Thursday, July 26, 2012

Furniture Makeover :: Bringing Back Woodgrain

Today I've got a little bit of a different furniture makeover for you! This time, I didn't paint my piece - I decided to try my hand at bringing back the woodgrain of a badly damaged end table. I figured if I failed - I could always paint over my mess!

I started out with this $10 table I found at the Super Thrift Store in my hometown. My initial idea was to do chevrons on the square top and sell it - but when I brought it home I realized it had similar lines to our coffee table.

Though you can't see them here, it even had tiny metal casters like our coffee table!
{The Aiden from World Market - shown below}

It also filled the space between my 2 black chairs much better than my little purple table - so I decided to refinish it as an addition to our living room. (The purple table was sold to my friend Malerie for her little girl's room!)

I started by flipping it over and pulling the veneer off the bottom. It was in terrible shape - splitting everywhere - and you could see it even when the table was right side up. Luckily it was in bad enough shape that it came off pretty easily. I only had to use a knife on a couple of spots.

Next I sanded the bottom and wood-puttied a couple of chunks missing below the veneer (there were apparently multiple layers of wood and wood veneer).

Being the professional I am, I forgot to buy a wood putty knife (is that what they're called?) Lesson learned - a silver Christmas cheese knife will totally do the trick!

After that I flipped it over and took to sanding. Now let me say - hating sanding is the #1 reason I use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (no sanding required!) But just this once I thought I'd give it a try. I "roughed up" the whole piece with a medium grit sandpaper - sanding the top the most because it was the area with water rings. Had it not been a wood veneer piece, I probably would've sanded it more - but I was afraid I might sand a hole completely through the veneer. So, once it was pretty well sanded I took a swipe at adding wax.

I decided to restain this piece by using my Annie Sloan Dark Wax. After the first coat on the top I knew I hadn't sanded enough. The finish was really uneven because there were areas where I'd left the stain/sealant behind that turned a different color. I probably could have stopped here and tried to sand off the wax and more of the top - but again, I was afraid of sanding a hole in the veneer. So I continued on - waxing the whole piece and hoping for the best. I ended up doing 3 layers of dark wax (wiping them off with cheesecloth in between) on top - 1 layer of dark wax all over - and 1 layer of clear wax all over. And here's the finished piece!

The finish on the top is still uneven - but you really can't tell when I have my lamp, magazines, etc on it. (I'm thinking of adding a plant to the back right corner too!) Overall I think it looks way better than it did originally, and I love that the dark wax gave it a darker, richer finish all over.

This piece is such a great size, and I think it makes this little nook so much more functional! It's big enough to work as extra seating when we have get togethers  - you could totally fit drinks and plates on this for the 2 people sitting by it. I love the bottom shelf - it would be the perfect place for a basket of blankets! I also think it helps bring the wood tones from the rest of our living room into this space. You can see the other sitting area here... (before it was flooded that is!)

What do you think? Have you ever refinished a wood piece? Any tips for other DIYers of wood furniture? What kind of {easy to keep alive} plant should I buy for my new table?


  1. Brenda AntonacciJuly 26, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    A credit card works well as a putty knife!

    1. Ooo - I'll have to remember that next time! Thanks Brenda!