Table Refinishing and Distressing

I have always liked this table. It has good legs, and a classic antique style without being too ornate. When the opportunity presented itself, I knew I wanted to refinish it and use it in our breakfast nook/kitchen.

This table could originally expand to about 10 feet! We looked at it to see if it could be salvaged (it was really unsteady), but after seeing how it was made we decided to fix the table to be a 42 inch square. That’s really the size we needed for every day use, but it also allowed us to reinforce the legs and support under the top.

We added extra screws where the legs attached, and glued around the perimeter of the table and around the blocks that support the legs. We also added a board down the center of the table where the two halves meet.

There was a gap down the center of the table that we filled with glue, and there were a couple cracks and holes that needed filling. I tried to keep some of the distressed areas as character.

After the glue dried, I sanded the table with 60 grit sandpaper and an orbital sander.

Once the surface was clean, I painted with Amy Howard at Home chalk paint – color Linen. It took two coats to fully cover, but I did add a third coat on the top for extra durability.

To distress the edges/legs I used a 150 grit sandpaper and lightly sanded through the paint so the natural wood tone would show through. I did this little by little until I was happy with the amount of distressing. Then it was time to add polycrylic as the final step.

There are some notes on the next photo… I was seeing yellowing after I added the first coat of polycrylic. I did some research and learned that the tannins in wood with a yellow or red undertone can come to the surface after you add the clear coat.

The other pieces that I’ve painted have been done without any sanding. This is the first piece that I sanded to prep. What I learned is that you can seal the wood with a primer, then paint and add the top coat. This should help trap in the tannins. You can do a quick search online to find some information and videos explaining in more detail!

I could have sanded the piece again to start over, but ultimately I decided that some of that yellowing added to the antique character of the table. I left it alone!

I did three coats of polycrylic on the top, but really only needed one on the rest of the table. Use your judgement here. If it looks uneven, or if it soaks in too much in places, add another coat.

Here’s a side by side before and after – old rectangular table and new square.

Now here is a before and after of the table.

This table fits so well in our kitchen eating area! I’m glad we could refinish it and use it in our home. I also love the distressing. It completely transformed the piece!

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