There is little in this life that is more rewarding that sharing things that you love to do with like-minded people. When Trash to Treasure Tuesday rolls around I can’t wait to see what my gal friends have to share with us. Bonus is I get to share too. My subject for this month’s makeover is this antique library table. Aren’t the lines fabulous?
I know I say it all the time, but I had no intention of coming home with this size of a table. My workshop was empty and I was loving it. So, how did it end up with me? Well, I took my kids for a thrift store scavenger hunt – where I give them a list of things to find and they team up to see who can find them first. We needed a break from our schedule and that was a last-minute option.
While they were racing to find their items, I found a few tables. Yes, I say few, because this wasn’t the only one I brought home. ahem. More on that later. Anyhoo…after the shop manager told me the price of the other set and I picked up jaw up off the floor, he told me I could have this for the same price. I am not kidding. I normally play it like poker face and be like, “Okay, cool.” But this time…this time I said, “Really??!!” and clasped my hands in front of me excitedly.
Now, who would be the sane one to leave that antique library table made by Larkin Company sitting there? I love the story behind this line of furniture that stemmed off of a soap line. Just goes to show how interesting history can be. You can read the Larkin story in this ariticle here. It did wobble, it did have ample gashes, gouges, and wear, but…it’s so beautiful! And…it didn’t stink. Bonus!
*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)
Can you blame me when I also find things like this vintage Powell globe the minute I walk in the door? This little gem will eventually find a home in my living room when we are done.
Funny thing was that when my son and I were loading it, we tipped it over to turn it upside down and dropped the drawer on the ground. It fell into pieces and the shop guy said, “Your husband can fix it for you.” I paused and replied, “I can fix it myself.” (and in my head, “thank you very much. ahem”) Some wood glue and clamps and it was good as new.
I will say that if the antique library table were staying in my home, I would leave it with wear and all. I have dark woods like that in my living room, including an upright grand over 100 years old with the same mahogany patina.
However, since I planned to sell it, I decided to give it new life. The only tools I used were my sanders to get started. First, my favorite orbital sander took off not only the stains and blemishes, but knocked out those 3 foot long gashes in the top. Those had me worried as they were deep. Thankfully, the veneer on top was nice and thick and took my sanding well.
I couldn’t get all the gouges out, but I was going for a rustic farmhouse look to play with the original feel of it anyway. Bring on the time-worn wear! wahoo! See that beautiful mahogany peeking out? This is super fun for me to see it come to life. Especially because I did all of this outside for HOURS in my garage with door open and it was a balmy 5 degrees with windchill of -20. Oh yeah! Even better is my overhead heater directly behind me that has been waiting to be installed for 4 years. yep. Nothing like four layers to keep you warm. hahaha.
Now, in all my years, I have never come across a dark stained table like this that was made of all the same woods. They always used the dark stain to hide various wood species and make it gel as one. This table was no different. I had hope to find a solid piece, but alas it was a mut (if you will).
I found the table top and top of the bottom shelf where mahogany veneer – the good kind, nice and thick and made of wood.
However, the bottom shelf was oak, the skirt, the table top, and legs were maple. That’s all fine with me. Adds to the rustic charm I was after. It reminds me of how God created us all unique and each part of us works together to make us who we are.
While my orbital knocked out most of it, I was so stoked to give my newest addition to my tool arsenal a try. It’s a Ryobi Corner Cat that my brother and sister and law gave to me for Christmas. They quoted my #toolsoverjewels motto and they are right! This thing was able to take that corner leftover my orbital couldn’t reach and knock it out.
Not only that, but I did the table edge and the leg details too. I was so happy I didn’t have to do it by hand. AND it even uses the same batteries as all my other Ryobi cordless tools, so a total win. Hooray!
Once everything was sanded, it was time to add a bit of dimension. I took some remnant paint and watered it down to create a wash. I’ve used this technique hundreds of times, and show you how in my own dining room table redo seen HERE. It adds depth as well as creates the aged look I’m after.
Then it was time to finish this antique library table. Since I wanted rustic, but also durability, I used my fave Dixie Belle Gator Hide. It gives a matte finish without sacrificing strength to endure daily life. Nothing better to get a smooth finish that favorite Zibra brushes. I used my Stubby Brush for this application.
Two coats with a bit of steel wool in between layers to promote awesome adhesion and we’re done!
This, for me, was like taking a deep breath. After spending countless hours sanding it down, giving it the wash, and protective coats, it sure felt good to step back and see it finished.
There are still some time-worn “wrinkles” if you will, telling the story this antique library table has. So much to love about it with the legs and unique design. My home is small and cozy so this piece will not be staying with me, but let me tell ya, I would love to keep it!! If you are interested in it, it’s available in my online shop along with all my other creations and finds. We do ship anywhere and can ship multiple furniture pieces and smaller items for no extra cost.
Next time you’re in the thrift store or out fleatiquing, never underestimate what will be waiting to be found. I can’t wait to show you my next table set I found the same day. Stay tuned! Do pin and share this antique library table makeover to inspire others to give DIY a try.
Up next this week, I’ve got something to show you for my bedroom. HEAD HERE to see. To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. –>> Time to head below for more fun!
Be sure to check out what these awesome ladies have created for you for Trash to Treasure Tuesday: