Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Restoring an Old Wood Table Quickly and Cheaply!

Way back in the late 1990's I bought a beautiful rubberwood dining table. It was shiny and new and I loved it. Fast forward nearly twenty years and I still love it, but it's been through two children, hundreds of craft projects and thousands of stray food spillages. It's still a solid table though, so I couldn't really justify replacing it, the top was just really tatty. So I tried sanding it down, but it still looked uneven and patchy. Which was when I had an idea... 

The problem with the table was that, in cleaning it over the years, some of the wood had become discoloured where the finish had been removed by cleaning products and too much scrubbing. I tried sanding the table, but I think I would have needed an electric sander, or a whole lot more sand paper and elbow grease, in order to sand it back to a uniform colour again. Before I spent money on this project, I thought I would have one last try, with a different approach. This stuff... 

I know I've mentioned Coconut Oil before, as a low cost beauty treatment, but I had heard that you could use it as a cleaning product too. So, I wondered what would happen if I tried it on my table. The photo below shows the table, after one application of Coconut Oil on the left hand half. You can still see the light coloured patches on the right-hand side, where I haven't yet treated the table. I didn't take a photo of the whole table before I started, because it was a spur of the moment idea and I hadn't realised it was going to work quite so well! I can assure you, though, both ends originally had the same telltale 'Weetabix has been cleaned off this table many times' look! 

To start with, I took a tablespoon of oil (it solidifies at room temperature) plonked it on the table and used a clean cloth to spread it over one side of the table, as it melted. Once half the table was covered, I left it for about ten minutes, to give it a chance to soak in. Next, I took a dry microfibre cloth and buffed it as hard as I could until there was no residue. There may be a little residue, as it is an oil and is therefore very greasy and not very cooperative, but you can always go back and have another go later on. I was amazed at how easily it evened at the colour. If you look really closely, you can still see a few scratches and dents, which would need sanding, but for a quick ten minute job, I think it has worked really well. Below is a close up of the left-hand side before and after. I'm really pleased with my short cut table restoration and think it's a grat result after one application. It will be interesting to see what happens after a few more treatments.

The top photo in this blogpost is the same table, but taken under different lighting conditions. Thank you, British weather! 

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