Thursday, January 9, 2014

A New Leaf for our Dining Table

Right before New Year's Eve, we planned to have some friends over for a little party to ring in 2014.  
The only problem is that the only table we have is a perfectly round dining table missing its leaf, and even putting 3 people on it to eat seems like a chore and way too crowded, so playing board games on such a small table has been quite difficult.

I know it was just last week that I posted a different table update, but just bear with me!

Here is a before and after so you can see the difference in size from the table without the leaf to the new look.
Sadly, washing my placemats from China has destroyed them, so I need to find something just as beautiful but more durable!
A few months ago, I started thinking about it and realized it would be so easy to make a new leaf for the table.  Finally, the day before New Year's Eve I made my way out to Lowe's to find a piece of wood and to use a Valspar paint coupon Tyler's grandma game me at Christmas. (Thanks Janice!)  

Before you go to the store, don't forget your measurements!  That way you can have them cut your lumber for you (which is essential if you don't own anything but a tiny hand saw).  

I needed my board to be approximately 11 inches wide, 3/4 an inch thick, and 3 feet 5 1/2 inches in length.

Once I got to Lowe's, we found the cheapest 3/4 inch thick lumber pieces we could find, which just happened to be 11 1/4 inches wide.  That worked fine, as the opening for the leaf is 11 3/4 inches, but since the pegs are also 3/4 an inch there needed to be some leeway.  It was a 4' board, so we had the man at Lowe's cut it down for us.

I don't know what it is, but I feel like it is great to be able to live in a city apartment (where there is no room for sawing equipment) but still be able to complete projects that involve saws.

When you get your wood home, you'll need to drill holes for the pegs to fit into.  The cheater's way, (my way) of doing this part is to line the board up with the ends of the table and mark on either side of the pegs and then finish the line straight across the board.
Drill in the center of the two lines deep enough for the pegs to slide in all the way.

Here is the board before being sanded or stained.  I was already in love!

When you look closely, you can see that I still need to add pegs to the other side of the board (using the same drilling process as the other side, only gluing in pegs to match up with the holes on the pre-existing table so it will sit evenly.  Also, I needed to sand the edges to give the piece the same beveled look as the table.

Sorry, no pictures of the sanding process.  I was sanding an hour after the "quiet hours" technically start in our complex and I was trying to be fast and get it done before anyone got angry.

The next morning, I set out to stain my piece.  I chose a gel stain called honey maple that I thought looked similar to the color of the dresser we use for our coffee bar.  Plus, it has a similar tone as my table, but give a really nice contrast.
This is the stain drying.  This color is more true than the pictures, since my table is in the back of the apartment, it is hard to get much natural light.  It is also hard to get much natural light when you're a night owl and do your little night owl projects at night.  ;)

To be completely honest, I have never used a gel stain before, but I didn't like it at all.  It was sticky much longer than normal stain, and I was always in fear that I put too much in certain places and that it would be patchy.  Unfortunately I could only find this color in the gel, but next time I'll keep in mind that I prefer normal stain!

After you give your stain a good chance to dry, you'll need to protect it.  I used Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane, clear satin.  I'd never used it before, but I think it worked out pretty well.  I sprayed three coats of poly (as the instructions instructed).  The wood isn't as shiny as the rest of my table, but the next day I made an accidental spill and it completely repelled the water, so I know it works!  I have thought about applying a few more coats to see if that helps it match the rest of the table, but for now it is at least serving its functional purpose.

Ahhh, there it is!  Stained and with my beautiful table!

I'm really in love.  And the colors go perfectly with Tyler's grandfather's painting.

Tyler even mentioned that the napkin holder that his other grandfather made us has the same theme of dark and light!

Once the new year hits, I'm ready for spring.  I thought I'd throw in some springy flowers and a tea pot for fun.  :)

Well, that's it.  I'm in love.  I made this leaf intending to only use it for game nights and company, but I can already tell that it's there for good.


  1. You are so handy!! And having a high contrast between the two different stain colors looks cool! I bet that sanding process was a bit tedious, though!

    1. Thanks Rachel! Really, sanding it wasn't that hard...just round the edges enough that it doesn't look like it came straight from Lowes. haha!

  2. Wow, girl!!! I'm so impressed! Great job! :-)

    1. Thanks Susannah! Having 11 extra inches of table is making a world of difference to me! :)

  3. Good job! I hope you get a lot of use out of your newly expandable table. It looks great :-)

  4. looks great you have talent in what you do
    come see us at

  5. Your table turned out great! Thanks for sharing at Share Your Stuff Tuesdays!

  6. I never would have thought to use a different color from your looks almost like a table runner.
    Very nice job...
    Here from Create It Thurs

    1. Thanks BJ, I think I kind of like it! My cousin suggested that you could also paint a design on it, which would look pretty neat as well!

  7. Ingenuious! Love the way you worked around all the little obstacles - no saw, quiet hours, and all the rest! It was worth it because it looks fabulous!

  8. Wow the contrast looks really cute :)
    Thanks for sharing your tutorial on Tutorial Thursdays Linky Party this month.
    Marigolds' Loft

  9. This is so awesome and I can't wait to try it myself for our missing leaf. Did you use an electric sander or did you do it by hand with a sanding block?

  10. It turned out beautifully!! I will be attempting this feat within the next couple of days and was afraid it would be such a tedious process, but you've made it look almost easy. Thanks for the post, it helped me tremendously! :-D


Copyright 2012-2014 Saxon Smith (Let's Drink Coffee, Darling). All rights reserved.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...