My great-grandmother’s table

Hiya, it’s Chanda.  It feels like forever since I have added my two-cents to our blog.  Terrible of me, especially since I had promised you all a mini dining room makeover to be updated over the next couple of Mondays.  Please accept my apologies for not delivering on my promise last week.  As I’m sure life takes you all by surprise with unexpected journeys and adventures, I was waylaid tremendously last week.  My entire family has been rallying around my auntie whose fight with ovarian cancer has reached what seems to be the last stages.  Despite the seriousness of her health, we have all been filled with hope and joy as we choose to savor time together.  Truly every stage of life is a beautiful thing, whether filled with laughter or filled with tears.  I have felt so blessed to be on this journey with such an amazing woman…I love my family!!

Perhaps it is completely fitting that my post today is literally the physical manifestation of cherishing my family and my heritage.  The table that I grew-up around eating every meal with my parents and my sister was the table that my great-grandmother served all of her meals on and the table that my aunt would eat dinner at when visiting her grandmother….and now I am privileged to call it my own.  I know that I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago, when I began the task of making over my dining room, that my kids were completely killing the finish on this 85 year old mahogany table.  The proof is in the pudding:

DSC_2640I decided that instead of being an irksomely annoying mom who shouts “no water glasses” on the table…I decided to refinish my heirloom with some super durable spar varnish (the stuff they use on boats!).  Hahaha is what I will say to the fear of rings on my table!!!

DSC_2649I have to admit, it takes a certain amount of fearlessness to take a sander to a table that is nearly a century old.  I know that the dudes on Antique Roadshow would have a complete coronary if they saw me begin this project.  But my response is simply that this table holds more value than simply it’s antique status….it is a table that holds so much sentiment and meaning.  I love eating around it with my family, talking about school and soccer….it’s like a deja vu moment watching my toe-head little girl dig into dinner while struggling to not chat about her day at school with a full mouth.  So, with all that sentiment, I needed to make it visually appealing (so that I didn’t have to struggle with mixed emotions every time I was in my dining room).

DSC_2658Progress was slow going, but the wood was turning out so smooth and gorgeous with the help of the right equipment.  This was totally a job for an electric sander and the right sandpaper.

DSC_2742On big jobs like this, it’s important to use sandpaper with the number 100 to get through the bulk of the old finish and stain.  You can then follow up with a 220 grit to smooth out the wood to a baby’s bottom finish.

With everything smoothed out and ready, it was time to seal the beautiful wood.

DSC_2750I chose a spar varnish that would be clear.  I really wanted to see the gorgeous grain and I knew that the mahogany would have a luscious red finish when all was said and done.

DSC_2752I loved the effects of the sealant!  It didn’t yellow the mahogany one skosh…just beautiful mahogany as you can see on the finished far side of the table.

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Here is the deal….refinishing isn’t hard, it’s just time consuming.  It’s a job that you can’t rush or fudge.  Follow the directions and savor the process, watching the beauty develop…much like I am watching with my family and our journey with my lovely auntie.  So, when the package says wait four hours, then lightly sand before doing a second coat…listen up and follow along.  And, when it recommends doing the process 3 times, jump on that train and go for the full three coats.  In 25 years, you will be thanking yourself for not rushing through and short-changing yourself.  So…

DSC_2757Buff out and reapply!  (Note: use steel wool OO for inbetween coats and OOO after your final coat)

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And again with the sanding…..

DSC_2771Make sure you clean off all the dust before your next coat!

DSC_2775And time for my very last coat!!!!!  Oh la la…I am soooooooo happy with my final project!

DSC_2769DSC_2770DSC_2768Now time to do the darn table leaves!  I’m ok with baby steps….

Check in later this week to see the runner that I am knitting….hahaha this dining room seems to be a project of slowing down and taking all the steps.

Thanks for stopping by and seeing what we are up to!  We really appreciate getting to share our ideas and projects with y’all, it’s part of the many things we are thankful for 🙂

~Chanda

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