once upon a time, this coffee table was a hardwood floor…

When I started restoring furniture last year I started getting phone calls, texts and emails about various different things: old chairs, picture frames, garage sales… someone even drove up to the shop one day while I was working with a full dining room set, among other things, in the back of their trailer for me. I have a barn full (no, literally, a barn full) of potential projects. Among the collection is a pile of hardwood flooring that was given to me last summer after being pulled out of a century home on Unionville Main Street. I made a split second decision, envisioning a salvaged hardwood tabletop, and said “SURE! I’ll take it!”

Driving there to pick it up, rational thought set in and I began wondering what on earth I was actually going to do with it. Loading it into my dad’s jeep I felt even more daunted… why did I say yes to this? What am I possibly going to bother doing with this pile of dirty, nail ridden wood? Whatever I do is going to be a lot of annoying work. Ok, it can just be burned for kindling.

The wood survived the winter unscathed (no extra kindling was needed)… and a year later, here is salvaged hardwood flooring project #1:

A dear friend in need of a coffee table got me reconsidering my original tabletop idea for the wood. The base of the table is built from copper piping… this was by far my favourite part of the whole project. I got to learn how to solder pipe and ohhh my goodness is it ever FUN. Ok, so maybe I might be a bit of a pyromaniac? Shhh… don’t tell. This part of the construction I couldn’t have done without the assistance of my experienced father. There were multiple propane torches involved, careful levelling of the frame was required and I feel like if I’d done it alone, being a rookie at the whole soldering thing, it wouldn’t have turned out quite so well.

After putting together the frame, I sanded down the pipe and spray painted it matte black. Then came the tabletop construction. I thought it would be fun to keep the original tongue and groove joints to connect the wood. I picked three different board widths to build the top from; this creates some variance and adds visual interest to the piece. The nails had to be removed from the boards and the tongue and groove joints needed to be scraped clean (flooring glue + dirt + who knows what else had built up in there over the years). The boards were then cut to size, individually sanded, joined together with carpenters glue, clamped and left to dry.

Once the glue dried, I added two strips of wood at each end on the bottom side of the table and screwed the boards to them (from the bottom) to ensure the top stays together securely. I gave the top another quick sanding before staining it, smoothing the edges down and ensuring no excess glue from the joints would prevent the stain from covering it evenly.

For the first coat of stain I used a brown colour called Jacobean by MinWax. It was a good start, but not the exact colour I was going for. For the second coat I used Classic Grey (also by MinWax). This toned down the brown nicely but still wasn’t rich enough for me. I also wanted to make sure the joints between the boards stained nicely, so at this point I used a toothbrush and some of the Jacobean stain to get right into the grooves. The final coat of stain was my own concoction… In order to achieve the colour I wanted I mixed Jacobean, Classic Grey and Ebony together… don’t ask me how much of each, because I haven’t got clue; I just played around with it until I thought it was about right. Thankfully, it was. Once the stain dried, I applied two coats of water based satin finish Varathane, with a quick sand in between to get rid of any unwanted bubbles or bumps.

C’est fini!

Take a look at the gallery below for a step by step look at the whole process!

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