Refinishing Projects #1: Joye's Coffee Table

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Mark Wilson posted 08-22-2015 06:58 AM 1375 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Refinishing Projects series Part 2: Display Case 11092015 - A Thirty-Minute Journey »

This is what happens when I do it right. Know this: Nothing (NOTHING) comes easy for me. Joye, my friend and neighbor, Bonny’s and Clyde’s Mommy, had this coffee table for years. The years showed: Scratches, dents, rub spots, dull, faded, dead finish. She wanted the top refinished. Just the top. So, I began with the legs.

Some Howard’s and some 0000 made them look pretty good, without taking away any of the aged character.

The top looked like this, in general.

The top needed some work. Some sanding (no stripping), some hot-ironing on dents and scratches that couldn’t be sanded out, some BLO (I think), and some varnish. This is how it came out.

And, back where Bonny likes it.

And Joye likes it. And Clyde likes it. And, so do I. This was about a year ago. It still looks good.

When Life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life’ll be all Whaaat?

-- Mark

10 comments so far

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2738 posts in 4287 days

#1 posted 08-22-2015 07:04 AM

After you previous experience you can always look back at this beauty and confidently say I can do it.
Nice restoration, bit of a leg man eh.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2696 posts in 1667 days

#2 posted 08-22-2015 07:20 AM

Yeah, Bob. Me likey the legs. Note: Inside refinishing and outside refinishing are two entirely different animals. Stay tuned: There’s a park bench on Joye’s sun-drenched porch that I refinished last year. The job I did on that has utterly failed. I’ll be trying it again, soon. I don’t have any photos of the previous job, but, it looked fantastic. Had she put it on her shady patio, it’d be fine.

-- Mark

View Redoak49's profile


4346 posts in 2592 days

#3 posted 08-22-2015 11:40 AM

The table looks great…you did a wonderful job of bringing it back.

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

7118 posts in 3956 days

#4 posted 08-22-2015 11:48 AM

Nice work with the refinished piece. I hear you when you say “nothing comes easy”. Something that I don’t like is when people ask me to make them something and then they say that should’t take you long it should be easy for you. I guess because they don’t know how the mind of a woodworker works they can say things like that. They have no idea how much thinking and work goes into every thing you do.

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View DocSavage45's profile


8881 posts in 3446 days

#5 posted 08-22-2015 07:28 PM


Refinishing is harder than finishing. I could have built a new desk in the time it took to refinish a Art Deco piece I’d picked up. It wasn’t a qualty piece either. Yet it looks pretty good and we learn a lot from our mistakes. If we remember them LOL!

Looks like you got the best of both worlds?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile


8881 posts in 3446 days

#6 posted 08-22-2015 07:32 PM


People see things on TV and the internet that are instantaneous? And they have no clue. If we do it because we want to it’s ok. But those folks need a little artist education while your doing it? I have a associate who sells his work at a high premium. Mark Laub of Minneapolis. He told me he provides a brunch and invites the people who hare buying the piece ( thousands not hundred of dollars) for a progress brunch.

It’s good for his business as they feel a part of the piece.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2610 days

#7 posted 08-22-2015 10:40 PM

I know! Folks see on TV where a 3’ wide 6-drawer chest of drawers gets completely finished in an hour and they’re like “Whaddya mean, it’s gonna take two weeks?”

Oh and Mark … so much for ” ONLY do the top”, right? :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Mean_Dean's profile


7017 posts in 3751 days

#8 posted 08-23-2015 01:08 AM

Looks like an excellent refinishing job! It looks brand new!

I’m curious though: Did you remove all of the old finish, or just sand out the rough spots? And if just spot sanding, how did you get the entire finish color to be uniform?

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Grumpy's profile


25952 posts in 4455 days

#9 posted 08-23-2015 03:29 AM

Looking good Mark. Great save.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2696 posts in 1667 days

#10 posted 08-23-2015 03:55 AM

Thank you, Grumpy.
Dean, I sanded, carefully, to the bare naked wood. I didn’t use stripper because it would’ve gotten on the legs. Then it really would have been quite the task. Then, it would have looked brand-new, which is not what she (or I) wanted. It’s just missing the rub spots, dents and scratches now. Thanks.

-- Mark

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics