Tag Archives: dining table

Faux Cerused Dining Table

This is another project Nik found in the neighborhood dumpster, which has turned into a new dining table for us. We had a run-of-the-mill dinner table before, that primarily was used for stacking all our woodworking and painting supplies:


We could’ve refinished it since it is solid wood, the the thought of all those legs and chair back spindles made us less enthusiastic about this option! Nik found a round oak table and base in the dumpster that was also very plain. He had the idea of trying to faux-ceruse this table. Cerused wood is a style that has white embedded in the wood grain, kind of like this:


I call our method “faux-cerusing” since I think true cerusing uses liming wax or something like that to really get some substance down into the wood grain…as opposed to just paint over the top, like we did! To start we stripped and sanded it down, only with medium grit paper:

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Instead of wetting it down and doing a fine sanding, we gouged out the wood grain with a stiff metal brush:


And then we stained it as dark as we could. We started with dark walnut, then moved to Jacobean by Minwax (normally a very dark stain) but this wood didn’t take up as much as we were hoping, unfortunately.

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After staining, we did a light coat of water-based poly. Next, we diluted white paint about 1:2 in water, and rubbed it all over the table (especially into the gouged wood grain):

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It looked like lots of white paint…but then kind of before it dried, we buffed it out with a rag. Then we rubbed the whole table down with fine steel wool to removed excess paint that wasn’t in the wood grooves.

ceruse 2 ceruse 3 This is kind of what it looked like at this point:

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After rubbing off as much paint as we wanted to, we fixed up some areas we’d rubbed too hard and removed stain (in retrospect, 2 coats of poly after staining and before applying the diluted paint might’ve been better…), and then sealed it up with 2 coats of water based poly. Oh, and we had painted the table base with white paint in the meantime. The pics of the top came out making it look kind of blotchy, but in person it looks pretty cool, I think.

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The last thing to do was to find new bolts to attach the table top to the base, and paint the table top skirt white to match the pedestal. We had 2 mid century chairs floating around so we’re going to put them with this table. They don’t quite match now, but perhaps a re-upholstering or paint job in the future will make them a perfect pair for this table!

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And even better, I think the cerused wood matches my hand-made placemats!

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Weathered Gray Dining Table

Nik dragged this solid pine table out of the furniture dumpster months ago, and we finally wrapped it up on Monday. It started out like this:

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And we stained it with Minwax weathered gray stain and sealed it up:

IMG_1086The legs and table skirt were painted off white:

IMG_1085And we put it all together. One of the legs was missing the attachment bolt, so we figured out how to use some L brackets to attach that leg firmly. Here’s how it turned out:

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Weathered table and More

The past week or so has been spent painting and painting and painting the outside of that secretary. I’m halfway convinced that thing is made out of real living flesh, because as soon as you paint a coat of paint (mind you, this is good quality paint-and-primer-in-one paint that “should” cover in 1-2 coats) the red color of the wood starts bleeding through the paint and you’re back at square one. Nik thinks we’ve put on 4-5 coats of paint OVER the coat of primer, and we’re still seeing a red tinge. One more coat it is… Anyway, again here is what is looked like before and after primer:

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And with a coat (or several) of paint:


We’re also painting the front desk cover and the cubby compartments white but I don’t have a picture of those. Oh, and I also skipped telling you that we learned about something new called underlayment. This is 5/16″ thin plywood that is what usually makes up the bottom of a drawer, and in the case of this secretary, the back panel. The very bottom drawer and the back of this piece were disintegrating and warped, so we popped out the old wood and got two pieces of underlayment cut to size at Home Depot. The whole 4’x8′ sheet was only $12. The drawer piece slid right into place, and the back piece will be nailed on simple as that. This was an unexpectedly easy fix for this old piece of furniture! So, we’re getting close, just another coat or two of paint and then touching up the stained part (after all that painting its impossible that none of it got outside the lines!). We’ll be using water-based poly to seal up the entire piece then we’ll attach the cubbies and the front panel. I think we’re going to try to clean up the old hardware and put those handles back on because they’re pretty unique but we’ll see how that goes. On another note, we’ve made some headway with a new project that Nik (literally) dug out of the large furniture dumpster in our neighborhood. He found a large circular pine table and 4 legs to go with it (no leaf unfortunately).

Here’s the before pictures:

table 1      table 2

And then he sanded it down (ignore the blue paint, we were testing out some exterior paint on it but we sanded that off too):


And we used the classic grey from the middle drawer in the secretary to stain this. We were going to use dark walnut and then I had the idea to use the classic grey and I love how it turned out!

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Apparently our deck is an almost identical color so I’m sorry that it looks like it is camouflaged with the ground…Now we’re priming and painting the table skirt (under the round top) and the legs a cream color.


The legs are plain and ugly, but hey, this table was free. Hopefully someone can overlook that and consider it a lovely weathered “country” table. And for one more thing to leave you with, I finally finished my pistachio shell art and I love how it came out! I never knew I could be so crafty (of course using the creativity and detailed guide of someone else).


Contemporary Dining Table

In the last post, I mentioned the dining table we were working on. I had uncertainties about how this would turn out, but Nik was persistent about moving forward with this project, and I’m glad he was! To remind you, this is how the table started out:

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The top had tons of water damage to the wood and the finish, and the pedestal was gross and missing two of its support legs, making it unusable.Then Nik stripped it, reattached the board and we sanded it a bit. IMG_0781

At the end of the day (weeks?), this is how it ended up:

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Here’s a few pictures we took outside, to have some different lighting on the weathered wood:

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After stripping and sanding through the water-damaged finish, we noticed that the wood actually looked kind of cool – more of a “weathered” look than a “damaged” look.


It was still a little incomplete looking, so I stained it with a very light stain (golden oak) then sealed it with multiple layers of water-based polyurethane. We attached the legs, and decided we’d try to sell it like that! If it doesn’t sell, our other idea was the paint it and glaze it. Glazing can mean a lot of different things, but the kind we’d use would be glaze mixed with a dark stain or dark tinting. From my understanding, glaze looks like runny Elmer’s glue, and basically thickens the stain so it is more workable. We’d paint the table a lighter color and glaze over it to put some dark dimension into the cracks and imperfections, kind of like this dresser or this instructional guide. So that’s our backup plan if no one goes for the weathered wood look!

Works in Progress

I was originally planning on doing a post for every piece we completed, but somehow we’ve found ourselves working on FOUR pieces at once! This means it’s a little progress here and there on each piece, but we probably won’t have anything completely finished for a while. So today I’ll write about these four pieces and the progress (or lack thereof?) we’ve made.

Nik has been on a bartending kick lately, and  has purchased a collection of unusual alcohols to mix drinks. Unfortunately, our kitchen and pantry are small, so most of these bottles and the fancy kitchen gadgets used to make the drinks have been cluttering our counter tops for the past few weeks. We decided we are in need of a bar cabinet to hold everything. We bought this old tv/stereo cabinet for $20. It’s a mix of solid wood and particle board with veneer, so it should be a workable surface to sand and paint or stain. Right now we’re thinking some sort of dark paint for the body, and maybe stained wood on the top.

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It has a neat little drawer that pulls out too, so that can be used for glasses and gadgets. Bottles and a wine rack will go inside the cabinet. Nik decided the top needed a rail for containing things, like this but more like the metal rail on this bar. We made a lengthy trip to the plumbing section of Home Depot on Saturday to see what we could fashion from copper piping. We ended up buying connectors, some end caps, and 10 feet of 1/2″ copper pipe, and a copper pipe cutter device.


By the end of the night, Nik had designed this scheme:


…and constructed this:

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It came out great! He then cut little 1.5″ lengths of pipe to lift the rail off the bar a bit and I buffed all the piping with steel wool to shine it up and remove the printing that was on the pipe. To attach it to the bar, we’re planning on gluing a small piece of wooden dowel into the base pipes and screwing it down into the top of the bar. We’ll probably do that last, after we’ve refinished the bar top, so there’s a lot to happen before the rail is on!

For our next project, we’ve wanted to replace our coffee table for a while because it’s cheap and old. While I was away one weekend Nik bought a modern-looking table from someone in Carrboro for $50. I thought the price was a little steep, and when he brought it home and I looked at it, we realized its not even real wood. We still like the design though, and it’s a heavy duty table. It was used as a kid’s craft table by the previous owner, so we planned on just cleaning it up, restaining any imperfections, and sealing it with poly since there’s not much else we can do with not-real wood. I spent last night sanding glitter off of it, but I accidentally sanded through some of the finish. Now we’re rethinking this project, and we’re maybe leaning towards spray painting it in a sleek high gloss white, but we’re not sure yet.

Next, when Nik was buying that coffee table, he spied a dining table that was being discarded in the neighbor’s yard. He grabbed the table and the disassembled pedestal legs and toted it home. Once he got home, he realized it was being discarded because not all of the pedestal parts were there…


It needs four of those bottom foot pieces, and there are only two! But, the table was free, so after searching craigslist, we found 4 metal table legs for $40, and Nik worked on stabilizing the table base and screwing the legs into the table bottom yesterday:


After that, we’ll probably sand and paint the table and put it up for sale.

Our final project is an unusual little vanity we picked up for $60. Its an old piece, but it’s interesting and I think it will work nicely as a little girl’s desk (people pay a surprising amount of money for kid things on craigslist). It was a lot shorter than we were expecting when we picked it up, so we found some legs at the lumber store for $45 to attach to it to get it to a more reasonable “desk height”. You can see the lighter color legs we added in this picture:


It has 4 drawers and a large mirror, and we also bought a little kid’s chair at the Raleigh flea market to go with it for $10. The desk is currently primed with paint, and the flat surfaces are painted a very light blush pink color. The trim and chair will be white.

So, those are the 4 seemingly endless projects we’re working on at the moment. It was so hot this weekend we didn’t make much progress, but hopefully we can work on things during the evenings this week!