Refinished Mahogany End Table

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Project by McLeanVA posted 01-03-2010 02:18 AM 3936 views 6 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few months ago I decided to take this end table out to the shop for some much-needed repairs. At first I assumed it was walnut because of its dark patina and open grain pattern. The top was peeling apart due to a VERY old veneer job, the drawer had fallen apart and most of joints had loosed up a good bit leaving it a bit on the wobbly side. It’s pretty darn old.

After removing and throwing away the top and drawer, I tapped all of the remaining joints loose with a rubber mallet. I sanded the legs and aprons down and posted some photos on the LJ forum to see if anyone could identify the wood species. Within a day I had plenty of responses that I—in fact—did not have a walnut table after all. Based on the overwhelming response, it was mahogany. So I placed an order for some new material and built a new top, drawer and drawer front. The old finish/grit/grime made it so dark that it was almost black.

I finished it with Antique Oil applied with #0000 steel wool x4 coats. Covered with Arm-R-Seal (satin) x4 coats sanding with #0000 steel wool in between coats.

Funny thing was that I never knew it had the nice maple inlay along the front legs until I sanded it down to the bare bones. I’m not sure of the history of the table, but I do know that it’s been in the family for a few generations. In all honesty, I’m less interested in the intrinsic value than I am in having a refinished table to place my coffee in the mornings.

And now I know how to identify mahogany. Fun project and well worth the time it took to go back to bare bones and rebuild it from sticks.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

11 comments so far

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1593 posts in 3248 days

#1 posted 01-03-2010 02:20 AM

Great job looks real good.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#2 posted 01-03-2010 02:26 AM

Cool table I like the wave pattern on the top. Nice work.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View McLeanVA's profile


491 posts in 3431 days

#3 posted 01-03-2010 02:34 AM

Jim – Funny story on that. I ordered a long piece of mahogany from Rockler. The piece shipped with some serious burn marks across one half. Almost as if it got laid down on a space heather after being planed. So I called Rockler and they immediately shipped me a new piece. Well, the new piece came with some serious warp/twist on one half. It was pretty laughable. I called them up and said that I could use one half of each board they sent and if they wanted the pieces back I would send them, but one would be burned and the other warped. They said “no sweat… just keep it all.”

So, the two usable pieces just happened to match up in a few cool pattern possibilities. I chose the opposite waves and was really pleased with the final finished piece.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View dustyal's profile


1294 posts in 3472 days

#4 posted 01-03-2010 03:07 AM

You built a lovely place to sit your coffee mug. That ought to make the coffee that much better. Beautiful job matching up old and new.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View johnnymo's profile


309 posts in 3203 days

#5 posted 01-03-2010 03:13 AM

Very good refinishing job. Looks like it will be in the family for more generations to come thanks to you.

-- John in Arizona (but it's a dry heat!)

View Deela40's profile


105 posts in 3085 days

#6 posted 01-03-2010 03:40 AM

Good job on the refinish. I especially like the top.


View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3670 days

#7 posted 01-03-2010 05:55 AM

Nice job on the end table.

View Innovator's profile


3584 posts in 3410 days

#8 posted 01-03-2010 02:48 PM

Nice job on the refinishing

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3587 days

#9 posted 01-03-2010 09:11 PM

Very nice table. I like the drawer front detail.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3685 days

#10 posted 06-27-2010 03:54 PM

That top is really beautiful !! You did an excellent job matching the swirly grain and the joint is almost invisible in your pictures. The drawer front and knob are also great. Did you turn the knob or is it metal ? I cant tell from the pics , but I like the shape of it. The inlay on the legs adds just enough without being a distraction. What are the dimensions , please ? Do you have any thoughts about making another one to match the original ?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View yooper's profile


216 posts in 2824 days

#11 posted 12-21-2011 07:28 PM

Wow. That looks great!

-- Jeff, CT - keep calm and make sawdust

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