Antique Table Makeover Sans Paint
My table looked pretty nice before the makeover. But, the finish was dull and dry.
Because there was no protective finish on the table, it was only getting duller and drier as it aged.
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- VM&P Naphtha by Klean Strip
- Tung Oil Finish by Minwax
- Howard Wax with beeswax and orange oil
- Imperial Wetordry sandpaper, 400 grit, by 3M
- Tack Cloth by HDX (3-pack)
- Disposable Nitrile Gloves
- Soft, lint-free cloths for buffing
My first step was to clean the wood. Because my table did not have a varnish or painted finish on it, I did not need to use a stripper. I used VM&P Naptha cleaner.
It’s important to used Naphtha outdoors. The smell is very strong, and you need the best ventilation possible. For this reason, I asked Mr. B. to help me to carry the table out onto our back porch.
Next, I applied a coat of tung oil finish with a soft, lint-free cloth and left it overnight.
After the tung oil finish set overnight, I sanded my table with 400 grit sandpaper.
I removed any dust by wiping the table down with a tack cloth.
Next, I applied a second coat of tung oil finish. Again, I left it to set overnight.
This day was a repeat of Day 2.
Again, I sanded the table, wiped the dust off with a tack cloth, and applied a third coat of tung oil finish.
The basic idea is to build up the finish with repeated coats of tung oil finish, sanding between coats.
This way you’re really letting the tung oil finish seep into the wood.
The light sanding between coats assures that you build up a smooth finish.
Wiping the wood with a tack cloth after sanding removes dust to get the wood ready for the next coat of tung oil.
On Day 3, I applied my third coat of tung oil finish. (I did not take additional pictures).
Let Cure for One Week, Then Wax
After applying the repeated coats of tung oil finish, I moved the table inside again and let it sit for a week.
Next, I applied 3 coats of Howard Wax with beeswax and orange oil. Between coats, I let the wax dry for about 20 minutes, then wiped off the excess and buffed with a soft, lint-free cloth.
Wait Two Days before Styling
After applying the wax, I waited two days before putting things on the table to style it. This is because I didn’t want to leave any marks in the wax as it dried and hardened.
The Finished Product!
History of this Table
The main reason that I did not want to paint this table is because I can authenticate its origin.
There is a sticker inside the drawer showing that the table was manufactured by the Imperial Furniture Co. of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Click here to read the history of the company.
On the company website, I was able to find that the logo on my table was used by Imperial to label furniture manufactured in 1939.
Styling the Finished Table
To add some style, I decided to display a few interesting items on my newly made-over table.
I have a reproduction of an Early American stenciling craft called “Theorem Painting” in which the crafter fills in the design with oil paint on velvet. My piece was created by Virginia artist Donna Lacaria.
Next to the theorem painting, I put an antique Austrian vase that is approximately 100 years old. Other than the marking “Austria” on the bottom, I’m not sure about the origin of the vase. It belonged to my great grandmother.
Takeaways from This Project
- As you can see from this post, the table makeover was not a “quick” DIY. It’s important to wait between steps for the finish to set up.
- This entire table is solid wood. Some parts have a mahogany veneer. Some parts are solid walnut.
- I have nothing against painted furniture. But, with an antique like this table, I would not want to paint it.
- I’m pleased with the lustrous finish that I ended up with on this table.
What about you? Have you done any furniture makeovers, recently? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
Enjoy Life Creatively!