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


Barn wood tool caddy show-off ….

So this might just be a shameless brag post, but I had to share. 🙂 Last Winter I made a few of these caddys and they were quick, easy, rewarding and very useful! I have three of them, one for paint supplies, one for extra paper plans and drawings, and one that just looks pretty upstairs.  There are endless uses for these guys … and they are so easy to build! 

Here they are, in all of their glory. They were constructed from local barn wood, salvaged by my husband and I just a few months ago. I took 80 grit sandpaper and hit all the boards on both sides to clean some of the dirt and grime off the surface. A light touch did the trick – without taking all of that beautiful, grey, old weathered look off the wood. The table legs were cleaned and prepped also – and that will be a separate post. 🙂 

Once the wood is ready, I simply cut the bottom and sides down to the same length (checking the width, but since these were salvaged boards, I didn’t want to cut any exposed edges). The larger caddy is 16″ long, and the sides I cut somewhere between 12 and 13″ high, cutting a 45 degree angle off of each corner for a more rustic look. Then fire up the nail gun and go to town! 🙂 

The handles were pre-drilled and then glued and screwed in from the outside of the caddy. Very strong and sturdy – our football-player-sized brother sat on it and it survived. 🙂 Seriously. 

But what you really want are the pictures… so here they are! This set of two were custom made for my sister-in-law. Doesn’t she have good taste? 





Don’t you just love how OLD they look? We rescued those table legs out of grandma’s basement and gave them new life. There’s nothing more satisfying than giving something beautiful a brand new life! 

~ The Woodworker’s Wife 

Reclaimed {barn} wood caddy

I am proud to say that these are the first project I have made by myself! Mr. Woodworking could have done these in his sleep… but I am a bit proud of myself for figuring out measurements, using the miter saw, etc. I’m also very pleased with how this entire project was made out of reclaimed lumber! Southern Yellow Pine and Cottonwood, respectively. Two different barns, two different towns, re-made into something for our home. Merry Christmas to me!

The character of the wood is what makes these unique -  this is reclaimed cottonwood from a 100-year-old corn crib... reborn!

The character of the wood is what makes these unique – this is reclaimed cottonwood from a 100-year-old corn crib… reborn!

Southern Yellow Pine has a beautiful grain. This caddy is sturdy, a bit on the heavy side, but so gorgeous.

Southern Yellow Pine has a beautiful grain. This caddy is sturdy, a bit on the heavy side, but so gorgeous!

My little brother came over last week to work on some awesome wood projects for Christmas. Music blaring, good company to work with … and then these just sort of happened. I was scrolling through my Pinterest board for some inspiration and I found this.

Honestly, I like mine better than hers. The reasons are simple: I prefer to have the joinery flush and square. Hers are more rustic in their construction. I also left the real beauty of the wood to show through (nail holes and all!) and I think it lends charm and authenticity to the finished project. What can I say? I think wood-grain is sexy. The handles are antique table legs that we rescued out of Grandma’s basement.

Not bad for an evening of work... reclaimed, reborn barn wood ready for a new life in our home!

I think one of these will be my new gardening companion next Spring…

~ The Woodworker’s Wife