Whipping a Table Into Shape

We’ve been spending a lot of time out of doors lately – what with nice spring weather and plenty of projects to do such as the gazebo, trimming up fruit trees and gardening. While we still have some more planting to do, we’ll wait until after Mother’s day before we get the tomatoes, basil, peppers and some flowers into the ground.

So with a little lull in the outdoor activity it’s time to get back to work on the dining room…I know it’s been a while, but you do remember this mood board don’t you?

Whitney already mentioned the cane-backed chairs and table we picked up from a yard sale last fall, you know, this one:

After sitting in our garage for a bit we finally got around to spiffing it up, but not without a good sanding. I honestly think that sanding furniture is one of the worst jobs out there – I loathe it. But like I tell my son, we do hard things because it’s worth it.

So begrudgingly I got to work sanding down the legs and backs of the chairs. Sure, I’m probably supposed to sand these gently, but I can be quite impatient when it comes to this sort of stuff, so I whipped out the palm sander and some 100 grit sand paper.

Six chairs came as part of the set, with two of them having arms. Actually, one had both it’s arms while the other one was missing one of them.

I thought for a while about how I’d repair it until it donned on me that if I were to remove the arms altogether, I could patch up the holes and have them match the other four.

So that’s what I did. After taking out a few strategically placed screws and some taps with the hammer, off they came. I added a bit of wood filler to the holes and waited for it to dry before sanding it down smooth.

With the pieces all sanded and ready to go, I applied a coat of white Zinsser primer before busting out our trusty Canyon Cloud paint we’ve used before. I completely recommend using a pneumatic spray painter to apply the paint, it makes such a difference when working with latex, helping to avoid unsightly brush strokes.

Our other trick is to use 400 grit sand paper both between coats of paint as well as before the final clear coat finish. You can’t even tell where the arms were taken off of the chairs either. Nice!

With the seats all sanded and painted, it was on to the table top for a thorough sanding to remove the finishing lacquer and a couple decades worth of scratches and dings.

We’ve learned through experience that table-top surfaces, when painted, don’t hold up to the daily abuse. So it seemed that the newly sanded raw wood shouted up at me begging for a stain, but not before we tried out a wood conditioner first.

While we tested out our samples of stain, just as we had done with the bathroom vanity, our first coat of didn’t have quite the look we were going for, so we followed it with a coat of dark walnut.

The walnut added the darkness we needed but we put our own spin on the final product by lightly brushing on some watered-down Canyon Cloud before sanding it back down – to help give it a lighter look (a true testament to our indecisiveness).

The result was a highlighted table top that complemented our wood floors without competing too much with the other pieces in the room. A final coat or two of polyurethane finished up phase one of our dining project.
We promise as we get closer to revealing this table in full, we’ll have better shots of what we’ve done…gotta keep suspense somehow!

So what’s left? Those nasty cushions are in major need of an overhaul. Whitney spotted some striped fabric she thinks will work great and we’ve already begun dismantling the seats so we can recover them.

We’re excited to introduce this table into the dining room, but there is still lots more work to be done before we’re ready, including finding a table for the kitchen nook once we finally get this one done. The idea is that we can sell the table that currently resides in the dining room to make way, and the money that comes from that sale will either help fund the project, or at least help us get a new table for the kitchen.

While we’re playing dominoes with the tables, we’d love to see what furniture pieces you’ve been working on lately. Can’t wait to get inspired on Friday’s RRR party – see you then!

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  1. Definitely worth the sanding effort! Love the shape and the cane backs and the white is fantastic! That dining room is gonna rock!

  2. Those chairs look 300 times better in white! I hate sanding too, definitely the down side to redoing furniture.

  3. Tease. I wanted to see the finished product. All theses little peeks are killing me. I have an idea in my head of what it SHOULD look like. Let’s see if you did it right :).

  4. It’s already looking awesome and I can’t wait to see the final product!! :-)

  5. I can’t wait! Chairs and table are looking great!

  6. This looks so good–I love wood conditioner, don’t you? My husban and I tried it out on some raw wood projects and on some projects with heavy damage, and we’re so glad we did! The stain takes so much better.

  7. Holy cow! i think we have the same sander, I go through those little sheets like nobody’s business. Worth all of the work though, everything’s looking great!

  8. I do remember the dining room! I can’t wait to see it all come together, the chairs are kind of rockin!


  9. Can’t wait to see the finished product! Everything looks great so far!

  10. I am loving your mood board, and the new table and chairs are going to be perfect! I can’t wait to see the big reveal!!