Auction items can be beautiful…..

with a little effort and elbow grease…….

Went to an estate sale auction with my husband in southern Michigan and we found this old Library Table or Missionary Table as they are sometimes called. Now these tables can fetch a pretty penny when they are decent looking, but this one was in rough shape! It had been stored in an old driving shed on a local farm. It was weathered and covered in paint, dust, dirt and had a huge vice attached to it!

We won the auction and paid $35 for it! What a steal!…. It was a beauty!  Well I thought so anyway.  Now it seemed to me that I was the only one who could see this!  Husband bid on this piece only because he wanted the vice!   We took it home put it in the garage and he removed his prize vice and I decided to resurrect this once beautiful old Library Table.

Library Table

These can fetch a pretty penny








I started sanding off the old finish using 80 grit sandpaper and working my way thru the grits until I was to 220 grit paper.  If you are unfamiliar with sandpaper, grits and how and where to use them, here is a nice site that will explain it. There is a wealth of info about several other things on this site, save it to your favourites and come back often to utilize its information.

Sanding complete

Can you see it's potential beauty?

By the time I was finished it was as smooth as that ever so cute baby’s bottom.  But then I had to fill those blasted holes from the vice. They were at least ½ inch holes!

Those holes from the vice are filled!

I bought a ½ inch dowel and cut 3 pieces the depth of the top and glued them and pounded them into the holes with a rubber mallet and a block of wood (so not to damage the table top). They went in the holes with a little effort. I sanded them down flush with the top and below is the finished product. But as you can see they are not the same wood. They stick out like sore thumbs!  I will have to use a dark stain to cover those and have the top look perfect.

Using Minwax Dark Walnut Stain, I stained only the dowel pieces first, did them twice. Then I stained the whole table using an old rag. I find I get better results using rags for stain than using a paint brush and brushing stain on. Easy as pie….rag it on, wipe it off, let dry and do it again. I believe it came out looking pretty darn good considering what it looked like prior.

New knobs make the difference!


Then I finished with 3 coats of High Gloss Minwax Polyurethane.  Brushing with the grain of the wood and letting dry completely (24 hours). Then lightly sanding using 0000 steel wool, so the recoat has something to bite into.  After the light sand I use a tack cloth to remove the excess dust and grit and apply another coat of poly.  Then again with the light sand and tack cloth for the 3rd and final coat.

The finish looks like glass!

A beautiful glass like finish you can see your face in! Not a bad recovery for a $35 investment.  Awesome!

This beautiful Library Table ended up in the dorm of my husband’s son at Michigan State! I wish I knew where it was today. «

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