned out so great! I love the choice of the gray legs and stained top. You will now have many years to enjoy the table. Can't wait to see the chairs.

  5. WOW what a lot of work Sylvia! It looks fantastic, congratulations!

  6. What a fabulous makeover, there seems to be no need to buy new furniture these days when you can turn an old item into something as lovely as this...I hope you wore a mask so you didn't breathe in all that dust.

    I hopped over from Savvy Southern Style.


  7. What a great makeover! I love this upcycle - I did a similar table at the link below!
    Please do feel free to pop over and look. I found your blog through the link party and the similarity of our table shape really struck me!! Thanks, J9 x

  8. Love the stained top & painted legs! What a lot of work but worth it in the end, beautiful job!

  9. Your table looks so beautiful!! I recently finished a table indoors too. It was ALOT of work (and mess) but SO worth it in the end! Yours is just gorgeoous!!

  10. Love this!!!! I'm considering painting my table, but it looks like sooooo much work!