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Antique Gate-Leg Table Restoration Process

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

 I fell in love with this gate-legged table as soon as I saw it at the thrift store.  In it's condition I knew it would require a lot of work.  I loaded it up in my car and worked on it over a few months (it got put on hold for other-pressing projects).  I'm not sure how old it is but I want to guess early 90's because of the hardware used, and joinery + tool markings on the wood.  It's probably Walnut or Mahogany wood - super pretty!


I wish I had the energy (and another person) to drag the table outside for better lighting to show off how awesome it is in person but these 'after' pictures will have to do! :)


When the leaves are up the table transforms to a pretty-big size!  It's sturdy enough as well I thought it could be a cutting/piecing table in my sewing room (.....the front room.... 😁) and then folded down and pushed out of the way when not in use.





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 The broken leg was an easy fix!

 All it needed was some glue...

...and clamps!

One of the legs was wobbly enough I had to reinforce it.  I used my Kreg Jig to drill a few pocket holes...

...plugged the holes and chiseled away excess.

I removed all the hardware, soaked in vinegar to clean, scrubbed/dried and spray painted to keep from rusting (plus I love dark hardware)!

 The legs weren't pretty and I didn't want to sand all the surfaces of EIGHT detailed legs so I tried this Restor-a-Finish for the first time.  Let me tell you - it's AMAZING!!

 See the difference!?  I first used steel wool to scrub off any existing dust, grime or imperfections.  I then used a 0000 steel wool pad to apply the finish.  I'm so excited about this finish!  Wipe off excess with a clean rag and use Howard's Feed-N-Wax to hydrate and polish the wood.

One of the most exciting things I did was put these little felt pads on the bottom of the legs.  Allows the legs to glide over the wood floor when pulling up the leaves and protects them too.

 I did a lot of work to strip the tops of the table.

It was messy!

I got the tops to look pretty good but still had the backs to do after I bought more stripper.

Upon closer inspection I saw that several of the original joints in the wood were separating in a few areas (see the top-middle area?).

  I made the hard decision to cut up all 3 of the large wood panels so they could fit through my planer.  I did this so I could re-glue the joints by cutting down the center of them, but also so I could fix the panels that had a slight bow to them.

After sending the boards through the planer a few times on each side I was able to see the true beauty of the raw wood appear - so rewarding!

I ran the edges to be glued through the jointer to square up before gluing.

The purple boards on top are 'cauls' and have a slight bow to them so that when they're clamped on each end the center has enough pressure to push down, keeping the boards from cupping up while in clamps.

One of the biggest tips I can tell you is to avoid wiping glue when it's wet.  It smears the glue around and pushes it into the pours of the wood creating more sanding then you need - it also raises the grain of your wood if you're using a damp clothe.  Once your glue is 3+ hours dry, take a sharp chisel and cut away the glue - so easy and quick - and no crazy amount of sanding!  I find it's easiest when the glue isn't completely hard and dry but still soft.

 I sanded every surface from 100 to 180 grit.

 A coat of Danish Oil really brought the wood alive.  I  allowed it to cure for a few days.

I applied a few coats of Paste Wax over the table top pieces...

...and added the hardware.

The legs and table top pieces were attached and now the table is waiting to be put to use.


I'm so glad this project is done and so happy with how beautiful it turned out!
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