My Dining Table Part I: Sanding the Table

After moving from California to Minnesota, Dave and I were on the hunt for our very first house.  A couple months after moving back, we found it..the problem being that we now had to furnish it.  Being the economically conscientious people that we are, I opted to check out Craigslist for a few household items.  For years we had been using my Grandmother’s old  “four” (really two) person dining table and I knew that on the top of my list would be a bigger, more functional table.

The wish list included leaves, 6 chairs, and rectangular-shaped, because our dining space is more of a large eat-in section of our kitchen and I knew a round table wouldn’t fit.  I also wanted to find something quickly so I could redo it before moving into our house.  I ended up finding a table and six chairs with drop-down leaves for $120.  I thought this was a good deal since it was a fraction of the cost of an IKEA set with 6 chairs (I often use IKEA as my benchmark.).  I was drawn to the detailing in the table (the legs are so intricate and beautiful!), I also liked that the chairs, although not matching the table, are ladder back (for full back-relaxing support), and that the seats were cushioned.  That being said, I didn’t like the dated fabric on the chairs and that the woods on the table part and the chairs clearly didn’t go together.

DiningTable-1

DiningTable-2

 

Nice, right?  And my parents were kind enough to let me take over their garage for my project.  So not only were my two kids, husband, and I living with them but we had fully invaded their space.  My family is really good to me.

I decided to just stain the top and paint legs of the table and the chairs the same color.  I did this partially because I like the look of painted tables and partially because sanding everything down to absorb stain is a lot more intense than sanding it down to paint.  There’s no way I was going to fully strip all the intricacies in the legs and the slats on the chairs.  But stripping a flat table top?  That I figured I could manage.

After doing research online (seriously, how did people know how to do things before the internet?) I learned all about sandpaper and grit.  I started with 60 grit sandpaper on my dad’s little mouse sander (and contrary to what the inter-webs claimed, the mouse sander was a workhorse and did a great job with the table).  The 60 grit was coarse enough to strip the old stain off the wood, then I went over it with a fine 120 grit to help smooth the top out, and finished with super-fine 220 grit to make the top as smooth as possible.

DiningTable-7

A little dusty, but definitely prepped for stain!  To get rid of all the dust, I cleaned it off with a damp cloth, making sure to rinse the cloth and wipe the table until all the dust was gone.  Then I took a dry cloth and wiped to ensure all the dust was gone.

Next it was time for the stain.  I used Minwax Wood Finish in Dark Walnut.  My husband and I applied one coat with a brush and let sit for about 10 minutes before wiping off with a lint-free cloth. (Do you see a peek of the face mask?  I used these all during sanding and staining.  I also used latex gloves.  Safety first, people!)

DiningTable-8

 

(Note: cut-up, old, clean t-shirts are perfect for wiping off stain.  But since the stain is oil-based, go ahead and throw away any used cloths when you’re done.)  After about 4 hours, we applied a second coat, leaving it sit for about 10 minutes and wiping it off.  What resulted was a perfect, walnutty color.

DiningTable-9

(In this picture, the stain is still wet and when it dried, it was not streaky like the photo would suggest.)

Hooray for first-time DIY success!  (This statement is RARELY uttered around these parts.  More often than not, my DIY projects result in tears and exclamations along the line of: “this was a COMPLETE disaster!!!!”)  Also note: however long you think a project like this will take, quadruple it.  And however many trips you think you’ll make to the hardware store: triple it.  The good news is that after you have one under your belt, any subsequent projects will take about half the time.

In Part II, I will show you how I painted the legs and chairs and Part III, I will be reupholstering the chair seats.  Stay tuned!

Amy

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One thought on “My Dining Table Part I: Sanding the Table

  1. Pingback: My Dining Table Part II: Painting the Table (aka Why Chalk Paint Powder is Overrated) | And the Rest

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