Before we even moved in, before we even knew this house was ours, I knew a new kitchen table would be on our list of furniture to hunt for. We’ve been using a small pine table, which fit our last house well, but it’s always felt too small for the four of us at meals. And it was definitely too small for this new space.
(The table was buried under there somewhere!)
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, the table is heart of the heart. It’s where the family gathers for meals, homework, crafts, household business, and devotions. It’s an important piece of furniture and I wanted it to be solid, properly scaled for the room and how our family will use it. I also had to love the look of it and it had to pass Jeff’s POJ test. (POJ = piece of junk.)
A tall order.
So, I’ve been trolling craigslist and haven’t found anything that I really loved. One evening last week, my mom and I looked together and she spotted a table and chair set that had promise. We taped the dimensions out on the floor to see how the scale would work in the space. It was perfect.
I texted the owner of the table and heard from him the next morning. This was a craigslist sale that started off a little rocky and it’s an example of how impersonal texting is and how voice inflection makes a big difference in communication! In the ad, the seller noted that he would deliver the set in my county. In my text, I said I would like to purchase the table and have it delivered. He was suspect of me, since I was texting from a PA number, and asked for me to mail cash first. It was my turn to feel like something scammy was going on and I insisted on paying cash on delivery. After some back and forth, I finally picked up the phone and let him know that I am a real person and I was a serious cash buyer.
I did buy the table set and he did deliver it and it was a craigslist happy ending.
So, here’s the table…
…in front of my disaster of a garage. But, that’s what happens when you move in and start a bunch of projects! It’s a newer table (meaning it’s not vintage or an antique), but it has some really lovely detail on it that makes it feel like it’s older than it is. The shiny finish was a dead giveaway, though.
…and it was a little damaged as well, so it would benefit all around from being refinished.
And, when it’s a nice day and you have a heavy table that was just delivered, sitting on your driveway, why not just refinish it on the spot? So, that’s what I did! Here’s how…
First of all, if you have a table with leaf, make sure you refinish the leaf with the table. I have not always done that in the past and then it’s a bummer to go back and refinish the leaf later.
I found a nice little surprise when I expanded this table. It has a cool mechanism inside…
Maybe I get way to excited about furniture details and I need to get out more.
I had to sell most of my paint/solvent stash when I moved, so I needed to pick up some paint remover. I decided to go with a brand I had never tried, Ready Strip, simply because it looked like a remover that used to be my favorite, but I haven’t been able to find for a few years.
This is a big table, so it took the entire bucket and I was skeptical. I was kicking myself for going with the unknown. Usually I need to apply the paint stripper twice and I had the entire bucket spread all over the table. Ooooookay, we’ll see how it goes.
The package also said the product needed to sit for 4-24 hours prior to removal.
I checked it after 30 minutes.
I mean, who has the patience to wait 4-24 hours? It probably would’ve been necessary if there were many layers of paint, but there was just a layer of poly, so 30 minutes was enough. This remover worked like a charm and the finish came off like a dream. It came off in dry ribbons instead of goop, which was oddly satisfying.
This wood looked so amazing without that factory finish!
I’ll put a little bit of Mineral Spirits on the steel wool and scrub the surface.
The spirits evaporate very quickly, so I was able to sand shortly after. I use an orbital palm sander and start with 80 grit to even out the wood tone. From there, I used 100, 120, 180, and 220. I used to hate swapping out the paper grits, but it’s worth taking the time to do that. The result is a buttery-soft wood surface without any orbital sander swirl marks.
While I worked on sanding the top and apron, my mom hand-sanded the legs. I’m planning on painting the base of the table, so it just needed to be roughed-up and not completely stripped.
Once the messy process was done, we carried the table inside to finish it.
I’ll share the finishing and painting in the next installment!
The scale and style of the table is perfect. I’m not 100% sold on the chairs. They are huge! They look like they could’ve given birth to our previous kitchen chairs. I really like the style of them, but I wish I had a shrink-ray, so I could zap them and reduce their size by about 20%. The advantage to large chairs, though, is that they are more comfortable to pull into the living room for some extra seating and they’ll stand up to more abuse from growing boys (and their herd of friends.) People also won’t feel like giants, as some did in the tiny antique chairs we’ve been using since our first apartment.
So, the internal debate will go on until I either feel at peace with having chairs appropriately sized for NBA players or I find other chairs that will make good companions for this table.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.