Where do I even begin? Hmm....ok, ok, I know
I "found" a table and chairs set during my daily stalking of Craigslist a few weeks ago. It had great details and shape and once I saw it, I kept going back to the post trying to see if there was something I missed the other 100 times I'd drooled over it. I wanted it real, real bad, but wasn't sure it was something I wanted to tackle. I stressed myself out about it for a day or two, even asking anyone with any furniture know how in my path if they thought I should get it and redo it for the shop. Before even deciding to buy it, I needed to test the waters and see if the seller would lower the price at all. Because I am now a master negotiator thanks to the skills I've learned from the lovely Rachel at Holy Craft(she has a post all about the art of getting a good deal). It took a few days before I got a response, but the seller was willing to lower the price to what I deemed affordable. I almost started jumping up and down, but first I needed to recruit my husband to help me pick it up, and convince him that it really was a "bargain".
Who doesn't love a great table top?? And AMAZING legs. I'll be honest, the top could've been beyond saving, but I couldn't walk away from these legs...
Or the details on these chairs. Once I got this home I even told my friend Mandi that I was in project heaven. I know, I had NO idea how much work would be involved, but I was basking in the giddy glow of such awesome pieces. While opening and closing the table and looking at it's underside I saw it's Manufacturer's label, and it was locally made, a LONG time ago, but still local.
This set was made by Gregory Furniture Mfg Co, in Tacoma, WA. The most info I could find courtesy of Google was that this specific label meant it was made between 1916 and 1940. After 1940 Gregory Furniture became Gregory and Butler. But at her youngest that made the table and chairs 72 years old. How cool is that??? If you've read any of my other posts you know that I like to assign gender to the stuff I work on :) Of course this set is ALL female, with rosettes and curvy legs, how could she not be. Well after researching I decided something that was made so well to last so long, deserved a name too. Not sure how I decided on Ethel, but that is her name. If by chance you follow me on facebook, you know all my recent posts have been all about Ethel. My kids have asked me daily for the last 2 weeks...."How's Ethel coming mom?" And all my friends know EXACTLY what I'm talking about when I say her name :) But I digress...
From the moment I saw her I had a clear vision of what she'd look like once I gave her a makeover. I knew I would sand and re stain the top, and paint the table base and chairs white. Of course from vision in my head to reality doesn't always translate as smoothly...so what if it took 4 coats of stain and daily stressing before I could declare the top finished.
And so what if painting a table with 6 legs, and 4 chairs is crazy hard work...not to mention recovering 4 seats with fabric. But that actually seemed like the easy part compared to ALL the painting I did. I made sure that every coat of stain had a full 24 hours to dry, which of course gave me time to paint all those amazing details. I ended up doing 2 coats of Minwax Ebony stain, and 2 coats of Minwax Dark Walnut. And everything else was painted with my Sherwin Williams Reliable White, turned chalk paint. The chairs, table legs, and base were all sealed with a paste wax, and the table top with 3 coats of poly made specifically for oil based stain. Of course I didn't have said poly, but the amazing Mandi at Persnickety's did. So I loaded Ethel up and drove her down to the shop.
As we like to call it, a fun round of car jenga was in order :) This may have been the hardest I've ever worked on a project, but I'm really proud of myself for getting through it, not quitting when I got stressed or frustrated, and creating something that I think turned out pretty amazing!! I know, you're thinking enough info, just show us the table....So here you go, some eye candy of Ethel in all her glory. She's at the shop now and available for purchase.
Hope you come along to see what I conjure up next!!
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