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Solid Maple End Table Refinished

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Project by Pooka posted 03-01-2014 08:48 PM 731 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a solid maple end table that belonged to my grandparents. I am guessing it’s from 1940-50 or so.

Before, middle and after photos included. Used cabinet scraper and random orbit sander to get from bad to smooth. Used Minwax Ebony stain to get the color. Sanded to 400grit and used between 3 and 6 coats of General Finishes Enduro-Var Semi Gloss (depending on the part – the legs and pillars were easier to do than the top).

I just couldn’t seem to get the top of the top piece to finish without bubbles and runs, so I gave up this morning and did an old-fashioned Elbow Grease sanding to 1500 grit, then rubbed in a final polish of Rottenstone. Finished off with a buff with the same wheel I do my pipes with. It’s glass-smooth, but still matches the low-gloss of the rest of the table.

I didn’t count the hours, but I’ll call it maybe 15-20 actual working time.

There are three tables in this matched set. One more like this one and third is a coffee table (only one level). I won’t finish them in the same way. This one is for my Southwest style girl so it got the rustic treatment. The other two tables will be clean wood with just the clear finish to display the beautiful maple.

This is my first major furniture project, so you can probably guess that there was quite a bit of learning involved. Clearing off the old finish was pretty easy as I had just recently discovered CABINET SCRAPERS! What really made things hard was my lack of experience with clear finishes. I used the advice of a couple of Rockler associates to figure out what I could use, and I’m VERY happy with the results of the Enduro-Var, though I still couldn’t seem to make it perfect. I’m guessing it’ll just take more practice.

In the end, whatever genius built this thing sure didn’t take much time to do a precise job of drilling, so each component had ONE AND ONLY ONE place where it fit. That made for quite a fun reassembly.

I’m real proud of this resuscitated relic, and my daughter just plain loves it.

-- Slice, whack, smack, bang bang, sploosh, scrape, done.





10 comments so far

View plang's profile

plang

107 posts in 2107 days


#1 posted 03-01-2014 09:48 PM

Nice work Pooka. I also have a solid maple table that is round that is just a little older then yours, the wife’s mother claims early 1900s. I am in the process of making a jig so I can reglue the top part then sand and refinish. Hope mine turns out as beautiful as yours. Thanks for sharing.

View Pooka's profile

Pooka

51 posts in 2068 days


#2 posted 03-01-2014 09:54 PM

Good luck! If yours has rounded-over edges like mine, I hope you fare better than I did. Maintaining the shape and then getting the finish on there evenly was a LONG and DIFFICULT process.

-- Slice, whack, smack, bang bang, sploosh, scrape, done.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11549 posts in 1443 days


#3 posted 03-02-2014 01:11 AM

Looking at the “before” pics, you did a wonderful job restoring this piece. Well worth the time and effort!
How did you apply your finish? Spray, brush, wipe on?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Pooka's profile

Pooka

51 posts in 2068 days


#4 posted 03-02-2014 01:34 AM

I used foam brushes, as recommended by the manufacturer. Honestly, I think a decent brush would’ve done just fine, maybe better. Foam loads up weird. When I start the other pieces, I’m going to try regular brushes.

-- Slice, whack, smack, bang bang, sploosh, scrape, done.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11549 posts in 1443 days


#5 posted 03-02-2014 02:04 AM

I have gone to wiping/padding my finishes and am much happier.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Pooka's profile

Pooka

51 posts in 2068 days


#6 posted 03-02-2014 06:14 AM

What do you use for pads? I’ve used lint-free rag types and I’m sorta okay with ‘em, but they’re messy and don’t seem better than brushes.

-- Slice, whack, smack, bang bang, sploosh, scrape, done.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11549 posts in 1443 days


#7 posted 03-02-2014 03:59 PM

I buy those boxes of T shirt materiel at HD. The trick is to dilute your finishes and wipe it on rather than “laying it on” like with a brush. It takes more coats to achieve a “build” but they dry faster and NO drips or runs. I usually mix 2-3 parts Spar Urethane with one part mineral spirits. I apply ALL of my shellac the same way but with more rubbing/thinner coats. (Black Cherry has a blog on doing shellac and I use his technique).

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Pooka's profile

Pooka

51 posts in 2068 days


#8 posted 03-02-2014 04:02 PM

Fantastic. I’ll give this a try. The Enduro-Var stuff I’m using is water based, but I’m told it dilutes just fine with water. I’ll try that.

-- Slice, whack, smack, bang bang, sploosh, scrape, done.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11549 posts in 1443 days


#9 posted 03-02-2014 04:14 PM

I have never used a water based finish so my advice may be invalid. Test on some scrap sanded to the same grit as your project. And let me know how it works!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View plang's profile

plang

107 posts in 2107 days


#10 posted 03-03-2014 10:13 PM

Thanks Pooka. No, I have no rounded edges as yours does but I am considering leaving it natural due to the grain pattern it has anyway. Just a protector of some sort. I will someday post a photo but it w;ill be some time down the road. I am refurbishing my home so the table is fifth to sixth fiddle. Looking forward though to seeing your future projects. Work safe and have fun.

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