Coastal Table Makeover - Easy Peasy Beachy!

We’ve had the same table on our screened in porch/Florida room forever. Mike found it years ago in someone’s trash pile. It was an amazing Ethan Allen table with no flaws beyond neglect. Over the years, it’s served as our outdoor eating space and as my own table for experimenting with different finishes. Here are two of the table’s previous incarnations:

On our old proch in a bright yellow.

On our old proch in a bright yellow.

On our current porch (weird how both houses have the same tile, isn’t it?) in a distressed black/red/yellow finish.

On our current porch (weird how both houses have the same tile, isn’t it?) in a distressed black/red/yellow finish.

So, I stripped the table top. I like the black legs and metal hardware so I didn’t mess with that. This post isn’t about stripping furniture - I need to do one of those. Basically, I start with a chemical stripper then sand the piece starting with 80 grit, then 120 grit and finally 220 grit sandpaper. Clean it with a mix of denatured alcohol/water (50/50) followed by tack cloth.

THIS post is about the table top itself. Here is where I started.

Newly stripped tabletop on a humid rainy Florida day.

Newly stripped tabletop on a humid rainy Florida day.

taping stripes.jpg

You’ll have to measure your own table. Mine worked out nicely - 3 2” strips of painters tape for each row. Three down, then three more. Peel up the first three and put them on next to the last three and so on and so on.

taping stripes 3.jpg

As you can see my tape is bubbling from the humidity. If you have a choice, drag your piece inside if humidity is a factor. This table is ginormous and WAY too heavy for me to move. I just keep smoothing down my tape as I worked.

stripes evened out.jpg

Here are my stripes all evened out.

staining stripes.jpg

I like an oil-based stain for raw wood - especially if it’s going to be constantly exposed to the elements. I also like a bargain. This is OOPS stain from Home Depot that I picked up for $3. It’s a nice dark grayish brown. Wear your gloves and apply with a stain pad, an old rag or a bit from an old t-shirt. Just be even and wipes up excess as you work.

pickled stripes.jpg

I was going for a casual beachy look for this table. I chose pickling wash - you can also make a wash from just about any paint by diluting with water. Again, wear gloves and apply with something soft and absorbent - t-shirt, dishrag, stain pad. Apply evenly and do thin coats. It takes two or three until you really see the color.

finished table.jpg

And, poof - there it is! I sealed this table with three coats of boiled linseed oil. I don’t mind doing this every six or so months. If you want something more permanent, try General Finishes Arm-R-Seal in the finish of your choice. Pay attention to the recoating dry times. This stuff will hold up to major abuse for years.