Table Progress

May 19, 2009

I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of table I want in our dining-room-turned-art-space. Should I buy one? Maybe the Strut Table I’ve been in love with for ages from Blu Dot? Should I build something? Maybe use trestles from Ikea and a hollow core door? Except Colorado doesn’t have an Ikea. (What the?!)

Then I saw this photo in Downtown Chic, the Sixx Design book I just posted about, and fell in love. It’s so old and worn and beat-up and beautiful. My kids could paint on it or cut on it or dent it and it wouldn’t matter even a little bit. So I hired my nephew Josh to help me build something like it. We don’t really know what we’re doing, but the rough nature of the finished project allows for mistakes. Which is perfect. Here is our progress:


We’re building it as big as we can based on the sheet metal that was available. We think when it’s finished it will be able to seat 10 very comfortably, and 14 pretty comfortably. Once it’s built, I’ll decide on the finish. Possibly I’ll try to make it look aged. (I have no idea how I would go about doing this, if you have any tips, please share.) Possibly I’ll just paint it.

Once it’s finished (assuming the table turns out cool), I’ll write up something with more details, sources and instructions.

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rebecca May 19, 2009 at 5:10 pm

I have no tips, but I love that photo of the kids holding their ears… too cute.

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2 Carissa(GoodnCrazy) May 19, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Okay first? Colorado? Huh? I thought you were my NY friend? What did I miss?

Okay I scrolled down to the Arapahoe library post…

And second… just up and make the dang thing yourself?? Ca-OOOL

Oh and my post today talks about the summer of 2012 vacationing in Colorado.. so it must have been destiny to stop by today..
Or maybe that sounds creepy.. ? Oh well…!

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3 Ceridwen May 19, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Neat. Post pictures of the finished product. What couch did you pick?

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4 resa troyer May 19, 2009 at 5:28 pm

we have a stainless table. my husbands grandfather, a retired dairy farmer, made it for our wedding gift. it’s awesome. easy to dress up and always dressed down. i believe the top is made of mdf and then the stainless sheet was glued down and folded over edge (i think the folding was done first at a metal shop). the legs come off the top, so that’s great for moving (we’ve done it lots). the mdf made it really heavy, but i think it will last a lifetime. he told us the frame and legs are made of old barn beams and church pews. it’s a fun to think about their story.

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5 Annie May 19, 2009 at 5:35 pm

I feel your pain about IKEA. I live in Nebraska and have to drive to Minneapolis or Chicago for the closest one. I wonder when the husband and kids will figure out that our biannual trips to Chicago are really just a ruse…

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6 Sue May 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm

I’m dying to see this so that I can have my father-in-law help me build one. I currently am loathing my hand-me-down kitchen table and chairs and have been dreaming of something new for my funky house.

You have to plan for IKEA living in Colorado – either Draper or Tempe is closest for me, but I’m way southwest in Colorado.

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7 mere May 19, 2009 at 5:39 pm

try googling metal with patina finish…

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8 brooke May 19, 2009 at 5:53 pm

i think the sheet metal will get a nice aging on it’s own with the kids playing around and eating.

as for the wood base, my dad is a pro at this. he is great at distressing furniture, and we all helped out as kids. your kids would probably have a blast. you just get a bunch of funny tools, like one that does little holes (worm holes), a big chain, and other random metal tools, and bang away! you can do big gouges and smaller scratches and you can use a sander to make some larger worn-down spots. then the last thing you want to do after staining the wood is take some black stain and fill in all the distressed parts so they have a little more depth.

last time we even used some letters from my dad’s letterpress and hid each of our first initials somewhere on the table, so that could be fun for your kids as well – a good little reminder that they helped and that the table was made just for you guys.

anyway, that is just my two cents – good luck with whatever you decide to do!

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9 roxanne May 19, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Thought I would pass along some good news…it was announced back in Sept 08 that Ikea is coming to Centennial CO (Park Meadows area) with a opening date in early/mid 2010.

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10 Catherine May 19, 2009 at 5:54 pm

That table is Old World gorgeous! Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

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11 Alicia W. May 19, 2009 at 5:55 pm

I am guessing your closest Ikea is the one in Draper. I love that you are building your own table! Very cool!

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12 Miriam May 19, 2009 at 5:58 pm

That’s going to be rad.

I’ve been daydreaming lately about something metal to cover our kitchen countertops. We aren’t renting, but we’re not planning to be here long enough to invest in an actual remodel. I hate the 80′s cream tile we have going on.

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13 roxanne May 19, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Correction…I just read that the Ikea in CO could take up to a year to get final approval (early/mid 2010) and it typically takes 18 months from ground breaking until store opening.

So we’ll just have to keep making trips to Draper until 2012.

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14 Mixing Bowl Mama May 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm

My husband and I went to Paris last Spring and saw almost an exact replica of that table in a shop there. I took a picture of it (weird, I know) and have had it on my wall forever in hopes of having something similar one day. I’m coveting it like you can’t imagine. We have the table, a long, farmhouse type of table and I think all we have to do is buy some metal and attach it but I’m not sure…maybe I should check out this book you mentioned. I can’t wait to see the finished pics!

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15 liz stanley May 19, 2009 at 7:33 pm

so cool. i love all these house projects you are doing. lots of inspiration!

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16 Gina Schmitz May 19, 2009 at 7:40 pm

awesome idea! love the picture of the kids! LOL!

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17 rebecca May 19, 2009 at 7:46 pm

oh i am so looking forward to the photos when its finished!

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18 charise Harper May 19, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Just thought I’d add a comment. My husband and I built some radiator covers last year and we covered the tops with zinc. It’s a little softer than sheet metal and it has a really nice patina. If you want to see them they are posted on Designsponge in their sneak peaks section. Just look up my name (Charise Harper) to find them. Good Luck!

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19 Laurie1024 May 19, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Love the look! I’ve made some of my own furniture, it’s fun. Not sure where you’re building it but if it’s not in the space where it will reside make sure you can make it around corners, etc. There’s nothing so sad as when a beautiful piece has to be cut down to make it into the room! Good luck!

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20 Kim May 19, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Oh my goodness!!! I want to make one!!! I just have no place to put it!!! Good luck!

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21 Anonymous May 19, 2009 at 8:06 pm

you can get table legs at tablelegs.com (natch!)

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22 Melissa, The Mom May 19, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Here you go. I’ve had this link for awhile and have been planning on making a table as well. This guy gives some great instructions on how to do it and a lot of info about different finishes as well. Good luck and hope it helps. Oh, if the link doesn’t work, go to the root website and search for zinc topped tables. http://www.rotometals.com/Zinc-Sheet-Videos-s/55.htm

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23 Rosanna Seabold May 19, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Wanted to share a great source for big old tables. We live in a university town in Iowa and there is a surplus store for all the furniture and equipment the university no longer needs. This includes amazing old library tables, lab tables, chairs, etc. If you are near a university, check and see if they have a surplus type store. The prices cannot be beat (I spent $20 on a big old table for our library).

Good luck and can’t thank you enough for all that you share ~~

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24 Mary Beth Magee May 19, 2009 at 9:14 pm

After you beat the wood up a little bit, sand it smooth, beat it some more then do a couple of coats with Briwax stain and polish. It gives a great finish.

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25 Amber May 19, 2009 at 9:45 pm

There are two options for your leg/base structure. You’ll have to decide what style of finish you are going to use on it, meaning will it be unfinished wood at the end or will you want to stain and lacquer it? My favorite is unfinished wood then I can change the look of it on a wim.

Also, you are lucky that you are building the table because now you can keep all wood scraps! These can be your test pieces…is the stain thin enough? Will these colors go together? Am I brave enough to start hitting this beautiful structure with a hammer and chains?

Option 1 unfinished: Treat wood with varying tints of tung oil (we found them at Fred Meyer) using different applicators such as rags, natural sponges, paint brushes, window washing applicators with squeegees (you know like ones for your car windshield—it’s cool to put the oil on and then squeegee it off), use cups and mug ends to make rings, or crumpled newspaper…I have yet to find something that didn’t work. Your kids can help with this part. Apply, rub in. Or apply and quickly wipe off to a achieve desired effect. Then, distress you’ve had a couple good tips on this. We like chains, wire brushes, awls, ball-pin hammer, those combs used on horsed that have metal spiny teeth, chisels. I like the look when you lay down a chain and then put a board on top of it and hammer on top of it or jump on it, it makes a nice chain indentation. We’ve even used spikes on golf shoes…they were from Salvation army…not my husband’s. You can also use oil-based (HAS to be oil-based if your are using tung oil) tinted paints that have been thinned using the appropriate product. Read the can. I have a deep mahogany that I like to use on the ends where the wood meets itself or around the screw/nail holes. For me there really is no finishing for method. Just keep the wood oiled from time-to-time with a clear polish.

Second Option Stain and Lacquer Finish: Similar to option one, find stains and thin them using the appropriate product (it will depend on the stain.) Read the can. Apply them with whatever you can think of, as thick or as thin as you would like. This is a less child friendly method and takes some time to let the stains set so you get the real effect. I usually alternate between the stain, and the distress, then stain again (slightly), then distress again (slightly.) Finish, with a lacquer or varnish, choose a low shine option. It looks better on distressed pieces.

The metal top has some great options too. As a prop for a photo shoot I just finished we used a bronze glaze that is for outdoor metal furniture. Distressed it slightly. Added some extra nails and screws in random places. Then spilled some paint on it let it sit for a couple of hours (over one of the clusters of screws) and wiped off what we could. Then, wirebrushed some more of it off. It was fantastic.

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26 Jena May 19, 2009 at 10:15 pm

That is a stunning table. Can’t wait to see the finished product. (Good luck!)

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27 Lindsey May 19, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Take a heavy guage chain to it to rough it up. Dark Stain, and a black glaze over the top. . . that’ll do ya.

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28 Anonymous May 20, 2009 at 2:31 am

Wonderful old table. Question: when you sit up to it, do your knees fit under or are the sides too low? I’d want to plan for that.

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29 Tracey Willey May 20, 2009 at 9:36 am

I was going to comment on distressing furniture but after scrolling through, I saw that “brooke” had already covered it.
You could also distres with paint.
1)apply 2 layers of a base color don’t fret about complete coverage.
2) seal base color with 2-3 layers of poly.
3)apply top color (either signigantly lighter or darker than the base color. there needs to be a contrast)experiment with top color applications. Dry brushing can be fun but for that pottery barn look you will want it to be solid-unable to see the base color.
4)now sand selected areas through till you see the base. (Focus on the edges and areas that would naturally be worn down with time. Typically the “middle” is the least worn.)For an ULTRA distressed look you could try the “Wham, slam” effect as mentiond by “brooke” earlier. (note-worm holes are a must for any distressed piece)
6)Paint distresssing is a great way to up-do an old piece. Our WHOLE house is filled with salvaged pieces foudn at yard sales, good will, craigs list, etc.

Good luck! I really appreciated this post. Our family has outgrown our kitchen table and you have inspired me…

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30 daniel May 20, 2009 at 9:48 am

supposedly ikea is coming to southeast denver. we were told during our visit that the pending arrival of the swedes was enough to kick off a tax battle between municipalities wanting to house the store. denise has details if you need them…

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31 teamkc May 20, 2009 at 10:49 am

Beat it up with a hammer and whip a thick chain at it to get interesting dents…then wipe a dark get stain on the dented parts and finally cover with a glaze…? Good luck!

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32 Tracey Willey May 20, 2009 at 10:58 am

Where did you find your metal sheet?

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33 bethany May 20, 2009 at 11:18 am

I am so excited to see the final product and how you did it! Awesome!

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34 Molly Star* May 20, 2009 at 11:23 am

Same… hit it with a chain, hammer it, poke some nails in random places, sand against the grain. Fun. :)

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35 mrs boo radley May 20, 2009 at 11:58 am

Can’t wait to see the finished product! We built a garden box, and now I’m convinced we can make anything…

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36 Jessica May 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Love love love the look of that table! Cant wait to see the finished product.
And sorry about the no Ikea. That is very sad.

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37 Anonymous May 20, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I second the Briwax suggestion. It will give the piece a really nice finish! Such a cool table!

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38 Sarah May 20, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Will you have chairs (matching?) or long benches? I really like long benches and they seem to pair well with trestle tables.

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39 Stephanie May 20, 2009 at 3:42 pm

That looks great!!! We just bought the Benchwright Table from Pottery Barn and it looks similar

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40 meghanbreeze May 20, 2009 at 11:33 pm

We made our kitchen table from an antique panel door from a salvage store and it turned out great! We had glass cut to measure and now we can use the panels to decorate year round, I love putting my daughter’s artwork or xmas cards under the glass. I went to Lowe’s to get fence posts to use as legs and then just cut them to size. They worked out great. I think it’s awesome you are making your own table :) We get tons of compliments on ours and each time I give myself a little pat on the back for doing it ourselves :) Good luck, can’t wait to see the finished product.

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41 Christina Viering May 25, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Great project!

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42 Ashley May 27, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Could you do a basic tutorial PRETTY PLEASE? My brother PROMISED to make me a table if I could find some instructions and measurements for him…and I’ve been wanting a table similar to this for a while. Please please?

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43 A Touch of Country May 28, 2009 at 9:20 am

Try liver of sulphur on a test sheet and see if you like the look it gives the tin.

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44 THE PARIS HOUSE May 29, 2009 at 5:57 pm

The table is fabulous, I would just let it do its thing and see what happens. I am planning to cover the one we have out in one of gardens in the same way! In our flower room/mudd room/dog room my counters are copper and they are weathered and beautiful, with my grandmothers old sink between them. My house is a mix of antiques and modern, it kinda tells me what to do (its a 200 year old farmhouse)

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45 Sara June 11, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Please please please post instructions on how you did this!!!! It's WONDERFUL and exactly what I've been looking for!!!

Thanks!

Sara in LA

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46 Anonymous August 13, 2009 at 3:56 am

try http://www.paintedwoodenfurniture.co.uk if you like this sort of table you will love their stuff

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