A Dining Room Table- FINALLY!

Restained Table

I finally found a dining room table that I like:

Restoration Hardware Table

It’s the Grand Baluster Dining Table from Restoration Hardware.  I love the lines of the table- the bulbous legs, the fact that the table top is NOT made of planks (it was hard to find a table that was not planked), the narrow width of the table which I need for my small dining room.

The table meets all my picky requirements, but the problem is that I didn’t like the finish and I didn’t want to pay $1,300 for a table where I don’t like the finish.  I wanted a darker table with a shinier finish. So, I looked on Craigslist and found one for $900 that seats 6-8 that was in the light gray/oak finish that I thought I could refinish to make it look the way I want.

This is the color of the table that I got off of Craigslist:
Oak Table

After carrying this heavy a%$ table down a flight of narrow stairs with another woman my size (wimpy) to get it into my van and almost busting my rear in the process, I took it home and decided to live with the finish for a little while.  Maybe it would grow on me… After about 5 minutes, I was mixing stain to re-finish.  I couldn’t deal with the gray oaky color.  It was too “country” for my taste.  There was also no protection from stains because of the raw quality of the wood and I knew that if I didn’t apply some kind of poly or wax, the table would be quickly ruined since my kids do their homework at the dining room table.

Table Top

I mixed ebony with dark walnut stain by Minwax since I wanted the table to be dark but still brown.  I applied the stain to the underside of the table to see how it looked before taking the plunge to possibly “ruin” the table.

Test StainHere it is with one coat applied:

One Coat

One Coat Close Up

After three coats, the table looked perfect.  It was just the right shade of dark brown except that there was a huge dented line in the middle of the table that happened when I took the table out of the van and the top rubbed against a plastic piece on my van.  I knew I did it at the time, but I thought that staining would make the line less noticeable and instead it did the opposite.  I know, lazy move… I should have just sanded the entire top then and there.   Lesson learned.

ScrapeSo…  I fell asleep that night thinking that I would just live with the imperfection.  I woke up the morning sweating and troubled…  who was I kidding! I’m type A!!!  I couldn’t live with my new table having imperfections!  I re-sanded just those areas until there was no more dent:

Sanded Table and tried re-staining thinking that I would try it this way first instead of re-doing the entire tabletop because obviously I DIDN’T learn my lesson.  I should have sanded the entire top because the areas that I sanded would not take the stain.

Refinished TableThe rest of the table was “raw wood” but my spots were “sanded wood” and I basically sealed the wood with my vigorous sanding and the porous wood was not porous anymore.  I applied  about 10 coats of stain to those spots and the spots were still too light because the stain would not absorb. UGH!  I was so frustrated and there was a lot of swearing involved before I bit the bullet, went to Home Depot for a palm sander, and refinished the entire top of the table.

I sanded the tabletop with coarse grit sandpaper until there was hardly any stain left and re-stained the whole thing which took another 2 days with drying time.  I applied 3 coats of satin poly also by Minwax to the top and it is finally done!  I am so happy with the result and can’t wait to find chairs to go with the table.

Here’s the finished product in all it’s glory!!!

Table Top Whole Table

Restained Table Table Leg

The pics make the table look like it has an organe-y undertone but it doesn’t.  It’s a rich mahogany color.

In this room, I still have to do a lot!:

  • Finally buy a dining room table and chairs!!! (that’s high up on the list!)
  • Eventually get rid of the old wallpaper since it’s looking shabby in places
  • Get some cool artwork to hang (ordered!)
  • Restain the buffet sitting in the garage and move that bad boy into the dining room where it belongs
  • Move the current buffet (which is actually a fish stand) to the covered porch or basement
  • Paint ceiling white
  • Get an area rug