Winter Project : pickled table top.


This table was at one of my favorite used furniture barns- it was 79 dollars which for upstate furniture barns was kind of pricey but I just find these tables so useful for small spaces. It was a vintage base (not however a knoll/Saarinen) but it was paired with this home-depot stock yellow pine tabletop that had an out of proportion large rounded edge.

So my first order of business was planing down the sides of the table to reduce the rounded edge to a thin lip with an angle. I left about 1/4″ of curve and it reads visually like a far thinner piece of wood (it is also far closer to what the actual vintage tabletop profile would be). The steps I used are illustrated below- I did the same thing on a smaller table that had a black base. Basically I drew two parallel lines- one line around the edge and one line on the underside of the table and using my hand-held planer I just removed the concave curve of wood in between.

At first I thought that the bare wood resembled a butcher-block and since I planned on using it in my kitchen I thought the effect would be charming. I sanded it and then used steel wool with wax until it was buttery soft. But no mater how much I tried to like it the yellowed knotty pine still bothered me. So after I trucked it down to the city I sanded off all the wax and I pickled the top with watered down white paint until it had that slightly grained almost marble-like look to it. Then I finished it off with 3 coats of polyurethane – and the result is far nicer than I started out with don’t you think?

*p.s- I forgot to say that in order to get the slight raised grain effect (not really visible in these photos) I saturated the wood table top with water and then rubbed the surface with a scrubby sponge – it kind of melts away the softer wood which makes the denser grain appear raised. It gives the new (flat) wood more of an old farmer’s table surface feel.

9 thoughts on “Winter Project : pickled table top.”

  1. Come by the post via Design Sponge!

    I love pickeled (aka cerused & limed) wood. I wish I could do it to my floors!

    Your table is beautiful, what a great job!


  2. This is so beautiful, and it really fits the decor of you home. I had never heard of the "pickling" process before, great job!

  3. what type of polyurethane did you use? when i tried to use it over white paint, it turned everything a yellow shade.

  4. Found you through D*S :-)
    Thanks for the tutorial!! I would like to lime or pickle an old chair, and wasn't really sure how to go about it.
    Your table turned out great!

  5. I can't beleive it – my friend just gave me the link to the Design Sponge website, since she loves it, and as I just started looking through it, I found your project! What a small world. Lovely table!
    Say hello to your family, and good luck with all your projects

  6. I love the way your table turned out.
    I just pickled a side table for a little girls room and it is so chicĀ”

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