Last summer, (yes, that long ago), I bought these two end tables with the intent to re-do them, give them some life and beauty. Unfortunately, life got in the way. We bought a house and moved. Since, they have been buried in the garage. I finally decided to dig them out, re-do them and get them in the Vintage With A Twist booth. So, here’s their transformation, documented.
All wood, step style end tables with one drawer and a marble inset. Not bad shape for their age (late 1960’s early 70’s).
I decided I wanted a drastic change in them. The wood had some bad spots — a dog had chewed one leg, the top step on one table had some water damage and there were assorted nicks and cuts. But, the lines were good, so I bought them anyway.
So, gathering my supplies, I started. Here’s the supplies:
- Denatured Alcohol
- Zinsser Deglosser
- Zinsser White Oil Based Spray Primer (love this stuff!)
- Paint – Pittsburgh Paints Ultra in Clear Yellow (it’s really an off white hue)
- Sand paper (assorted grit from 150 to 220)
- MinWax Stain – Provincial #211
- MinWax Paste Finishing Wax
- Saw Horses
- Staining Sponge
- Assorted rags and soft cloths
First thing I did was wipe down the very dusty surfaces. They have been in the garage so long, I could write my name in the dust. After I got the layer of dust off, I used the Denatured Alcohol on a rag to make sure all residue was gone. I took the drawers out and the hardware off. Not sure yet if I will use new or the original hardware.
Then, I put them, one at a time, up on saw horses so I could get to all the areas. I used Zinsser’s Deglosser to get rid of the remaining shiny, top coat. This stuff is AWESOME! No need to sand to get the surface ready for primer. I hadn’t used it before so I am definitely a convert!
It so easy to use and works fast. You rub it all over the finish on the piece in a circular motion (with proper gloves and eye wear of course) using a soft rag or cheese cloth. It evaporates leaving the finish dull. If there is a white film apparent in certain areas, you still have some finish or wax that needs to come off. Repeat until there are no filmy white areas.
Now, you brush on a medium coat of the deglosser. I used a sponge brush and it worked well. You leave it for 30 minutes. During that time I got my spray primer, spray can gun adapter and anything else I needed ready. You need to start your base coat of paint within 1 hour of the medium coat of deglosser. Not sure why but I am a rule follwer, so that’s what I did.
I used Zinsser’s oil based primer with the gold/brown label. Again, I love this stuff. It coats well, blocks out stains, seals the wood, dries quick (20 minutes between re-coats) and readies the item for paint. The paint finish is so much nicer with a good primer! Here’s what it looked like with the primer:
I finished two coats of primer on both tables and let them dry overnight. The next day, I put two coats of paint on them and then let them cure over night again.
The third day, I distressed them. I used sand paper in 150 and 220 grit in areas that would have normal wear like legs, the top, edges and such. I didn’t over do on the edges and legs but I did do a decent amount of distressing to the top of the step surface. I didn’t want it to look perfect but used, old. I put some scratches in the finish and a couple of very worn areas.
Next was another good wiping down to get rid of any of the paint I had sanded off. I, personally, don’t like tack cloths. They can leave a residue on the furniture so I use a damp, soft cloth instead and then follow it with a dry cloth.
Now comes the stain. I used the MinWax stain and wiped it on with a staining sponge and then off with a rag. I work in small areas because the stain starts to dry pretty quickly. I sponge on the stain in the chosen area, usually working from left to right. Then go right back and wipe it off. If it’s not dark enough, I repeat. Some of the areas of the tables where too intricate for the sponge so I used a small art paint brush with stain on it and then wiped it off with the rag.
Here is the back of one of the tables as I stained it:
You can see the difference in the color from the stained area to the legs and bottom part of the end table that was still off white.
I finished both end tables in about an hour and a half. One trick I have learned is if your stain starts to dry to quickly — before you wipe it off — add more stain and then wipe quickly. This will pick up the stain that was too dark.
While these were drying, I stained the drawers, being careful to get stain in the arches and designs of the wood with my art brush. Then, I let them cure overnight. Looking pretty good!
I have the finishing wax, attaching the hardware and inserting the marble slabs and I’ll be finished.
I am using the MinWax finishing wax. It’s a great alternative to polyacrylic or polyurethane. You apply it (to a dust free surface) with a clean, soft rag or cheesecloth — not heavy, just a thin coat. Wait fifteen minutes and buff it with a cloth, electric buffer or polisher. It leaves a hard, dry, oil-less polish to the surface — perfect for nightstands or end tables.
Anymore, the only time I use polyacrylic is it the item will be in the bathroom or kitchen. And, you could use the wax anyway and just do 2 coats before you buff. It is a bit shiny, not too much though.
I used the original hardware as it was. I was going to clean it since it’s brass but the patina looked better with the distressed finish than a bright shiny brass would have.
So, there you have it! These are going straight to the booth space and will be for sale for $42.99 each or $79.99 for the pair. Now, we just have to make room for them and stage them well!
One more time — Before and After:
The next project is a corner (triangle shaped) cabinet mom has had forever. It’s time to clear out the garage and get ready for the Riley Festival!