After using my sisters hall table in our house for several years, I almost forgot it wasn’t ours. When they needed it back, we began our search for a suitable replacement. Not finding anything to our liking after a month of looking - or at a price to our liking - we decided to do some DIY and restore.
Restoring and/or repurposing furniture in most cases can be an easier process than starting from scratch as you already have a starting point, something to work with, and the scope of the restoration project is decided by you. Whether you want to include additional features, only repaint, or replace as much or little of the existing - you can decide. Each restoration project will be unique to what you are restoring.
We searched Trademe until we came across something we liked. The hall table was already in usable condition - so we did have some control over the extent of the restoration. This particular project involved replacing the top, tidying up the base and refinishing all to fit in with the style in our house.
After confirming the measurements on the size of the tabletop I wanted, we visited and purchased our wood from the Kauri Warehouse in Otahuhu, Auckland. They have a wide range of recycled wood in various sizes and profiles.
Our selection was recycled Rimu floorboards. We could not find a single piece we liked with the width we needed, so went with 4x floorboards. This would mean more work laminating the tops together, but we would get the detail and finish we were after.
Rimu is one of the most popular NZ native timbers and is regularly seen in character homes in NZ. It is versatile, receives oils and stains easily, and is a beautiful finishing timber. We intentionally chose pieces which weren’t perfect (which is most often the case with recycled wood regardless) which would create interest on completion.
Finalise measurements of table top.
Trim the tongue off the face of the outside floorboard with skillsaw.
Cut each floorboard to correct length.
Laminate floorboards together
- Make sure all surfaces are clean and dustfree
- Moisten faces being glued with a damp cloth to add some moisture
- Fill the groove and add a line of adhesive to the tongue. You do not want air gaps remaining
- Once all glued and in place, apply clamps and tighten
- Leave for minimum 24 hours clamped for glue to cure (refer curing times with the glue purchased)
- I also screwed in 3x strips of timber to the underside of the top as a stiffener. As the top is only 20mm thick, these strips of wood will act as a lateral stiffener to ensure that the top will not cup over time. (With the correct glue, there is no concerns with keeping the floorboards bonded).
- The top had hardened glue out of the gaps.
- Starting with 80grit sander on a belt sander, I removed the glue and got consistent level across the top.
- Used lighter grit on belt sander and down to even lighter on a orbital sander until happy with level of finish
- Clean all dust off thoroughly, use damp cloth.
- Apply sealer coat as first coat (stain diluted with 25% turps - or water if using water based finish). I used a sponge applicator to apply the stain.
- Dry for 24 hours then give light sand with 240grit sandpaper. Clean dust off thoroughly.
- Subsequently apply 3x top coats. Allowing 24 hours to dry between each. Apply topcoats in an environment with minimal dust where possible.
When I was happy with the finish on the top, I fixed the top to the base using 4 L brackets from Bunnings. Then went on to give the base a paint using a Dulux semi gloss.
We were very pleased with the finish product. The detail and colour of the rimu top is the hero of the table. The complexity on the face of the unit provides another element of design and age that is not often found in new furniture.
- Old hall table $160 - Trademe
- 6 l.m of floorboard (90mm x 20mm) @ $10lm = $60 - Kauri Warehouse
- Stain $30 - Bunnings
- Total Investment $250 (Paint and glue already owned)
- Dropsaw (preferable, but skill saw adequate)
- Sanding equipment
- Wood for top (floorboards in this case)
- Wood glue
- Stain, applicator, turps
- Fixings / brackets