I purchased this table months ago from a thrift store in Chicago.
It was a mistake.
As you can see from the before photo, it's more of a project than it is a table. And I swore to myself I would stop buying projects, because in my possession, projects tend to remain projects and rarely turn into tables.
But this project had two things going for it: it's made by Lane, the American furniture manufacturer known for the case goods and accent tables they pumped out in the 1950s and '60s, so I know it's durable and has a recognizable brand name behind it. And it has a suspended magazine rack. People love a suspended magazine rack.
So finally on a nice day in September I started the process of turning this project into a table.
The original table. It looks like someone already stripped the top, but the bottom legs and suspended magazine rack are painted an ugly shade of reddish brown.
I start by stripping the paint to see what kind of wood I'm dealing with. Surprise! The legs are metal. (I guess I could have knocked on them to determine this, but that's sort of how I roll.) Also, the suspended magazine rack is some sort of mid-grade fiberboard. Once I strip the paint off I realize I'm just going to paint it over anyway. No reason to strip it further.
I strip the sides and top and hose the table off in the backyard, careful not to splatter pets with chemical stripper runoff.
Back in my studio, I stain the table top with a red oak wood stain that's been sitting in someone's workshop since 1986. I get most of my wood refinishing materials from estate sales so I don't make $40 runs to the hardware store every time I want to work on something.
I paint the bottom suspended magazine rack with a black matte paint. I sometimes paint with matte if it's what I have around and I'm going to varnish anyway.
Then I varnish the whole piece.
The original brass legs were hideous, so I replace with some long hairpin legs my fellow dealer and studio mate, Sarah, who runs Cushion Chicago, happened to be selling in her shop. Lucky fit! These longer legs will give the table some extra height and turn it into a nice console or entryway table. The suspended magazine rack becomes a nice place to put your ignorable mail.
The only problem? The new legs don't really work with the suspended rack. The legs knock into the rack when screwed onto the base.
I ask Doug Echler, a woodworker who works down the hall from me, to help me saw a four-inch strip off the end of the suspended rack so it fits better.
Re-paint the sawed-off edge, and ta-da! Brand new console table.