It’s been a bit since I posted. We’ve been busy, but not with anything major. It’s small steps to big projects that will become posts one day but nothing is ever completely done to write about. If you follow my facebook page you’ve seen little sneak peeks of things though. One day they’ll be done and I can share. In the meantime though, I spent my weekend working on what I thought would be a simple little project.
I’m a sucker for old furniture. Especially if it has history. This piece has history. It came out of my grandparent’s farmhouse. When I think of holidays or even just being at the farm which was literally just down the road from where I grew up, this table figures into those memories.
Generally it was just a round table, but it could open up to be longer than the dining room itself with 8 extra leaves in it. This is one of the holidays at the farm–I’m guessing Thanksgiving as we usually went to Chicago for Christmas. That’s my Grandma in the blue sweater with Grandpa to her right. Then there’s my dad with his head just barely in the photo on the right! Oh memory lane. One of my favorite places!
Over the last 12 years or so, my Grandma moved out and my uncle moved in. Then they both passed away and my cousins took over the farm, but didn’t live in the house and the table was neglected.
The table was covered in grease (possibly engine mixed with bacon), dirt and at one point had had a flannel backed vinyl tablecloth stuck to it. That’s the yucky whitish stuff you see on the edge. But I thought nothing a little elbow grease couldn’t solve. But first to convince my husband to help me get it home. He absolutely hates my love of old furniture!
We brought it home and I set to work scrubbing. And scrubbing. And more scrubbing. Rubber gloves and a bucket of hot water with Murphy’s Oil Soap were my friends that rainy afternoon. We bonded like no other. And in the end, we triumphed! However, the work had just begun. The scrubbing revealed that over the years a lot of the finish had been worn away.
You could see just where Grandpa and then Uncle had sat for breakfast each morning, their backs to the wood stove warming up after milking the cows while Grandma made them bacon, eggs and toast with butter and jam. I remember Uncle playing with me sitting at that table when I was just 4 years old. The less distinct wear marks holding his place at the table.
While I love a good history, I wanted this piece to be a star in our new home. So I got out the sander and got to work removing the finish. That only made matters worse! I was destroying things!
No longer was this the beauty she once had been. She was worn out, worn down and crying for love. Looks like I had to strip the finish off. What happened to my 3 hour plan?
After 3 days, rather than 3 hours I had stripped, sanded (again) stained and applied three coats of tung oil. My hands smelled of mineral spirits, I found American Chestnut stain on the bottom of my foot (I was wearing shoes…), and had moved that table in and out of the garage no less than a half dozen times. But she was looking good once again!
She’s in the front living room today. I plan to use her as a library table for now as we don’t have any furniture to speak of in that room. I’ll have a place to write (which means more frequent postings) or do puzzles or even just a board game with the kiddos. I just need to add some chairs. I’m thinking leather tufted parsons chair would be gorgeous around it.
When we get furniture in the front room she’ll have to move to the dining room to become the family (and holiday) table. I just need to figure out where to go with the beautiful island that we have there now.
More memories waiting to be made-my favorite kind!