I tend to inherit a lot of furniture. If someone no longer needs something, it somehow ends up at my house. Not that I am complaining! Actually, that is how most of my house is furnished! Growing up, my parents had a classic oak-colored claw foot table just like most every other household had. Well, I of course ended up with the table and I have definitely put it to a lot of great use! It even still has the leaf.
As I have said before, show me a picture and I can recreate it! I found pictures of breakfast table makeovers and decided that I could do it! I have read such great things about General Finishes Gel stain, and I have to admit - it is AMAZING!! I ordered it in Java and the instructions read that the product only needed to be roughed up for the stain to work.
First, I used Citristrip to strip off as much of the previous finish as I could. I only applied it to the table top and the actual seats of the chairs, because the rest I planned on chalk painting. I checked it after an hour and it wasn't quite pulling off very much, so I let it sit overnight.
The next morning, I went to scraping. It seemed to pull off some if the prior shine, but I wanted to make sure that the stain really soaked in, so I might have been a little OCD. The stripper recommends using mineral spirits to ensure that all of the stripper is removed. I used steel wool soaked in mineral spirits and I scrubbed most of the remaining shine off and then let dry.
After the chairs and table tops were dry, I put I the first coat of the General Finishes Java Gel Stain and OMG!! It does have the consistency of pudding and a little goes a long way! I used staining pads and it was so much easier than regular stain!
While my chairs dried, I began working on the bottom of the table with chalk paint. The only chalk paint I use is Annie Sloan and we decided to go with Old White. I chose to do the bottom of the table first because it was going to have to be upside down for awhile because I definitely needed to paint over the rust-leaving foot pad screw holes!!
I did not take a picture of chalk painting the chairs because I wasn't sure I was ever going to get through it... Remember back to the pictures of the chairs with all of the BEAUTIFUL spindles! What gorgeous, tedious, frustrating, wood work requiring a small artists brush... Aaaggghhh! Hubby worked night shift during this process and when he got home from work, I was sitting in the floor painting chairs. When he woke up, I was still sitting in the floor painting chairs. I actually think I was still sitting in the floor when he came home the next day! **Note to Self - Sit on a cushion... Pretty sure my butt bone was bruised when all was said and done!**
After waxing the chalk paint and putting three coats of gel stain on all chair bottoms and table top, I was very pleased with the result!
BUT, we still can't use the table because I needed to figure out what finish to use. Now, I am new to all of this! We have always used Stain + Poly (which after using just stain or gel stain does NOT give the same smoothness or quality). Because of my lack of knowledge, I decided to try a variety of finishing products.
Polycrylic went on very easily and felt pretty good. Shellac didn't feel as good and it was a disaster to work with! The finishing wax was the runner up because it really did feel smooth and great, but I wasn't sure it was going to provide the type of protection we needed for a breakfast table. We decided on polyurethane and we finished it with three coats. I lightly sanded the table top with 220 grit sandpaper after the first and second coat of poly because it felt a bit more grainy than the chair bottoms.
I love my new table!! I took my time with this project and didn't rush anything. I wanted to make sure I have the stain and polyurethanes the full time needed to dry. All in all, the project took me about 5 days to complete. When I showed my mom the finished product, she asked if it was her table and said that she would have never recognized it! It fits perfectly with my style and my home!