top of page

How to bring your dining table back to life for R350.

Over the last 2 months I have been on a mission doing some light redecorating to my living room and knowing full well that I would have to finally get around to revamping my dining table with a sand and varnish, which seemed like a total drag! What I didn't realise was how effortless and satisfying this final piece of the living room make-over puzzle would be.

The table is 8 years old and was made for my showroom back when I was in retail at the Cape Quarter in De Waterkant, Cape Town. The base was made for me by Morgan Associates in KZN and is the most beautiful wrought iron rectory base. The top I had done in solid oak panels with a 60mm router edge, which was made up by my shop-fitter at the time. The table sat in so many room settings in my showroom before finally retiring to my house 5 years ago. And in all this time it has been the gathering surface for Christmas, birthday parties, dinner parties, cutting kaftans, kids art, crafting, sorting, organising and so on...

So you can imaging how many glass rings, scuffs, marks, fade patches and even a few light paint lines there were. (I wish I had taken a before pic)!

So with no major weekend plans set the time had presented itself to finally sand and varnish the table top.

I delegated the sanding task to my house assistant who happily obliged. He did this by hand with a sanding block and 3 different grains of grit. Starting with a rough, then a medium and finally a fine grit to smooth out the grain. It took about 2 hours in all, and made a fine dusty mess, which my trusty vacuum sucked straight up. This approach was great as it meant we could do it in situ.

Next up was my turn, Dan Dan DIY I call it !

Off I went to Jack Hammers in Hout Bay and looked into what to buy.

Knowing Woodoc is a good brand, and one I use to keep my outdoor furniture oiled I looked at their product. I settled on Woodeoc 10 Velvet Clear to do the job as the process on the tin seemed simple enough.

I was so excited to see what the outcome was going to be.

When applying the first coat I was a little unsure about something unexpected going wrong. With DIY there are so many variables to the outcome. Anyway I pressed on. The coat went on easily enough, but I did notice what looked like oil sitting on water, which made me a bit nervous... I soon realised that this was only the varnish slowly absorbing into the wood. Long even brush strokes really helped it all get absorbed in and left the top with a light sheen which I let it dry overnight.

Day 2, I realised I didn't have the steel wool recommended on the tin for the sanding process. So back to Jack Hammers it was for me, (with a croissant stop en route). I also bought some turpentine as it recommends that you wipe the table top down after sanding with turpentine on a cloth.

The sanding with the steel wool took about 15 minutes and was quite a workout for "the old" arms, then a dust off with a dry cloth, another turps wipe down and the second coat of varnish.

Now I could really start to see results which was a very satisfying feeling indeed. #DIYgenius I am thinking! I left the table top once again to dry really well overnight.

Sunday morning I woke up, made myself a coffee and could not wait to do the final sand, wipe down and varnish - a bit like "Ground Hog Day" but this time I literally did it in my pyjamas :)

There is something so satisfying about seeing something you love be returned to its original state of beauty, I think this pulled me out of bed.

With coffee in hand, steel wool in the other, Lionel Richie playing in the background I hit the final round. It took about 40 minutes in total, and then the rest of the day to dry.

My beloved table, the family meeting point, my loyal work surface and the focal point of my living room has been restored to it original state of splendour for total cost of R350 and a bit of muscle. Now that's worth the weekend!


bottom of page