Saturday, June 28, 2014

Grandma's Tea Table

The project started about three weeks ago when I went to the barn and found Grandma Piercy's tea table.  It consisted of 24 pieces of dirty dark wood wrapped in cardboard and held together with bungee cords, along with some hardware.

I reassembled, and glued and clamped, thereby making a table top, two leaves and a four-legged framework to hold the thing up.  Next I borrowed son Kent's power sander and went to work removing varnish and leveling the flat surfaces. Edges and legs were stripped by hand with glop.

Then we did the hand sanding, 150 grit, 240 grit, and if you have ever done this sort of thing you understand why nearly three weeks have passed since project's inception.  The top photo shows the assembled table, two leaves and the serving tray ready for staining.

The pieces have been stained.

While we were at it, we stained the library table which we stripped perhaps eight years ago.  It has been sitting naked behind the sofa all this time.  I liked it.  BBBH wanted it stained.  It is stained.  

These items are now awaiting final finish.  We are waiting for a low-humidity day before proceeding. How long we will wait is anyone's guess.

Beautiful has had her grandmother's tea table for years.  She mentioned its existence and its need for restoration many years ago.  I finally got a round tuit.


Vee said...

Old furniture is really beautiful. How nice that you kept it all of these years. Enjoy!

Jim Grey said...

I've done a little refinishing in my time. Getting the old finish out of the crevices is the most dreadful part of the job. Sanding is next.

I refinished my childhood desk for my older son. Rather than deal with getting the finish out of the drawer knobs, which had crevices and nooks and crannies, I just painted the things his favorite color. Fortunately, the desk wasn't fine furniture.

When you refinish an older piece of furniture, you do harm its value as an antique. Sometimes the piece's finish is so bad I'll decide I don't care and do it anyway.

I'm also a big believer in polyurethane. It's easy to flow on and once set it is indestructible. But that's another way to ruin an old piece's value, because poly isn't "correct."

Lin said...

Those are beautiful pieces! I can only imagine the amount of work it is taking to refinish them. Especially in the heat and humidity of summer. We've been waiting to stain our bench when the humidity drops---to no avail...yet.

Secondary Roads said...

Hard work, but beautiful final product. Well done, Sir!

vanilla said...

Vee, I really like old tables; our house accommodates quite a few of them.

Jim, we are aware of the "antique value" v. nice looking furniture issue. We have the discussion every time an old piece falls into our hands. Spouse generally says, "We are not preserving an old item for some collector a hundred years from now; I want to enjoy it in the present." A few pieces (that looked good anyway) have escaped restoration.

The tea table will get poly, the library table a good rubbing with Minwax. Spouse likes the former, I the latter. We each get something this time!

Lin, they are nice pieces. Midwest humidity plays havoc with such projects. Just have to wait for the window of opportunity.

Chuck, thank you! I enjoy this sort of thing-- once I get started.

Grace said...

I do like the tea table for the tray alone - I do like trays. My personal taste would have left the tables in their natural color and just polyurethaned them. I've attempted that refinishing business - a boatload of work, especially for someone like me with a short attention span.

vanilla said...

Grace, I often leave a piece in its natural color. This one, though, seemed to need a little assistance. Even BBBH said the stain she chose was a tad darker than she had hoped, but we like it anyway. Attention span? In my case, I find it easy to wander away and return to it at my whim. Another reason it takes so long to finish something around here!

Sharkbytes said...

Low humidity day in Indiana? You may have to rent a truck and visit someone who lives elsewhere. Nice tea table.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, or wait a very long, indeterminate time.