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Peeling the Orange Oak - A Tuesday Table Tale

diy oak refinish renew repurpose rustic wood

My sister and I tend to trade furniture pieces back and forth. For some odd reason, we possess the same kind of penchant for wanting to change things up with a somewhat advanced degree of frequency. Naturally, it's less expensive - well free in fact -  to shop your sister's house than to buy new. Our husbands don't quite understand this, but do they need to?  Free is free. Right?

I have owned a really solid oak kitchen table for nearly 15 years. Originally the table had a kind of an 80's orange stain, but over the years I have stripped and restained or painted it from bare wood, to whitewash, to black antiqued, to barn red and then back to black again. I was looking to give it another makeover when sissy  and I, facing the same kind of table dilemma with her black, slightly more modern square table decided "hey let's just swap tables". She took mine, I took hers and everybody was happy...or so it seemed.

I sat and contemplated my new-to-me furniture piece for about a month before I realized it just wasn't for me. Slightly too large for my breakfast nook, modern-ish, as pretty as it was, the shape was wrong. In the meanwhile, my sister decided to apply a generous coat of orange latex (not neon but more like the color of a pumpkin that's been sitting in the field too long) to my round oak beauty.  Some time went by and she realized that she didn't want a table for her space and gave me mine back. I returned hers to her and all was well. Until...

Orange just wasn't doing it for me so it sat in the garage for a bit. I knew I was back to another transformation but couldn't determine just what to do. I finally decided to once again consult the fount of all design ideas Pinterest for a little inspiration.  I saw this lovely at The 36th Avenue and fell in l'amour.

My first job though was to peel the orange so to speak from my once beautiful oak. I have to tell you, it didn't go without a fight. I began with Citrus-stripper (seems reasonable - it was orange after all) and that worked for the most part but because the paint had been applied over the previous black stain - not recommended - I had an hour or two with the orbital sander and about three pads of 80 grit sandpaper. Here's the progress at that point.

Finally, I was able to strip the orange and get down to the still gorgeous bare oak. I gave it a once over with 120 and then 220 grit and it was super smooth and pretty. Look see - pretty! I painted the chairs, the base and apron (that's the piece the top sits on) with Annie Sloan Grey Chateau chalk paint and finished it with some dark wax. After that, it was just a matter of heading to one of my very favorite websites The Graphics Fairy for a free image transfer. I love all things french and this website has more french than you can shake a poodle at. I found this delightful french chocolate logo in no  time. French and chocolate, what's not to love?

I'll admit, I'm certainly not an artist and the design is large to fit my table so I rented an overhead projector - like the one they use in high school - and printed the graphic on a clear sheet of clear transparency (picked up at Staples). Once it goes on the projector you can size it to any image you like. Here's the photo of the table laying on its side with the image projected on and ready for painting.

My daughter and I took turns because I will be honest, it was time-consuming to get it traced with an artist's brush and black paint. But the labor was more than well worth it because it came out gorgeous.  One coat of Minwax American Walnut stain, two coats of poly and voila! The gorgeousness was complete!

While I'm still (still!) on the hunt for the perfect coffee table project, this was a good use of time and resources and I am madly in love my beautiful oak table once again.


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