When Jarrod and I got married, our dining table was a small, rickety, circular black table. It was glossy and not large enough for 4 people. We had 4 black chairs that I like very much, but I knew the table would not be ours forever.
You see, Jarrod and I like to play dominoes. We are expert Mexican Train players and enjoy breaking the set out when we have guests. This small table made it impossible to host a game that included more than just the two of us. (yes, we play dominoes just the two of us...) We also like to have people over to eat, but that's a whole other story. Something had to be done.
I began dreaming about a new table. I knew I wanted something with a leaf, preferably one that could be stored within the table so we didn't need to worry about that. It would need to go with our existing birch bookcases or the black chairs and it needed to be solid and able to with stand many years of family meals, games of dominoes, and dinner parties.
We got serious about finding a table in October. I started searching on Craigslist - I was looking for something that needed a little love, but that would fit all of my criteria. I was willing to put in the work to make it exactly what I wanted if it had good bones. One sunny afternoon we found it. We were at a flea market and found a gem of a table. It was a deep red wood with a laminate top - totally not our color - with solid wood legs, rounded corners, and an extra leaf that fits snugly inside the table. It would comfortably sit 6 without the extra leaf. Ultimately, it was perfect. Minus the color, but I was going to overlook that.
My sweet hubby bargained with the man and we paid him with a hundred dollar bill. Jarrod went home to get his truck and within an hour, I was helping him unload our beautiful new table. I couldn't have been more thrilled. Once we got it in the house, I began dreaming of table runners, colors of stain, and bench seating. Thankfully Jarrod talked me down once again and we lived with it red for several weeks.
I knew I needed to get it done before the weather turned cold - the table would have to be sanded and painted outside on our deck. One weekend in early December the table and I spent a great deal of time together out on the deck. I took it apart, sanded, dusted, sanded, cursed, sanded, and dusted. Finally, a workable surface! Once the legs, table top, and sides were completely sanded down (I used a hand sander for most of it and did a rough sand and then a fine sand) I wiped it down one last time. I did not sand down the laminate completely, just enough to take the paint. We knew we would stain the sides and legs a deep black stain to match the chairs. The top we finally settled on a slate gray.
While I was waiting for the top to dry, I stained the rest of the table. I used Minwax Wood Stain in Ebony and rubbed off any excess between applications. I think it took 4 coats before I was happy with the color. After the final coat, we waited for it to completely dry for 72 hours.
You can see how long this process is taking! In the midst of it, I wished we had a garage where we could do these projects! Once the primer was completely dry, it was time to apply the gray. We weren't entirely sold on gray. I knew I didn't want black (I didn't like the old table) and Jarrod didn't want anything too crazy (like blue, red, etc.) Gray it was! We got several swatches and finally settled on this baby. We lost the swatch, so I can't even tell you what color it was exactly... We just bought a quart of it at Wal-mart and were good to go.
As soon as I started painting, I was sold. I loved that it was dark enough so that it didn't stand out but soft enough to be unique. Thankfully Jarrod loved it too and I continued painting. It took 4 coats before I was really happy with the color. Thankfully, it was latex paint and dried very quickly. I did a coat about every 12 hours until I was happy and then waited another 72 hours for it to set completely.
The final step was the poly. I was not looking forward to this step AT ALL. I bought Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane in Satin and got to work. I did the sides and the legs while Jarrod tackled the top. One coat done! We directed the fan at the table and made sure our animals stayed away for 24 hours. We did another coat. There were some spots in first time that we knew we'd be able to take care of with the second coat. Jarrod had a light hand and smoothed on the poly as gently as possible.
Another 24 hours goes by.
I'm still not 100% happy and think we need to go with a third coat on the top. Worst mistake ever!
We did a final coat and we got bubbles! I'd been warned about bubbles and here they were. We tried to wait and see if they went away. They didn't. So I sanded it down and did one last coat. It's not perfect, but it looks pretty darn good!
Here she is all dressed up for New Year's Eve!