Athough you CAN make pretty decent money from furniture rehab, sometimes it’s not all about the Benjamins. I began this journey not to make money (I was buying storage units), but to keep some of the awesome, albeit broken, furniture from the dump. I grew, over time, to love the idea saving these pieces almost as much as the transformation itself. Sometimes, it’s about saving a piece, just to save it. There are many times that I put so much work into a piece, that I can never sell it for what I have into it. This is one of those pieces.
So one day I was out junkin’, because it’s what we do. I happen upon a yard sale. All I saw were piles of clothes, dishes, board games and plants. Off to the side was a roll off (those HUGE trash containers), and to be honest, I typically don’t stop at these kind of yard sales. This time I did. So I’m out looking around and underneath a huge potted plant, I see it. The MOST adorable, antique, plant stand. Well, to be honest I see a leg. I hear a little voice say ‘Help me’!…. ok, ok, not REALLY, but I was intrigued. So I asked if I could move the plant to look at it, and under the plant, and piles of clothes around it, I see this little gem.
To be completely honest, I should have run hard and run fast from this one. BUT – I just couldn’t! So I asked ‘how much?’, knowing full well that if it didn’t sell (and it would definitely not in that condition), that it would be tossed in the dumpster. Yes, it was in THAT bad shape. She asked for 5 dollars and I paid it, loaded it up and took it home to see exactly what mess I’d gotten myself into this time. And, oh, what a mess it was. Check out the picture of the top! Someone either drilled a hole in it, or at one point it had another tier. Either way, after the years of plant water and abuse, it was in sad, sad shape.
On top of the obvious problem with the top, nearly every leg was loose, and veneer was either lifting or gone in many places. The hand carved ‘skirt’ of the table was just hanging in one spot. This was going to take a LOT of patience and time to fix… but I was determined. My first step was to pull it all apart, and clean all of the pieces very well. It had many bad repair attempts over the years, which resulted layers of dried glue. In order for the pieces to fit correctly again, that all had to be taken off.
The next step want to secure the skirt of the table. These are all hand carved, solid wood, so I really wanted to make sure I did it the way it would have been done originally. This piece was all glue and dowel construction. No nails or screws were used. I used wood glue and ‘C’ clamps to re-affix the skirt. Please note that I used stir sticks between the table top and the clamp. This keeps your clamps from denting the top as you’re tightening the clamp. Even though the top isn’t restorable, I used them anyhow to illustrate the importance.
My next step was to re-attach the legs. I had to make sure that all of the old dried glue was cleaned off of the surface and out of the dowel holes. This is really important so that the pieces will fit back together correctly, and create a great seal with the glue. Using a rubber mallet, I tapped the legs into position and because I couldn’t use a furniture clamp, I heavily weighted them. I used a board and a level to make sure they were in the right position and straight.
The next step was to deal with the top. This part, perhaps, made me the saddest about the entire process. There was beautiful inlay on the top, however there was so much of it missing (not to mention the water damaged hole in the middle), that I really had no choice other than paint. So I got out my trusty Bondo (yes, car Bondo) and got to filling. One of the biggest questions I get asked is ‘Why Bondo over Elmer’s Wood Filler?’ I think wood filler is fine for small blemishes, but Bondo is strong, doesn’t shrink or crumble, and sands super smooth. I will warn you, that you will want to use it in a well ventilated area, as it does have a strong smell. After the Bondo is dry, I sanded the entire top smooth. Just a little tip: When using Bondo, I tend to over fill the area, and then sand it smooth. This saves you from having to do another layer if you accidentally didn’t fill the area enough.
Now that the piece has been cleaned, torn apart, and put back together, the actual fun starts. I started by painting the base in Dixie Belle Caviar. I used a small artists brush around the details, because I had plans for those areas. Once the based was done, I used Dixie Belle Metallic Copper base and top coats for the top and the details on the legs. I cross hatched and stippled the top to give it a slightly textured, almost leather like appearance.
Although Dixie Belle doesn’t require a sealer after the full cure, I chose to seal the piece with Dixie Belle Spray wax. This keeps the matte finish, but gives some instant protection. It also keeps dust and finger prints easily wiped off. This spray was is super easy to use. Just spray it on, wait about 15 seconds and wipe it in.
To add some extra bling, I used Dixie Belle gilding wax in Hammered Copper on the carved edges.
So to be honest, I probably should have run far, far away from this one. I put WAY more time into it, than will ever come out of it in the form of a sale. That being said, people ask me ‘was it worth it, then?’ I answer with a resounding YES! If anything, I saved a piece of history from destruction. Sometimes, it’s not about the money.
Here’s a list of the products I used and where you can get them. Some of these are affiliate links. This means that I get a small percentage of the sale, but it doesn’t cost you any more. It only helps me to keep my blog going. Thanks for your support!
Sheri’s Amazon for clamps, glue, etc. go here.
You can find Dixie Belle Products here.