Beauty and the Beast

Out of all the furniture I bought from a huge barn sale last December, this is the piece I was most looking forward to working on. It had everything I was looking for in a piece: solid, veneer in tack, beautiful details and kind on my wallet.  I did have to do a bit of prep work before I could use ASCP on it.

I had never before stained a piece of furniture, let alone a beautiful antique. I had read a lot about the process and thought I would give it a try. I am always drawn to pieces with dark stained tops and painted sides so I created one too. The first thing I did was to sand the table top. I also used Elmer’s wood filler around the edges where a tiny bit of the veneer was missing. Then I lightly sanded the top, the apron and the legs and then gave the entire table a good cleaning. It was muddy and dusty and it looked a million times better with just a good cleaning. I also used shellac on the legs to keep the dark stain from bleeding through the paint.

I kind of took the easy way out when it came to staining. I used a product that combined both the stain and polyurethane so it’s one step instead of two. I liked the sample at Menards so I decided to go for it. I used PolyShades by Minwax. I’m glad I did! It was so easy to apply and it dried smooth and shiny. I used a sponge brush to apply the two coats.  I did not wipe away any excess stain. I just applied the stain in small sections (about two to three inches wide and ran the brush along the length of the table).  I did not repeatedly go over that section once the first coat was applied. It dried quickly and I found once it’s tacky, leave it alone. You can apply more coats after it completely dries.

Once the table top was stained, it was time for me to pick out a color of ASCP. Why this is so hard for me I’ll never know. I decided to use French Linen on the majority of the table and Old White on the hand carved flower details.

All of the details were painted in Old White. I only applied one coat because I wanted to distress it a bit. If you put to many coats on or apply too much, the paint will collect in the details and make a lumpy mess. Believe me that never looks good. Once all of the flowers were painted, I covered the table in French Linen. I lightly covered the Old White Flowers with French Linen. Once the paint was dry, I used 600 grit sandpaper to sand off some of the French Linen that was painted over the Old White. I also distressed some of the edges to make the carvings pop. I applied clear wax to the apron and legs of the table.

This was the most time consuming project yet. It took forever to paint each detail making sure not to slop on the paint. Sanding every flower petal was also a hassle. I even tried to use a rotary tool but I couldn’t find an attachment that was the right size or didn’t completely take off all the layers of paint. My fingers hurt so bad that I swore I would never tackle another project like this again. The funny thing is I already have a pair of end tables with similar carvings (I lovingly refer to them as her twin sisters) waiting in my basement for the same royal treatment.

In the end it was worth all the blood, sweat and tears. This table went with me to the Kane County Flea Market and found a new home. I guess in the end, never say never!

I’m going to try something else on her “twin sister” side tables. I am going to use a glaze over the lighter color, perhaps French Linen over Old White, so I can avoid all the sanding. I’ll keep you posted and let you know how it worked.

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  • stonetoad

    Exquisite!  I’m speechless.  It looks like it was a true labor of love and I sooooo love those nesting cloches.  So happy to see a post from you Rachel.  Summer is just around the corner, here’s to hoping you have a nice long well deserved break.
    XO  Lisa

  • stonetoad

    Hi Rachel, me again.  I can’t seem to ever log into your comments section with the right ID to show that it is me Lisa of 16 L Street.  Not sure what’s up.  Just want you to know which ‘Lisa’.
    Have a great day!

  • Yvonne Pratt

    What an intricate piece… you really put a lot of thought and time into making this a masterpiece! What a lovely impressive table. The white details really make this piece! Beautiful job!

  • Paula Sutton

    Amazing transformation.  Love the glass cloche too!

  • Rachel Polly

    I’ve got a lot of feedback on the cloche. I made the glass cloche on the inside of the larger one. I will have to add that to my project page! Thanks for your feedback!

  • Samantha Rae Shelton

    I’m in love with the details of this piece!  My husband calls me the table lady….if I see an old table in need of some lovin it comes home with me :) !  I’m currently working on a VERY similar table with the same technique!  Great job this table is simple amazing!