Weekend Finds: Dining Set

Usually I don’t post pictures of my “before” furniture until I have it completed, but it’s getting to that time of the year when the days get short, the weather turns cold and I never know when “after” might actually happen. Pickings have been slim lately and I haven’t been motivated to hit what few garage sales are actually going on, so when I received a hot tip from my mom pointing me toward this dining set I jumped on it.

SetNot bad. A drop leaf table with three additional leaves and six chairs including a captain’s chair. Dining room furniture is one of the things I get asked to find the most and it’s really not easy to find a complete set in decent condition. Usually the chairs are missing or broken or the table tops have serious issues. I was happy to find that neither were the case with this set.


I knew the top had a few scratches when I went to get it. I hoped they would buff out. What I was not expecting was a weird orange stain that wouldn’t budge.


As it turned out, the finish on the removable leaves was destroyed from years of being stacked with no padding between them, so the entire table and leaves would have to be stripped and refinished anyway. Fortunately I got this for a good price so I’m not bothered by it. Since this table is not walnut but is a walnut colored white wood, probably birch, it will take some finesse to get the color to match. Furniture like this has what is referred to as a production finish—it uses special techniques and chemicals in the factory that are difficult to simulate with traditional hand finishing techniques. I’m up to the challenge but it always makes me nervous.

ChairThe chairs don’t need much. A couple touch-ups here and there and, oh yeah, replace those ghastly chair pads. The fabric was replaced probably in the 1990s and are so filthy that even a slight pat yields a massive dust cloud. It’s an easy fix though. Any thoughts on what color they should be?

Hopefully I’ll have an after for you soon. I’ve already stripped the table, so I’m about 30% there. As long as we don’t hit freezing for a couple weeks I should be ok. Of course, with that last sentence I’ve probably jinxed the whole thing.

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