Farmhouse Coffee Table : Flippin’ Furniture Project
Steps to Refurbish the Piece:
Inspect for Damage. I knew the old coffee table was in bad shape– it had deep nicks, gouges, and scratches all over it, especially on the legs and outer edges. My biggest concern was the damage to the top surface, created by overflowing candle wax. I admit, I’ve been making homemade candles for years and it was probably my obsession with candles that led to this ginormous surface flaw. Oops 🙂 My first round of cleaning and sanding the surface with my Black & Decker Mouse focused on the deep gash, and after a few minutes of sanding with the foam pad attachment, was clear the top would have to go! The hollow created by the wax was too deep and any stain or paint applied would be uneven, not to mention frustrating.
Embrace the Unexpected. One key to refurbishing used furniture is being flexible…something I’ve had to teach myself. It is impossible to approach a project with a rigid vision of the end product when working with old, used furniture. You never know what the wood will look like underneath all the paint or what unexpected complications might arise. Work with what you have and revise your plan as issues pop up—and they usually do!!
In this case, I took the top off, which was a SUPER FUN process. It involved lots of flipping and turning the table at different angles and crawling around with a flashlight and screwdriver to take out all the screws holding the top piece of wood (32 inch square) to the frame of table. Once this was done, I took a mallet and smacked the top square from the bottom until it came loose (which was very gratifying)!
Now I had a square table frame with 4 legs, no top and very little energy. The next day I searched Pinterest & blogs for ideas & inspiration. When DIYing—Adapt! Research! Refocus!
Settle on a Plan-Make it Work: After measuring, researching, and lot’s of Pinter-est surfing, I decided to build a custom top for the table frame using planks of wood. Building a top out of plank boards, sometimes called barn boards, or pallet boards, would meet the demands posed by the awkward shaped frame. Basically, I would build a custom-made top to fit the 32” square. Since I had never built anything from scratch before, I read a lot of tutorials online. Being the organized, OCD-ish, teacher that I am, I gathered together a list of materials and tips that I combined together to create my own DIY guide that I can follow step-by-step and edit as a go. For me, the more detailed, the better!
Create a List of Materials: There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a DIY project, getting it done, and focusing on the end result when you run out of supplies or need something you didn’t have in the first place. Not having the necessary supplies is incredibly frustrating and brings your project to a screeching halt. I tend to get super-focused on a task and forget everything else around me. I think I learned to compensate for my tendency for procrastination and distraction by forcing myself to be incredibly organized. In D-I-Y Projects, it tends to be a BIG advantage!
As an example of my (sometimes) annoying, yet (always) efficient habits, I have attached the HOME DEPOT LIST I made of all my materials used in this project— I literally handed the list to the Home Depot guy and he almost fell over with praise and admiration for you being the rare customer who knows exactly what they want for a D-I-Y project!!
MEASURE & BUY: I started by getting the 1×4’s. I measured ahead of time so I knew exactly how big I needed them. This involves lots of numbers–so I had someone check my measurements (just in case)! Get them sanded, flat, and ready to stain. Make sure when you’re picking out your lumber, you choose the straightest, nicest pieces of wood. You’ll want to make sure they lay flat & aren’t warped at all. If you plan on staining the wood—look for boards with a nice grain.
CUT THE WOOD: I had the Home Depot guy cut the boards for me (he was happy to help, and usually are no matter where you go). I used an old table and needed my boards cut 32 inches in length. This equals 2.677 feet. (ADVICE): “Measure twice, cut once!!” (or have the Home Depot guy cut once….hopefully)!
STAIN: I gave the boards a nice coat of stain. I Used Minwax in red mahogany stain. (TIP): Do both sides of the board and the ends. That way if you have to remove boards or reorder them, all the ends will be finished. The (2) ends of the boards are very porous and will soak up more stain so save the ends for last so you can use whatever stain is leftover on your rag. Wherever you place your rag right after dipping will be darker—so be ready to start wiping with the cloth immediately.
APPLY POLY: I went back and lightly sanded the boards with a hand sander to bring out the wood grain, lighten the color & make the wood porous. I applied a coat of Minwax Wipe-On Polyurethane after the boards dried. I noticed an immediate brightening of the wood planks that made a big difference in the appearance of the table top. (TIP): You can apply as many coats of Poly in between light sanding until the wood looks how you want it to. I applied 3 coats while the boards were separate and one final coat once the boards were attached to the table frame. This helped give the coffee table top a uniform look.
BUILD THE TABLE TOP:
I lined the stained boards up on the floor just to make sure they would look uniform on the finished table top. (THINGS TO CONSIDER):I found 2 boards that had a nice finish on the sides since they will be exposed—and I chose them to use on the end. As I was staining, one side of the board naturally looked better than the other. (TIP): Turn the boards over to the stained side that looks the best & place so they create the top. Make sure the boards look uniform & flow well together during this process! Catch any mistakes & fix with light sanding and poly.
APPLY LIQUID NAILS:
Once the boards were stained, & dried, and I was finally happy with how they looked — it was time to apply the liquid nails & build the table frame. To make the application of the liquid nails easier (and keep my hands from hurting), I used a caulking gun to squirt the glue out and it was awesome and FAST!
Knowing the boards would hang off the edge about 3/4″ on each end, I didn’t put the glue all the way on the ends. I did have to apply the Liquid Nails to the sides and bottom of the boards which means I had somewhat of a sticky mess. Keep clean baby wipes at hand…you will need them…I DID! Use a clean one each time or fold it over, or it WILL smear!!
ADD THE FINISHING TOUCHES:
Wait for the glue to dry overnight. (TIP): Flip the table over & add something heavy in the center to secure the boards firmly. In the morning, check the boards to make sure they are stable & steady. I saved the support beams that I removed along with the table top. I screwed the thin support beams (in their original holes) to 2 sides for extra support before placing the end pieces. (TIP) You could get extra wood cut for this purpose if you are building a new top like I did.
After Pics of the Coffee Table: