I came home the other day to find this little lovely sitting by my garbage can. It was as though God had smiled at me and said, "oh, Mandy! you finished your other projects (finally) here's something to occupy you and take up more space in your house and drive your husband crazy!" Well, it did occupy me, but only for one evening. I transformed this baby in 2 hours (which is a record for me). I'm going on about 5 months for a side chair and ottoman.... oops.
She wasn't much to look at while she was sitting forlornly by my garbage cans. She brought back somewhat unpleasant memories of those deceptively wobbly tables covered in a round cloth with a piece of glass over them which were frequently placed in Church foyers, bathrooms, or nurseries. Man, as a kid, I bet I singlehandedly crashed through about eight of them.
This one has nice metal brackets and screw-on legs, so it is rather sturdy - which is good - judging by my past experience and also because I have a gigantic cat who thinks he can climb on anything.
For the table, I wanted to go somewhat modern with some hits of Scandinavian with creamy white and natural wood. Kind of mid-century-ish and trendy. Most of the furniture I buy I try to go a more classic route, just so it doesn't need to be replaced in 5 years. But, hey, this table was free. I could throw it away tomorrow and not really feel one iota of regret.
To start on my table, I unscrewed the legs and detached the metal brackets. and spray painted the bottom and legs white.
Then I drew a hexagon on the bottom of the table top. I don't own a protractor or a compass or any of those fun things (well, the husband does, but I couldn't find one) so I used other "ways" of making a rather convincing hexagon.
Measure the diameter of your table top (straight through the middle). Divide this number by two. Now, cut a piece of sturdy paper or card stock the length of that number (half of your diameter). Pick a random spot on the edge of your circle. Make a mark. Now measure from that mark to another >>
|Measure half of your diameter. Mark Your circle.|
Next, I flipped the table back over and glued and nailed strips of lathe to the top. Make sure they are as tightly fitted to each other as possilbe or you'll have weird gaps in your table top. For this design, I used my compound miter saw to cut the boards at angles - using 45's and then I just eyeballed the larger angles because my saw doesn't go that big and because I like to live dangerously like that.
Now flip it upside-down so you can see your hexagon.
Secure it to your work bench or overlap it on something and put pressure on it.
Saw it off!
Now you have a rough hexagon shape for your table top. If you would like to use wood filler to fill any gaps, feel free.
I like to use a mixture of fine sawdust from my project and wood glue to make a paste. This is easier to stain to match and it is virtually free. Also, wood filler smells funny and never fails to get stuck to my fingers for days.
After you fill in the cracks, counter-sink the nail heads. I don't have a punch, so I just use a big nail and hammer. If you hit the nail on something metal to slightly flatten the pointy end, you'll be a lot happier in the end. Trust me. It's worth one dull nail.
Then fill in those holes with your wood-filler-pastey-stuff, let it dry, then sand away!
After she is nice and smooth, it's time to deal with those ugly chipboard edges.
For the edges, I used some iron on wood veneer strips I had lying around. These are relatively inexpensive ($7 for an entire roll) and have endless uses. From lamps to necklaces (see my wood and leather necklace tutorial here!).
Simply iron it on, trim the edges, and sand any rough spots.
Now screw the legs back on. Give the whole thing a sand-down with 120 grit (or finer) sandpaper. Once you're pleased with the way it looks, use some sort of finish on it. For my table, I did two coats of Danish oil. I like the natural look of Danish oil or Tung oil, and I'm also too lazy to wash out polyurethane-covered paint brushes. Thus a nice, wipe on varnish is just the thing for me.
The next step? Show everyone who comes over to your house your handiwork and shamelessly brag about how you made it out of an ugly old table, all by yourself. Just like a real, live carpenter (or something).
Moral of the story?
There is potential in almost anything,
but not necessarily everything.
(there's a good balance between not being scared of a project or ugly piece of furniture and being able to just say 'no'.)