Industrial Coffee Table
I used a traditional yellow pine picnic table that had been sitting in the back yard. I simply took the top off of the supports, cleaned and lightly sanded the surface so some of the old paint layers were still there. I checked with the manufacturer to ensure that this is untreated wood. Treated wood would have arsenic in it and would not be environmentally safe furniture for indoors, let alone to eat on. I gave it a final clean-off with Simple Green to cut through any remaining layers of grime from being stored outdoors so long.
My goal was to create a rustic “barn-wood” appearance out of the planks, so I lightly brushed on different colors of chalk paint I had handy, in blues and varying shades of grays, concentrating colors on separate planks (though a little blending adds to the barn-wood aesthetic — so if it happens, it happens).
After the newest paint layers dried, I used a rotary sander to reveal some patches and stretches of bare wood, particularly around the ends, corners, and edges — thinning the paint layers just a little in the center. Chalk paint stands up pretty well to sanding, I’ve found, so have at it.
Next step for that cohesive barn-wood look: a water based stain. I ended up using Minwax Natural, concentrating on the bare wood and wiping it off the paint quickly so the paint colors didn’t become too saturated with the golden hue.
Final touches. You could easily skip these last steps, but I love obsessing over the minute details, the depth and shading. I used a soft furniture wax all over and buffed it off. I could be persuaded that one is better than the next, but I’ve found all of the clear soft furniture waxes to be similar, so I tend to go for the cheapest. The one I used came from Michael’s: ArtMinds Clear Wax.
After buffing, I applied Amy Howard’s Dark Antique Wax more strategically to corners, edges, and up and down the planks on which I wanted to bring out the darker colors to contrast with the lighter planks. Howard’s is the first Dark Antique Wax I’ve tried. A little pricey, but it goes a long way and is easy to control. I also splurged on the Amy Howard waxing brush.
AND I splurged on Amy Howard’s Dust of Ages, which is basically a can of dust you pay for. Using this makes me feel like a sucker, but, I have to say, it compliments the dark antique wax nicely, offsets the wax’s amber tint with a little gray, and brings out a lot of texture.
I’d found a schematic for an industrial coffee table base made out of pipes and pipe fittings that I passed on to Joe to adapt to my new coffee table top. Our top is a different size than the one used on the Sadler House blog, but it’s easy to make the adjustments to suit. We used the flange fittings at the base of the legs instead of the end caps.
Industrial End Table
For the matching side table, we used the remaining bench-seat wood. My dad dismantled and cut the bench wood in half and then squared the ends. Unlike the picnic table top that was already useable once detached, dad had to brace the bench wood planks to join them into a single table top. We wanted the side table to sit higher, so we modified the original industrial base schematic to accommodate a 33” square table top that would be 26” in height. The refinishing of the wood was exactly the same process as it was for the coffee table.