While searching for antique furniture recently I came across this really pretty little round vintage table. I absolutely love the black cast iron base, but I definitely didn’t love the wood tone finish of the wood.
Since the base was so amazing, I figured this one would be worth refinishing. Sanding and restaining the top would be easy because it’s flat and small.
However, one other problem I realized after getting it home was that it was really unlevel. As usual, it turned into more of a project than I bargained for.
Stripping The TableTop
First, I brought it outside and sanded the old finish off with a palm sander. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think there’s a better way to strip furniture than to sand it. I’ve tried them all and there are no shortcuts that work as well.
That came off easy enough and left me with a nice unfinished wood. I have two really pretty chairs that go well with this vintage table. My plan was to stain the top to match the wood on those chairs. I knew that was going to take time. And trial and error.
How TO Level A vintage Table
So before working on the stain, I wanted to be sure I could level this first. It was way off.
I flipped it over and my husband helped me put some wedges underneath the table top hoping that would do the trick.
It did help but it was still off. We were pretty stumped at this point but I realized if I could put something under the feet to get it level, it would probably work.
My husband suggested those round cloth things you put under furniture legs so they don’t scratch the floor. It was a good idea but I had reservations about it. First, they never stay on, Second, I was sure they wouldn’t be thick enough for what we needed.
Then I remembered this Sugru putty I had used a while back to hang a magnetic knife strip on my kitchen wall. According to their website, Sugru is a moldable glue that sets into durable silicone rubber. It’s said to be great on a number of different repairs so I figured it was worth a try. I still had some leftover.
It’s held up great on my kitchen wall. The knife strip hasn’t moved at all and that’s the only thing holding it up.
Sugru is said to be heat and cold resistant as well as waterproof. So I made a little horseshoe out of it and applied it to the bottom of the table. The putty comes in several different colors. Obviously, I used black.
I used a level to try and get the desired height in the right areas.
I let it sit for well over the 48 hours recommended as per the directions for load-bearing objects. How much of a load this will hold, I didn’t know so it was a risk.
Fortunately, the risk paid off, and it is holding up well so far. I’ve had it bearing the weight of the table for a week or two now and it hasn’t flatted out at all.
using gel stain
As for the top, after sanding it down to bare wood, I decided to try a gel stain on this one. You may remember I tested the clear gel on a recent desk makeover. This time I tried Fusion gel stain and topcoat in the espresso color.
For this gel stain, you apply it with a paintbrush. The directions say no need to wipe off as you go.
I applied it very lightly, practically dry brushing it on because I didn’t want to make it too dark too fast. As you can see even with a very light application the color was pretty deep.
Once it was fully dry, I lightly sanded it with fine-grit sandpaper to lighten it up just a bit. I debated whether to do another coat and go darker because I was curious about what that might look like.
Ultimately, I decided against it. I didn’t want to have to start over if I didn’t like it.
Fusion gel stain says it’s odorless so I applied it inside rather than drag the table outside. It’s small, but the iron base is heavy. After staining it indoors, I would not recommend it. I did find the odor to be too strong for inside use.
Other than that, I’m happy with the gel stain. It’s very easy to use. It’s only offered in four colors right now so I’d like to see them add more options to the line. The Espresso isn’t an exact match to the chairs but I’m ok with the variation.
This cute little vintage table is a perfect fit with these cafe chairs. I bought the table to resell at the antique shop and now I think I’ll sell the chairs with it.