This drop-leaf table was my birthday present from my boyfriend. I guess that should tell you a little something about me! This table had been in a tea room in our town long ago, and in a private home ever since the tea room closed. We aren’t sure of the age of the table, but guess it is at least 50-60 years old. And, it is SOLID! It is all joined, including the top which is constructed so well the seams between planks are barely visible. The only nails we can find are the square nails holding the table top to the base.
This table was well used and the wear and tear showed. The top was stained and had burn marks (I like to think from an old kettle); any finish had long since worn away.
The base received a good scrub with Murphy’s oil soap and 0000 steel wool. Someone had done a horrible stain job on the legs – looked like the stain hadn’t been wiped away after being brushed on. The legs looked like they were coated with old chocolate pudding! None of the wood grain showed through so I used an environmentally safe stripper and steel wool to remove the gunky stain. You can see in the before and after below that some of the darker stain still remained in the crevices and dings in the legs, but I loved that rustic effect. After wiping away any residue of the stripper and old stain, the legs got a good cleaning with the oil soap as well.
I lightly sanded the top, which was rough and discolored. Many of the stains and discoloration remain but that is what gives this table its character, and I didn’t want to try to make the table into something it wasn’t. I also chiseled out the white wood filler that was used in the nail holes and sanded the edges. I sanded with a series of 120, 220, 320, and 400 grit.
The whole table received a treatment of Watco Danish Oil in fruitwood, which has a reddish hue. The wood was so dry it just soaked it up but now the table has a smooth and silky feel.
Now, this rustic table has a new lease on life! We love that we have a small piece of our town’s history in our home.
Total time: 5-6 hours over the course of a weekend
Murphy’s Oil Soap
0000 steel wool
Watco Danish Oil in fruitwood
Rubber gloves, foam brushes, sandpaper, tacky cloth, drop cloth