This vintage Ethan Allen trestle table was given a two tone makeover. The table base was painted a soft white and slightly distressed to give it a rustic feel while the table top was left natural.
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My trestle table picture has been shared on Pinterest quite a bit, but it didn’t have a fairy tale makeover story to go along with it. People have asked for its story and I’m finally going to oblige.
The beginning of this fairy tale started before my blogging days so I don’t have a lot of before or in process pictures to share, but I will share the process and products I used.
I first saw this vintage Ethan Allen table on a Facebook selling site. It had been stored in someone’s garage for years and had lots of damage to the top, along with quite a sticky residue. My first thought was…this table has been put to good (and probably frequent) use as a beer pong table.
But it was nice and solid and big. Really big when the leafs were in place.
So we loaded it up, brought it home, and cleaned it up.
Honestly, it was pretty beat up and over the next couple of years it got a little more beat up. That’s what happens with a soft pine table.
I did paint the chairs shortly after getting the table.
They were my first adventure with homemade chalk paint. I used Plaster of Paris based on my internet research. I later found out Plaster of Paris has carcinogenic properties so I would recommend staying away from it.
Here you can see water rings, dents, dings, and scratches. What you can’t see are the 3 lovely lines of cursive writing. It was a nice little keepsake of my son’s 4th grade writing but one I would have rather had on a piece of paper.
Note: A soft pine table is not the best place for homework to be done without some barrier between the paper and the table…unless you like to keep those permanent writing samples.
I put off refinishing this table for quite a while.
Our summers are way too hot to be working in the garage.
Our falls are too busy with kid activities and usually filled with lots and lots of rain.
The winters are too cold to be staining and sealing in the garage, although they are ideal for sanding and stripping old finishes.
And the spring is filled with way too much pollen.
So you see, I seemed to have had an excuse for the entire year, but let’s get real. I knew how much work it was going to be and I just didn’t want to tackle it. I had a million other house projects going on and I didn’t have the time or energy to put into this one.
Until last November…
I woke up one morning and decided that this was the day it was finally going to happen. The hubs helped me move the table out onto our patio and I spent a good portion of the day sanding it down.
No more dents, dings, or cursive writing for that matter. And since this was before my blogging days, I don’t have any step by step pictures to share with you, but I do have lots of after pictures and I’ll be happy to share the products I used along with how I did it.
Farmhouse Trestle Table Makeover
Sanding And Prepping The Trestle Table
I sanded the table top using my electric sander . Remember to wear proper ventilation protection when sanding to protect against cancer causing agents in the paint and stain dust. I recommend this mask.
You can use Citristrip to remove the old finish; however, you will still need to sand the surface if you want to remove any imperfections.
You can read my step by step tutorial on using Citristrip here.
I scuff sanded the base of the table with a coarse sanding block. This knocked the high gloss finish down and gave the primer/paint something to grip.
After removing as much dust as possible (a vacuum with a brush attachment is great for this), wipe down entire surface with mineral spirits and a lint free rag. Frequently, turn your rag to a clean area so you’re not wiping the grit into the wood grain. Remember, the point is to remove the dust and grit so you’ll have a clean surface to apply your stain.
Primer And Painting The Trestle Table Base
Any time I’m painting a light color over dark stain, I start with a tannin blocking primer to prevent bleed through. Follow the directions on the can especially when it comes to dry times between coats. I can’t state that enough so I’m gonna say it again.
Allow proper dry time between each coat of primer and before starting with your actual paint choice.
Also, use as many coats of primer as needed to cover the old stain. If you can still see the old stain showing through in places, then you will need to do another coat of primer.
Again, make sure you are using a tannin blocking primer.
I then painted the base of the table with Sherwin Williams Ivory Lace. I recommend sealing it with General Finishes High Performance top coat. It comes in a variety of sheens from flat to high gloss.
I sanded the edges with a coarse sanding block to give it a rustic appeal.
Staining The Trestle Table Top
Since the trestle table top is a very soft pine, I decided to use Danish Oil which is combination of linseed (or tung depending on the brand) oil and varnish. This type of oil sinks into the wood and hardens it from the inside out.
Danish oil application is very easy. You simply flood it onto the surface with a cloth and then let it sit for 15 minutes. Apply more oil in areas where the oil was rapidly absorbed.
This is crucial step and where most folks go wrong with using Danish Oil:
When the 15 minutes is up, wipe all excess oil off the table and allow to dry for 24 hours before applying another coat.
I applied a total of 3 coats. For any areas that remain tacky, use 0000 steel wool and mineral spirits to buff out the tacky areas.
According to my woodworking expert buddy at Woodcraft, a top coat or sealer isn’t necessary when using Danish Oil. However, you may need to add a fresh coat of Danish Oil once a year because it’s an oil and the oil will dry out over time.
If Danish Oil isn’t your thing, then I would highly recommend looking at General Finishes Gel Stains.
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