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Clawed Beauty

July 19, 2011

A little Tony the Tiger love to get this Tuesday started. Really has nothing to do with our furniture before & after, except that I mention “Tiger Stripes” a few times, and the fact that this is the cutest picture of Nick.

I left for work one morning, and left my hubs (yes the same young chap in the photo above) at home…with this…

And came home to this!

Ok, so you will find out it took more than 1 day if you read my post and add up the time, but it was amazing to see the before and after on this project. She’s leggy and beautiful (just life your wife ;), right?) Job well done Nick!

This gorgeous antique table was handed down to us from Nicks parents. We’re not exactly sure when and where it came from, it was found in the attic of his grandparents house – probably from a distant relative.  His older sister had it in her college house in Madison, and I believe it was painted pink and yellow at the time.

After we moved into this house, his parents asked if we wanted a small claw-foot table that they had tucked away in their basement. With so many bare rooms to fill, we would have said yes to anything, and had no idea much how much potential this piece had.

Nicks dad starting stripping the paint for us, but with all the detail and tiny areas, it would have taken forever. He took it to a professional place that was able to completely clear the table of all paint within a few minutes with a spray and dipping technique.

If I ever remember anything my dad has taught me about furniture restoration, it’s that I should never strip paint – not even be in the same room. The chemicals are particularly dangerous for women and he always says “I don’t want flipper grandchildren” so I was thankful that we got the table all clean and ready for some stain. Thanks pops Hansen!

We really had no idea what we were doing before this, but with Google + trial and error, here is what we did:

1) Sand down the entire table, first with a low grit paper (80) to get all the rough edges smoothed down, and then with a high grit (220) to get it nice and smooth to the touch. Wipe down the entire table and make sure it’s dry before you apply the stain.

My suggestion was to possibly add a bit of jazz to the toe-nails of the feet of the table. What do you think?

2) Stain the table. We used Minwax oil-based wood stain in Jacobean. Apply the stain with a brush in the direction of the wood grain, then wipe off the access with a cloth to blend the lighter and darker areas. We wanted the stain darker in color so we let it sit for about 10 minutes and then wiped it off.

The legs have a deep spiral carved into them, beautiful, but difficult to stain so MacGyver Nick rigged some sort of device in our backyard to hang all the legs for staining and drying. I can only imagine what the neighbors are thinking at this point with a string of wooden legs across our yard.

Use the technique in step #2 over the entire table. For a deeper stain, after 4-6 hours of dry time, apply a second coat with the same techniques.

Do you see those stripes in the photo above? We had no idea those existed in the wood grain. After we sanded down the table and applied the stain, they popped. Apparently this “tiger-stripe” pattern is caused by the way the individual piece of wood was cut. Gotta love those pleasant surprises!

If the hanging legs weren’t creepy enough outside, at night we had to bring them in and hang them from our basement ceiling. It was like a strange Wipeout obstacle course.

If you want an uneven stained look – semi-distressed – you can always sand off the stain in only some areas and layer it back on over the entire piece.

3) Set the stain. Once you have the stain how you want it, apply two coats of polyurethane to seal in the color and protect the table. We used Minwax clear satin, and applied a thin layer over the whole table.

4) Lightly sand the table after it has dried for 4-5 hours using a fine sandpaper (220 grit). Apply a second coat, and a third if desired. Let the entire piece dry for over 24-hours before you use it.

We put the table back together after it was all dry and loved how it looked in our dining room, it matched perfectly with our dark wood floors and trim.

And now onto the fun part! Our plan for this clawed beauty is to turn it into a mini-bar. Every time I am in an antique shop or secondhand store, I’m on the lookout for decanters and unique looking glass vessels. We figure, as long as we display the alcohol in beautiful containers, no one will ever know we are pouring the cheap stuff 😉  Kidding!

Here are a few pics that I am diggin’ right now for staging the table. Cheers!

{images via pinterest}


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