To finish the table was a quite a process. The table I believe is made of pine (or some light colored wood) and had a coat of varnish. The varnish had been worn through in some places, as Brian remarked, it looked like it had been a kids crafting table. So my first task was to strip the varnish from the table top. I didn't worry about the legs and sides because I was planning on painting those parts. I bought some citrus something or other stripper (I can't remember the name, it is orange goop that is supposed to be more eco-friendly than other stripping products). I slathered it on somewhat thickly and waited a half hour for it to do it's job. I used a plastic scrapper and some (A LOT) of paper towels and got to work scraping off the orange goop and varnish. Here is a picture after a round of stripping, I forgot to take a before picture but this pretty much shows what I started off with.
(Please ignore the dying grass, we hope to one day put a patio in here so there are no sprinklers and my hand watering is not very consistent!)
Okay, so back to the table. Next I sanded the top with a heavy grit sandpaper followed by a medium and fine grit sandpaper. The first few passes with the heavy grit sandpaper took a while as I kept getting my sandpaper gunked up with varnish that I had not completely removed with the stripper. It would have helped if I was a bit more complete with the stripping. But all in all, by the end the surface was left looking nice and smooth:
Next, it was on to the staining. I wanted to make the surface look a bit old and weather beaten, greyish-brown in color like an old fence. I found some stain from Minwax in a "Medium Walnut" that I thought would do the trick. I used an old rag to apply the stain, and the wood sure soaked it up.
I decided to lightly sand in between stain applications as I heard that brings out the grain of the wood. Then it was on to another round of stain..............and this is when all heck broke loose!
What happened to my beautiful table?! I think this is another result of not getting all the varnish off when stripping, leaving me with patches that where not able to take up the stain. I felt a little defeated. I was ready to throw in my crusty stain rag and paint the top! But I decided to give it another try. So I got my stripper back out and coated the whole table top again, laying it on extra thick in the splotchy areas. I scraped off what I could and sanded again.
AH, RELIEF! I then added some stain but in Minwax's "Colonial Maple", a slightly red tint, as two applications of the "Medium Walnut" were too dark for me. Then it was two applications of Minwax's Tung Oil to protect the surface and the top was finished! I painted the sides in Annie Sloan's "Duck Egg Blue" to match my dining chairs, did a bit of paint distressing and finished with a layer of wax.
Gorgeous if I do say so myself. Especially after the staining fiasco! With the two leaves in, the table is sooo loooong!
And look at the nice, thick sturdy legs!
Yes, with few battle scars, but only superficial!
And it even has a cute little drawer (I still need to replace the knob).
Lastly I removed the two leaves for everday use in the dining room.
And then we moved it back into our house:
Despite a staining hiccup, things turned out pretty nicely. A little different than I expected, but if fits perfectly in the end :o)