New Life for Old Table Legs!



This is something that isn’t exactly woodworking-rocket-science… but I love to see how things change during the process of “re-finishing.” Any furniture re-finishing snob would lament over the imperfection of the job that we did on these table legs. However, to the average eye, the transformation is pretty remarkable – and the end result is much prettier than old brown paint! See what I mean??



In this picture you can see the legs (which are oak, in case you’re wondering) after sanding/stripping, and then re-stained. What a difference! How did we do that?

Step one: I applied a liquid stripper very carefully, outdoors, wearing gloves and using a disposable foam brush. It was just BARELY warm enough outside to do this and it bubbled up the paint a little, but not nearly as much as I was hoping for. After it was completely dry, I moved to

Step two: Sanding it down (using a palm sander) with 50 or 80 grit sandpaper (the really rough stuff!). This will bring the wood back to it’s bare, naked original state. The hardest part is getting in the grooves on these handles – and you really have to do those by hand if you want perfect results. For this project, I didn’t do to those kind of lengths. It’s up to you.

Step three: Re-stain! For these legs I chose a nice brown stain (Minwax, “Early American”) and put it on liberally. Let it sit for about 10 minutes if you want the color really dark and rich. The longer stain sits, the darker it becomes. After those minutes are up, wipe off the excess and admire the wood grain!!

It’s amazing how stain can bring out all the beautiful little details in the wood ~ like nothing else can. Check it out!!




You might be thinking now, “Hey, that looks familiar…” and you’d be right. After this process, these table legs became the handles on my barn wood tool caddy! Now THAT’s what I call re-purposing. Something old into something new … yeah, you get the point.

Have you done any re-finishing projects?


~ The Woodworker’s Wife


Wood Crates- to stain or not to stain?

So I’ve been having this mental debate with myself for months… should I stain them? Will it really look different? is it worth the extra time and smell? Does anyone else even notice these kinds of things? Or is this just a wood-nerd thing? 🙂 

I decided that it was best just to try it out and see. I have three of our “early” crates that we built last summer, and they are definitely not the prettiest ones we’ve made. On the other hand, they have screw heads exposed and the ends are solid, so they have a very tough, rustic appeal. The problem was that they had stamps on the ends (from the lumber yard, only the slats were reclaimed wood), and some neon orange markings of some kind. Yuck! 

You’ll have to forgive me… my computer is in the shop so I don’t have a “real” before picture, but this is basically what plain, standard pine looks like in it’s natural state:


I took the plunge. I love the result!! 


The ends got sanded with the palm sander until the markings were (mostly) gone. Then I applied a really heavy coat of Minwax Stain (Early American is the color, if you’re wondering). I let the stain sit on the wood while I worked over the rest of the crate – so that when I went back to wipe off the excess, there was hardly anything left to remove. What a difference it makes! 

You don’t have to seal over the stain – it’s a moisture barrier on it’s own. Just be sure to let it dry overnight (or at least 8 hours) before handling and storing things inside. 

I like them so much now they are in the living room, full of books. 🙂 


What do you think? To stain or not to stain? 

~ The Woodworker’s Wife