Oval Side Table

Hi everyone!

It’s Fun Project Friday!

I love finding treasures at estate sales! You can usually score some well-built furniture for a pretty fair price. Granted, most of the estate has already been “picked over” and divided up among family members first, but really… just HOW MUCH furniture can one person cram into their home?!? Never mind… don’t answer that! And, don’t ever ask my husband that question either- because he’ll just roll his eyes and laugh at you… ugh!

Anyway… other than keeping a few items for sentimental reasons, most of the furniture from an estate is set up for sale. And, since the family would rather sell it than store it, they are VERY willing to negotiate.

That’s how I found this oval side table. I really liked the height and decorative look of this table, but the veneer was in pretty bad shape. My best guess is that the table was previously used as a plant stand because there was some obvious water damage to the top. Much of the veneer was cracked in several places and had pulled away from the wood underneath.

I’m pretty sure the seller thought that it was damaged beyond hope- which is probably why he offered it to me at such a ridiculously low price. Heck… even my husband questioned why I was even considering it! I just told him to “trust me!“… and secretly hoped I wouldn’t be eating my words later!

I bought this table for two reasons…

1) I remembered reading that it was very common for furniture makers to place veneer over really nice wood when building higher quality furniture. Unlike much of the furniture built today, it wasn’t considered “cheap”, by any means!


2) For the price I paid, I really didn’t have much to lose to find out if #1 was fact or fiction!

I recently mentioned this tidbit of information to my niece when she was debating on whether or not an old dresser she found tossed out to the curb was worth refurbishing. You can imagine her excitement when she discovered that underneath all that damaged veneer was a beautiful dresser made entirely of solid oak!

I couldn’t wait to see if MY “reveal” would be equally exciting! In fact, I was so anxious to see what was underneath the veneer on my side table that I forgot to take a before picture… but here are a few from just after I began working on it…

Oval side table- Before

Oval side table- Before

Once I saw the green and natural color striations in the wood, I knew that if the water damage was minimal, then I just wanted to preserve the beauty of this wood with a natural stain.

Oval side table top- Before

Oval side table top- Before

Unfortunately, the damage was too deeply engrained in the wood… Grrrrrrrrr…..

Oval side table- Removing veneer

Oval side table- Removing veneer

I was going to “shabby” it up, but decided to just give it a thorough cleaning and leave the table frame just as it was. The table top definitely needed to be stained, so after a good sanding, I used Minwax Jacobean stain and applied three coats of Minwax Polycrylic for topcoat protection. I probably should have used two coats of stain as well, but if you look closely, you can see that using a single coat actually allowed some of the green striations in the wood to show through… and I thought it looked pretty cool that way.

Oval side table top- After

Oval side table top- After

And here is the finished product…

Oval side table- After

Oval side table- After

I really like how it turned out, don’t you?

So, the next time you come across a piece of furniture that looks like it’s beyond hope… don’t give up on it! With some patience and elbow grease, that ugly duckling might just turn out to be your beautiful swan 😉

Don’t forget to CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE and LEAVE A MESSAGE… I’d love to hear what you think!



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