Harvest Table

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Project by Phil Brown posted 05-18-2007 09:15 PM 2213 views 3 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Another recycling project. I get these tables from a junk dealer for $10 to $20 in poor condition and refurbish them with an antique aged finish and resell them for $200 to $300.

Many of the tops are parquet so I disguise them with a faux finish and clearcoat steelwooled to a satin sheen. I add a bullnose molding to the skirt bottoms for effect and rub through several layers of acrylic which is put on over the original white lacquer legs.

I sell a lot of these tables to boutiques for display purposes. This one sits in a bed and bath boutique in an old bakery complex that has been converted to a retail mall.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

15 comments so far

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4201 days

#1 posted 05-18-2007 09:23 PM

Phil, very interesting.

Across the rear lane from my daughter’s home in Vancouver is a shop that does almost the same thing. Every day, I’ve walked past the open doored workshop of this shop and saw them converting low cost Pine tables into ‘treasures’ with prices up around the $800 mark.

I must say that your work is far more attractive than the ones in Vancouver.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Paul's profile


660 posts in 4117 days

#2 posted 05-18-2007 09:24 PM

I hope you’ve developed an efficiency of work that accomplishes the end product in a lot less time than it would take me!

I can see why you sell a lot of them. $200 to $300 is a bargain!

-- Paul, Texas

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4083 days

#3 posted 05-18-2007 09:31 PM

Thanks folks. I make the real thing as well from scratch but they’re in the $600 to $1,200 range, so this helps store owners keep costs down. This finish is a French Canadian style.

I also do this with rocking chairs. They look great with the faux antique finish. Old dressers look good with this look when you repalce the front drawers with doors and turn them into wash stands.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View Skee's profile


85 posts in 4052 days

#4 posted 05-18-2007 09:37 PM

Creative use of old materials! What a great idea! Well done.

-- -- Skee from MN

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4150 days

#5 posted 05-18-2007 09:48 PM

There’s an “estate sale” business (I think it’s one family, two store fronts) in my little town and its adjoining one, where they bring back the stuff they couldn’t sell at the actual estate sale and put it out for display. We wander by occasionally and note that it doesn’t always seem to be the good stuff that costs more, often there’ll be something that looks really nice, but on closer inspection is just veneered MDF, where the solid wood pieces will be cheaper because they’ve got marred finish (actually useful and used to the family that had ‘em! Horrors!).

So it’s good to see you adding the value back to the good stuff!

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 4110 days

#6 posted 05-18-2007 11:03 PM

What a great “green” project. Its great to see someone make good use of these cast offs and put money in the bank. How much time do you spend on the average table?

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Diane's profile


546 posts in 4147 days

#7 posted 05-18-2007 11:25 PM

I ditto what Greg said. This table is just beautiful. If you want free tables to start off with check out Freecycle is free no money is exchanged, you can post a Wanted or an Offer.


View David's profile


1969 posts in 4163 days

#8 posted 05-19-2007 01:07 AM

Phil -

Theses are beautiful – I can see why you sell a lot of them. I am interested in your finish technique.


View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4083 days

#9 posted 05-19-2007 07:32 AM

David, the finish technique varies with the style of top. If its veneered to look like full planks the job is easy. I sand the laquer clearcoat and glaze over the piece with layers of acrylic paint. Burnt Sienna is a favorite color to mask the department store look yet let the grain show through. Then I might use a large brush and drag a dark brown color over top or between glazes to enhance the grain. Ragging on soupy black and rubbing it off leaves a layer of pigment on the surface that also helps age the finish.

In this case the top was parquet and need heavy graining to look right. I used a dark brown and a large brush to draw grain the length of the top and then buried it with transparent layers of burnt sienna and autumn brown. Watery black is ragged on and wiped off to age the look and then I wiped on a coat of tung oil, polished it and waxed it. Sometimes I clearcoat and steelwool to a satin finish.

Its a lot of work but I accomplished the top in one night because the acrylic dries fast. The skirt and legs are basecoated with a black acrylic, then light green and barn red are brushed and ragged on and rubbed through with laquer thinner which gives better control than sanding through. I sell reproductions to a partiular dealer who hates finishes rubbed through to the wood, so I use the lacquer thinner to reveal successive paint layers and feather them back nicely for an effect that he is very pleased with. I clearcoated the base with spray waterbase but I also use laquer clear on projects as well depending on how toxic I am that day.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4083 days

#10 posted 05-19-2007 07:53 AM

Greg, I usually complete a table in two days, mixing it with my other work, so eight to ten hours max.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4185 days

#11 posted 05-19-2007 12:42 PM

it’s beautiful!
You’ve done a great job – at recycling and creating this beautiful piece of furniture.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View cconway's profile


37 posts in 4073 days

#12 posted 05-19-2007 04:44 PM


These are great! Nice job.

-- Charlie, Connecticut

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4271 days

#13 posted 05-21-2007 04:23 AM

Just amazing Phil, its beautiful, you need to teach someone your gift. Keep them busy while your on the road. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4335 days

#14 posted 05-21-2007 04:25 AM

Don’t let the junk dealer see what you are reselling them for. Looks great and a great return on you time and money.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4271 days

#15 posted 05-22-2007 07:55 AM

Yea thats about a 300% markup. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

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