One Man’s Trash

29 Jul

I have been jonesing for a coffee table.  And I have been looking at hundreds.  After spending more time in the living room, now that it’s near completion, I realized what we needed was a table for feet and drinks.

I just can’t decide on what I want.  I know it will jump out at me once I see it.  In the meantime, I don’t want to spend $100 on one from Ikea that I know isn’t ‘the one’.

That being said, I am totally fine spending $15 on this one that I found at the Mercer Island Thrift Store.  I really like the lines and the color is great in our room.  It’s solid wood with a veneer on top.  And if you look at it in context, it works.

Howevrer, it’s a bit like meeting someone at a bar after a few drinks. They are lovely if you squint a little through boozy eyes, but upon closer and more sober inspection, their flaws are more than obvious.

And I am a girl that likes a challenge.  (From $15 furniture, not from men I meet at bars.  Not that I meet men at bars much.  Wait.  This is going so wrong I should just stop now.)  However, I have never sanded anything with a veneer top before.  Have you?  I don’t want to paint it because I really like the color.  Any advice would be most welcome!


22 Responses to “One Man’s Trash”

  1. Danny Torres July 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    Do not sand it. strip the top and legs and patch the split piece with a scrap piece of veneer.
    By stripping the finish you can “Hand Sand the veneer and remove all teh scratches. once you strip the legs you can sand them down to remove all the scratches (they’re solid wood).
    To strip I use “Jasco brand” (Home Depot) 15min stripper (use rubber gloves/Goggles) and a plastic scraper/#1 grade steel wool to remove finish.
    Once the finish is removed sand to remove scratches fill the splintered piece with wood glue and a piece to tape to hold (allow drying time of 12hrs) then sand w 100grit down to 220grit sandpaper.
    To finish use Danish oil in Medium Walnut by Watco (Home Depot). Apply first coat let dry then sand w 220 again to remove any dust, apply second and third coats accordingly and let dry.

    It’s a long process about 5hrs but the result will be a brand new finish on your $15 table

    Good luck!

  2. nickarmadillo July 30, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    Maybe give Howard’s Restore-A-Finish and Feed-N-Wax a try. If a little “vintage wear” doesn’t bother you, that’s what I’d recommend.

  3. Stacey July 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Totally agree with Dana! You can definitely lightly sand (hand sand) veneer. We’ve done it with great results. Do a search for veneer retailers and you can buy some to to fill in the chipped area. I just ordered some from and it was really nice and came very quickly! Since its such a small piece you could get away with ordering some of their “samples” (small pieces) for just a few bucks and get several different kinds to keep around. It will definitely take stain just like real wood… because it IS real wood. Putty will never look the same and many of them are not stainable no matter what the “packaging” says. I think you’d do really great with it! Just my two cents.

  4. Dana@Mid2Mod July 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    Unless you’re very, very careful, it’s easy to sand through the veneer. Our refinisher says he’s made a fortune repairing just that sort of damage, so my vote is for hand sanding. Also, you can buy veneer in rolls and fill in the chipped place. I think it takes a stain better than any wood putty I’ve found.

  5. Tina July 29, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Hi, I love your pick; I think it’s a keeper with character. I’m not a furniture refinishing expert but in the past I’ve used an ultra fine grain sandpaper with furniture that has a thin veneer, then a lint free cloth, slightly dampened, for removing the dust. I prefer thin layers of stain applied with a good brush vs a cloth application. Once the right color is achieved, seal and enjoy 🙂 Have fun

  6. Brittany July 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Hey, Brandy!! I refinished the surfboard coffee table in my living room and it has a walnut veneer top. When I first bought it, it had a huge water stain on the veneer. I just used a sander and was really careful about not going through the veneer. I called one of the guys at Midcentury Mobler who had refinished the same coffee table and he told me my best bet was to strip all of the finish off, lightly sand once dry, and then use a gel stain and then about 7 coats of a satin wipe on polyurethane. The sanding should take care of all of the scratches and scuff marks. And then for the piece of missing veneer, just use some wood filler. Hope I helped! If you have any other questions, please ask!! Brittany

    • Brittany July 29, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      Also, you don’t *have* to use 7 coats of the wipe on poly but my coffee table is now smoother than a baby’s butt. And I’m pretty sure it is 100% waterproof now. No more water stains, baby! lol

    • July 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

      Sounds like very good advice! And I think with all our kids, seven coats really isn’t too many!

  7. Jennifer July 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    You need to look at my MCM table I refinished years ago. Palm sander, wpod putty and a couple of top costs of man o war and the sucker is darn near indestructible

    • findmesomething July 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

      my blog might contain some useful information. I would say wood filler, light sanding, and the right shade of stain. i just used a stain/polyurethane combo, and the piece came out stunning. you can sort of manipulate your stain (that sounds weird) to turn flaws into fabulousness.

    • July 30, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

      You totally know we need indestructible!

  8. Java July 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    DON’T SAND IT!!!!! There are products you can use for refinishing. Go to you local hardware store(the kind with old guys that work there). And ask. I think Fromby makes a refinish rescue.

  9. Sandra July 29, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    The problem when sanding a veneer is that it is usually so thin that by the time you even out some of the dings and dents you have gone to far, usually veneer has to be replaced or painted after patching.

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