Monthly Archives: October 2015

Our Much Loved and Abused Farmhouse Table

Our poor kitchen table has seen so much abuse love since we purchased it 13 years ago. It’s been the center of most of our family activities in three homes now and it has withstood all that we did to it.

Our beloved table was made by a Virginia based company, Hoskins Creek Table Company, and is 8ft long but only 33” wide. We bought such a long table to accommodate our girls and all of the friends they might bring home, believe it or not we fit 17 kids here one time! However, it was also our everyday family eating space, craft table, sewing table, homework table and even one time I caught a VERY bad Weimaraner sunning himself on it!

Here we are at our home in Montpelier, VA, celebrating the first of many birthdays that our table will see, it was only a few months old at this point and had yet to see any real abuse.

Farmhouse table

I know for a FACT when we moved into house number two in Short Pump, VA this table had dog claw marks on it (thanks to the aforementioned Weimaraner), glitter that wouldn’t come off (my bad) and more than a few blemishes from random acts. Still, it looked like a wonderfully worn table and we all loved it! This was the last birthday celebrated in this home before we moved to Kentucky and you can see the abuse clearly!

Abused farmhouse table

Here is the table once we were mostly settled in our Louisville, KY home. In order to keep the table we did have to “loose” one of the ends in order to maintain the flow from one room to the next, but the table fit well enough. If I’m being honest a smaller (probably round) table would have worked much better, but I just can’t bear to let this table and all of it’s memories go!

Farmhouse table

So here we are in 2015 and I am ready to change up the table, nothing drastic, just lighter colors and some new chairs. Our youngest daughter is 13 and way past the destructive stage, our Weimaraner who loved to sun himself on it passed away long ago and it’s just the three of us here now as the two older girls are either in college or have joined the working world. Anyway, most of the time we sit at the kitchen island to eat our meals and the poor table gets very little use these days.

So here it is with it’s fresh new update guaranteed to last for another 13 years!

Refinished farmhouse table

First we removed the old wax finish and lightly sanded the table to remove some of the scratches, mainly the dog claw marks and the annoying blemishes.

Refinished farmhouse table

The final grit we used on the sander was 220 which gives the table a perfectly smooth feel.

Lightening up the farmhouse table

We then oiled the surface with Natural Watco Oil which allows the beauty of the wood to shine through. The final result is a table top that is about half as dark as the original finish.

Refinishing table and pine tabletop

After the oil had to time to do its thing we then waxed the surface with clear wax and buffed it to a beautiful sheen!

Refinished natural pine table top

The combination of the oil and wax has restored the natural beauty and durability to this Southern Yellow Pine.

Refinished natural pine table top

You can still see dents, marks and small scratches as evidence that this table has history, but gone are the glitter and truly ugly spots on the table.

Refinished natural pine table top

For the base I painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old Ochre, did some light distressing, sealed it with clear wax and buffed it to a soft sheen. I really like the lighter feel of the table with this combination.

Refinished farmhouse table, natural finish and Old Ochre

One of the other things I adore about this table is the “old world” craftsmanship that was used to build it. Wood peg joinery on the legs and old style nails to attach the top to the base really adds to the overall character of the piece.

Refinished farmhouse table, natural finish and Old Ochre

I have all of the new chairs for this table primed and the seats reupholstered I just need to spray the final paint coat on them and they’ll be ready to go! Everything should be done just in time for Thanksgiving…

I will say that I’m so happy that we were able to keep this table and with just a little bit of work update it to fit our style today. Hopefully one day this table will be passed down to one of our girls who will enjoy watching her kids craft, play, eat and grow up using the same table she did as a child… the thought makes me well up with tears…

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time!

K

Updating some not quite vintage Thonet chairs

These hideous lovely Thonet chairs are circa 1986, not quite vintage, but not far from being vintage either. If you’re curious the chairs were made by Shelby Williams Industries which purchased Thonet Industries U.S.A in the mid 80’s and continued to make the iconic bentwood chairs. I know these are pretty ugly, but I bought them for $10 a piece which I thought was a steal! Pictured below are the 6 I originally purchased, the seller wanted to keep 2 of the set of 8 for some reason, but I was able to go back and buy the other 2 because 8 really worked better at my table than 6… it was super nice of her to sell them to me, but I will tell you her husband was “thrilled to get rid of the ugly chairs”!

Upholstered Thonet dining chairs

All of the chairs were structurally sound and very sturdy, but not exactly the look I wanted. So I set about making them a better fit for our family.

I started with removing the fabric from the chair backs. The seats were just plywood covered fabric that were easily removed by unscrewing a couple of screws from underneath.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

I used my needle nosed pliers to grab hold of the piping and by pulling it away I was able to remove 99% of the staples holding the front fabric the frame… by the way please use gloves doing this kind of work, it will save your hands for sure!

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

Underneath of the fabric is batten covered foam easily removed by just pulling on it.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

Behind the foam is cardboard which is stapled onto the frame, I just pulled that off but most of the staples didn’t come off with it unfortunately.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

Behind the cardboard is the back of the fabric, again I used my pliers to remove the back and most of the staples.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

At that point I had an open back chair, which looked so light and airy I was pretty sure that was the way I wanted to keep it, the problem was the bottom back stringer rod, it looked weird and needed to go. I used my jig saw to cut the stringer off and then used a flexible fine toothed handsaw to cut as close to the wood as possible.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

And this is what I ended up with, a wood frame with a grove running all around the back and a couple of handfuls of staples to remove.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

As a small side note I purchased these Kobalt 4.5” pliers a few years ago, they make removing staples so much easier and they cost about $6. This was the tool I used to remove all of the carpet pad staples from the upstairs subfloor so we could install the hardwood floors. It would be a great addition to your toolbox!

Kobalt 4.5-in Pliers

Next I used my pliers to remove any staples that still remained.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

Then I mixed my wood filler, below is my favorite 2 part wood filler, it is awesome for filling large holes and rebuilding parts of furniture. The down side is that you must work fast as it starts to dry in about 5 minutes, but that is also the upside of the product. You can carve it with a knife after just a few minutes of applying it and you can sand it in about 30 minutes. It’s pretty stinky and you most certainly want to wear gloves, but it’s a fantastic product!

Minwax High Performance Wood Filler

I basically globbed (very technical term) the wood filler in the holes and then sanded the areas down with 120 grit sandpaper on my mouse sander. I would usually use my orbital sander, but for this application the mouse sander was easier to control and rotate back and forth to maintain the round shape of the wood.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

I then inspected each area and added a second coat of filler where necessary and repeated the sanding process as well. This is an example of what most of the areas looked like once everything was filled and sanded.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

Before priming each chair I took a piece of 150 grit sandpaper and lightly hand sanded the rest of the chair. I then cleaned the chairs with a paper towel and Formula 409. My plan is to paint these chairs a shade of grey, so I chose to prime them with grey spray paint.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

I’m still trying to decide what color to paint them and I’ve picked up several swatches of fabric but none of them is just right, so the chairs will not be finished for a little while yet. However, they’ll need to be finished by Thanksgiving because I already sold the chairs we were using (oops!) at least this “problem” will keep me motivated to finish them!

Also, I would like to point out that each chair took me about 30 minutes to get to this primed point. I can guarantee you that if I had chosen to reupholster the seat backs it would have taken me at least 3 times as long. So even though this looks like a lot of work it was less work and expense than if I had reupholstered them, plus I like them this way so much more!

Hopefully I’ll find some fabric soon, any suggestions you may have for fabric choices are always welcome!! Thanks as always for stopping by…

Until next time!

K

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