DiYVR: Journey of a Trash Table, Part 2

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DiYVR is a weekly spotlight on all things handmade, done-by-oneself, crafted and hacked around Vancouver, featuring profiles of makers, event announcements, exhibits and general DIY fun. Know someone or something we should cover? Got a trash-to-treasure restoration to share? Email me!

Back in November, VIA Giveaways editor Rachel Fox introduced us to the small dresser she found in an alley, and to her plans to transform it from trash to treasure. Behold, Vancouver, the treasure!

Before:

After:

After the jump, how Rachel did it, in her own words!

Rachel sez:

First off, I did sit with it [the table] for a while because I couldn’t decide what to do with it. It was solid wood with veneer and basically, I thought it would look better painted than the colour it was. All I knew was that no matter what, I wanted glass knobs!

I sanded the heck out of it, all over. I then painted 2 coats of the paint all over, then sanded some more and added very light distressing. The top of the table received three coats of Minwax. After distressing the rest of the table I put Minwax on a cloth and wiped it down; this gave a “patina” look as well as a thin coat of polyurethane. I may still spray it with a clear poly again but it’s not really necessary.

I liked the looks of the top of the wood and so decided to keep that natural; I liked the idea of contrast between the colour of the wood and the colour of the paint.

As for the paint colour, I left it to fate! I bought the tin you see in the photo at Colour Your World on Terminal/Main for … $4!!! It was a mis-tint! I chatted with the helpful clerk and said I didn’t really care what colour it was going to be as long as it was something I could live with. You can see the original colour which was a dull brown… he added some green, then added some more and I was like, “Yes, for $4 I can do a muted teal.” So, that’s definitely a way to go – mis-tints, yo. The Minwax is in a walnut gloss, very lightly pigmented and was about $8, but went really far – I did a chair and another table with it!

storefront image of The Source

I searched high and low for the knobs. I went to flea markets and antique stores but to no avail. I wanted to get something that wasn’t so “Home Depot generic” and it was not as nearly easy as I thought it would be. Antique store clerks told me to go to Lee Valley but that is a bit of a hike… I had a romantic notion I’d find a box of old hardware at flea markets but that is not the case. One antique store did have old knobs but they were actual depression-era glass and about $15 each. What I learned is that things like used knobs, like what I was looking for are realy hard to find – but hardware like doorknobs and hinges are easy. The explanation given to me is that anything that can be re-purposed for furniture (ie, anything vintage or antique) is in high demand because people restore furniture, whereas when it comes to homes (doorknobs, for example) people buy new. Which is why you can buy genuine 100 year old crystal doorknobs for $1 (!) but knobs for furniture are not as readily available. Eventually I found my way to The Source (see pics). They have a fantastic array of hardware and tons of the kinds of knobs I was looking for – $5 each! It’s a great little store and the ladies were extremely helpful – originally I bought green knobs but they didn’t go and I brought them back and traded for the clear glass. That store is a real delight, all kinds of interesting things…. one of those places you’ve driven by a million times but have never gone into. The faceted knob was a one-off and in the pile by mistake so I took it anyways. I like that the knobs don’t match… and I do love the faceted glass. In fact, if I were ever to have to employ a glass eye for my own devices I would want it to be faceted glass (or a disco ball). It brings me great joy. So, anyways, I did manage to shop local for the knobs and at $15 for three it was well worth it.

image of glass knobs

The cost of my free table:

$15 for the knobs
$4  for the paint (and I have tons left)
$8 for the Minwax (which goes very far!)
maybe another $6 for sanding blocks

I watched The Godfather 1 and The Godfather 2 the day I did all the painting. I think it really shows in the table…. it’s very “Kay” (Diane Keaton).

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I'm a writer, editor, blogger, crochet book author and tinkerer who loves thunderstorms, good books, sushi and wants to learn how to snowboard. I run the Mighty Ugly project, too. I moved to Vancouver in 2002, and I think it's awesome.