Dining Table Makeover

It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally tackled my first furniture renovation project! Our old dining table was a bit too small for the room, so I started searching on Gumtree (like Craigslist) for a bigger, but not too expensive table. I’d been inspired by photos of wooden furniture being given a new lease of life with a bit of patching, sanding and a lick of paint. So when I found a large solid pine table for $50 I jumped at it, even though the table top had quite a few dents and scratches.

dining before scratch

It sat untouched over the Christmas holidays, and well into this year. Just enough time for the dogs to have a good old chew on one of the legs. Great, thanks devil-dogs, now I had even more patching to do!

chewed leg

I wasn’t really sure where to start, this being my first attempt. I headed to our local hardware and was helped by a lovely staff member who used to work at a paint company, so he was full of useful information. I must have looked a bit like a damsel in distress that day, because one of the customers, a painter covered from head to toe with splatters, also took me on as his personal charity case for the day! It was a bit of an information overload, but I was grateful for their advice.

I filled in the dents with wood putty, then started sanding the surface by hand. When Hubs got home, he informed me that I shouldn’t have patched first, because the putty wouldn’t stick well to the varnished surface inside the dents and scratches. Thanks for telling me that now!


He pulled out his orbital sander (with 80 grit paper) and left me to it. I took it down almost to bare wood, and removed most of my patching in the process! Hmm, maybe I WILL sand first, patch second next time! This left only the deepest dents to fill. The legs were a bit trickier, as they were turned. I didn’t fancy trying to sand them, so used ESP (Easy Surface Prep) on them, wiping it off after 5 minutes. This helps the primer/undercoat adhere without the need for sanding. Happy days!

My Dad helped out too. He told me that the brands of paint I’d bought weren’t really great. Nor was the paint brush or roller. Thanks Dad. Tell you what, I’ll return what I bought,  you can go and buy me the RIGHT tools for the job, and I’ll pay you back (one day 🙂 hee hee!). No, Dad was great. He helped me with a last little bit of filling gaps, then with the painting on of the white primer. Then I just had to leave it alone for 48 hours while the paint dried. I had forgotten how stinky paint is! It managed to seep into the house from the garage. 😦

dining table undercoat

The following weekend I had a good look at the table top and noticed lots of tiny dents. I decided to have another go at them, but this time I went around the table with a pencil in hand and circled all of the holes I wanted to fill to make sure I didn’t miss any. Hubs mixed up a different type of filler and we ran around the table madly smearing it on before it set. Because it set so quickly, I could start sanding by hand soon after, using 120 grit paper. Aaah, nice smooth table top. Maybe I’ll wear a mask next time though. I had a nose full of fine white dust by the end of it!

Okay, now fast forward 6 months. Yep, that’s how long the darn table sat in my garage waiting for the job to be finished! Do you think maybe I’m a procrastinator? I just could NOT decide what colour to paint it. First of all it was going to be black, bold and striking. Then I worried that would be too much, so thought grey would be a softer option. White might look nice too, but I was worried if I finished it off with a coat of clear poly it might yellow over time. Then I thought maybe apple green to match my stand mixer…that would be one heck of a statement! Well, those thoughts went round and round in circles for 6 months, I just couldn’t commit to a colour choice.

In the end my mum got so sick of my indecisiveness that she forced  me to choose a colour, and my dad gave the table its final lick of paint. So without further ado, here is our groovy new dining table…

table after 2

In hind sight I should have started with a much smaller project. One that wasn’t going to be such a feature in the main living area of our home. That way I wouldn’t have been so worried about making a mistake or a bad choice. Oh well, we live and learn!


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