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DIY Tales: Refurbishing an Antique Table

By Country Design Home on Mar 13, 2014

This week's DIY project is a turn-of-the-century table Coach had stashed in the barn. At first, it was pretty beat up, lacking polish (and pizazz), and missing a finial in the base.

Antique Table Before Restoration B&W

It was manufactured by the Denhard Furniture Company of Louisville, Kentucky, sometime between 1855 and 1905. With a little elbow grease, it became the beautiful piece below.

Antique Table Clock and Books Staged PM

Here are the 8 steps I took to breathe new life into this antique table:

1. My first step is always to clean the piece to make sure there isn’t any dust or dirt or mold or mildew— after all, who knows where its traveled in these last 100 years? I wanted to preserve the top to stain, so I flipped it upside down and went to work.

Antique Table Primer Upside Down

2. I painted the base it with my favorite primer, Gripper by Glidden, which is so awesome that it covers everything in one coat.

Antique Table Gripper Primer

3. Once that dried, I painted the body with a coat of Benjamin Moore matte finish paint in a custom color.

Antique Table Benjamin Moore Custom Color

4. I painted all of the raised detail blue— which is one reason why I love redoing old furniture; you don’t find this kind of carved detail at big box stores!

Antique Table Old Finish Detail

And this locking mechanism for the legs is brilliant! A screw-eye is attached to the leg, which then in turn is attached to the brace with the screw. So sturdy.

Antique Table Screw and Hook

Antique Table Painting Detail

Then I gave the piece a second coat, and wiped the excess off the blue details.

Antique Table Wiping Off Paint from Detail

5. I sanded everything down to give it a rustic, aged look.

Antique Table Sanding Detail

5. I glazed the entire piece with General Finishes Brown Mahogany.

Antique Table General Finishes Brown Mahogany Glaze

Antique Table General Finishes Brown Mahogany Glaze Applied

Pro tip: to prepare for spills, lay down plastic drop cloths before starting the project, so it’s easier to scoop spilled liquids up and put them back in their containers.

Antique Table Spilled Glaze

Here, I used a damp rag to keep it workable while I wiped it off until I was satisfied with the results.

Antique Table Wiping off Glaze

Look how the detail pops now!

Antique Table Glaze completed

Antique Table Side Detail Finished

6. The base has two cross pieces that meet in the middle. At one time there was most definitely a decorative finial, but that was missing. I was searching for something suitable when I spotted these curtain rods at the Christmas Tree Shop. (If you don’t have one near you, and don’t know what this store is, let me assure you it does not merely sell Christmas Trees!) These were a glazed, antiqued metal and cost $5.99!

Antique Table Pineapple Rods Christmas Tree Shop

I removed the finial from the rod, then filled the finial with glue, and coated the spindle with glue so it would be very secure.

Antique Table Removing Finial From Pole

Antique Table Finial with glue filler

Antique Table Coating Post with Glue

7. The new pineapple finial is now a welcoming addition to the antique table.

Antique Table fixating pineapple finial to post

8. For the top, Coach sanded it down, and I followed with the Brown Mahogany Stain to replicate the rich brown of the original color and finish.

Coach cleaning the cupboard

7. I applied two coats of Fidde’s Supreme Wax to give the top that glowing finish.

Hope Chest Fiddes & Son Wax

Antique Table Top Fiddes Wax Finish

8. Here is the final closeup reveal of the accented details and beautiful wood top!

Antique Table Top Dressed

I think Mr. Denhard would be very pleased with how I have lovingly restored his table.


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