I refinished a table 3

Chiseling out the fishes turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be.

The table was still pretty dirty. I removed hardware and sanded that. I removed all the mismatched screws and found replacements – most matching. I sanded and sanded and sanded. It was taking forever. Then I began to wonder if perhaps I could have made much swifter progress had I started out with grittier sandpaper. Was I being too gentle, stripping the wood with 220? Hell yeh I was. Back to Ace Hardware, hello 100. Things happened pretty quickly from here – minus the 10 day vacation, vacation recovery time, the start of school, and I got a job (more on that another time). I lost a little momentum there for a while, but once I finally started back at it magic began to happen.

Of course I forgot to take pictures at this point.

And then like 4 coats of polyurethane later and still not a smooth finish, I make the call, “Dad, I can’t get it smooth.” “Did you try wet sanding?”


And then it was done. Well, nearly. The new screws I used to attach the legs to the table top were just a touch too long… SON OF A FLIPPING NUTCRACKER!!! Yeh, they splintered through the finally, beautifully finished table top. Many expletives. I wanted to poke my eyeballs out with my own fingers. How could I be so stupid? More swearing. Maybe some tears. All, very gloriously, in front of my gob smacked children. So, instead of hauling the whole damn thing out to the trash and setting it aflame like I wanted to do, I had to take a deep breath, put on my big girl pants, and get out the sandpaper and polyurethane, and start fixing the mistake I made. Which, by the way, the kids were kinda pissed about. My table had been hogging up a lot of space for kind of a long time in the basement where they and their friends like to hang out. Too bad – I needed a couple more days.

and THEN… ta-da!

Looks pretty much the same as the other picture. You’ll just have to trust me that there were holes and I fixed them. So now it is finished and settling into it’s new home and job… 






Seriously?!?! Reattaching the latch, guess what I did? Yup, made a new crack. This one is staying for now, though. I’m still done.


I refinished a table 2

My house in Lake Bluff has a basement but not one I can work on my table in. It’s a finished basement, like most around here. We finished it because it’s what will sell when we finally get to move back east.

In the mean time… I needed someplace to work on my dirty table. Hello driveway. Lake Bluff is a little village. That means houses right next to each other and driveways you can spit the length of. No one does projects like this in Lake Bluff so no one has space to do projects like this. Having no other options, I set up shop in the driveway (and I like to spit). And naturally, neighbors walked and drove by all day long.  As I sanded away layers of dirt and grime, I got lots of very skeptical, “So… whatcha doing there, Wendy…?” I said, “I am going to repair and refinish this table.” Which was met with mostly, “oh… huh. Ok…?”‘ I sanded on.

Then I had to dig out the little fishy shapes on either side of the big cracks to fit the new ones in. I had a chisel, a mallet, a dremel, and a wide variety of dremel tips. And then I went to Ace Hardware and bought more dremel tips. And more sandpaper.

Hamish was a huge help.



I refinished a table 1

Every time there is a gap in my posting, I am going to start a new one with something like, “Ok it’s been about a million years since I’ve written!”

So there it is.

I’ve been busy (and a little bit negligent) – that’s why I haven’t been on here. Over the summer, Dad was at his accountants’ house picking up a load of really old wood they had in thier basement. Steve went with to help. When they got home Steve came running to get me, “Wend! Come see what I found for you!” Woohoo! I came runnin. “Look! It’s a table! Like you were looking for!” Mom was like, “Uh, yuck. What are going to do with that?” But it was perfect. It was a drop leaf table in many pieces and in very poor condition… to say the least. It was dirty and cracked and scratched, with rusted mismatched hardware, missing leaves and a pirate peg leg. Circa 1900. Probably Sears catalog. Probably worthless. I was in love. Well done, Steve. I have always wanted a drop leaf table, I can’t say why, I just have. And for some reason I got it in my head that I wanted an old one to repair and refinish. Having zero experience with wood working, furniture building, furniture repair, and a limited attention span, I had been on the hunt to a junky old table in need of some love that I couldn’t make any worse. And here it was.

Lucky for me, Dad has loads of experience with all things wood working. We made a plan.

Both drop leaves had huge cracks. We made little bow tie pieces to pull and hold the cracked sides together. Then I figured that I would be unlikely to be able to blend these pieces seamlessly, so why not make them stand out? So we made them into little fishes. Then we packed all the table parts and pieces into my motorhome and drove it home to Lake Bluff.

The Saga Continues

W: I’ve heard that some of the skunks in Lake Bluff are thinking about relocating to the east coast. There is rumor about a delightful “skunk sanctuary” somewhere in CT, maybe near Hartford…?









This pic is from yesterday. Looks like someone escaped! Perfect!

So I secured the chicken wire around the edges, ensuring no one could get in.

Fast forward to 4:00 this morning. I was awakened by the soft patter of rain. It was a mild, beautiful night so we had left the Windows (what’s up with autocorrect not allowing Windows to be spelled without a capitol w?) open for the first time since the Fall. As I am being lulled back to sleep a nagging question creeps into my sleepy mind… why can I only hear the rain from the from Windows? And why does it sound more like someone plucking wire strings? Hmmm.

Crap. I know exactly what’s happening. Either Mr. Skunk-face is trying to get into, or out of, our newly secured skunk sanctuary. So- at 4:05 this morning, I found myself creeping downstairs and peeking through the blinds, trying to figure out if which direction Mr. Skunk-face was thing to go. Now, I didn’t want to risk surprising him, so I didn’t go outside to see for sure, but since I didn’t see anyone on the outside, I must assume he’s locked on the inside, trying to get out.  It’s 4AM and I’m not willing to lean over the stairs to release the chicken wire putting myself face to face with the stinker-so I headed back to bed… And try to convince myself that I’m not a terrible person for leaving the vermin locked in our skunk jail.

Of course I didn’t know that I’d end up working all day- then going straight to pick-up, drop-off, pick-up, drop-off for after school activities… The sun has now set- and it’s dark again- and I still haven’t gotten a minute to create an escapee way for our prisoner! Ack! Why oh why did my skunk removal partner move away??!?!?!


Stupid F-ing skunks. That’s all I have to say. Except it isn’t. One morning last week I peered out the window to see how much snow we’d gotten over night – not much. And as if that wasn’t disappointing enough, I also saw little footprints leading from the street, straight across my lawn, and under my front stairs.   I suspected skunk. And my suspicions were confirmed the following morning when I saw Mr. Stink-face saunter across the lawn and straight into the apparent skunk sanctuary under our front porch. What an a-hole.

I mean really! We have secured the whole perimeter- except the area under the front steps… (Please see below). After all the work burying the fence all around the porch and shed, you may wonder why we didn’t finish the job. Well, Hub needed to repair the brickwork in the walkway yada, yada, yada… One thing led to another, winter, blah blah blah, something shiny- and so on and so on.


Since I despise skunks- and my skunk relocation partner recently relocated himself- and apparently, is no longer interested in relocating my skunks, we had to take matters into our own hands and button up this last little entry point. The main problem is that we currently have a critter under there. If we seal it up, Mr. (or Mrs.) Stink–face will try, unsuccessfully, to get out, and eventually kick the bucket under our porch and stink the place up while he takes his sweet time decomposing- what a jerk.

We decided to cover the entry loosely with chicken wire, hoping he will leave- and NOT get back in. Here’s a pic:


Subtle difference from the pic above, you have to look closely. Will it work? We shall see. Are you wondering how we’ll know if Mr. Stink-face exits? A little trick I learned from Duck Dynasty:


Sprinkled a little flour at the exit… Will check for foot prints in the AM!!

Here’s a bonus pic of us cutting wire. Just because. You’re welcome:0)


Trucks Didn’t Happen

Tonka truck work didn’t happen today… again… still… I finished the book I was reading instead – the very last of the Outlander books. I have been living in them pretty solidly since April. Now I feel like a lose end… Perfect for projects like these damn trucks, right?! The paint cans are still on the floor in the mudroom. And the trucks are still piled up out on the porch.

Tonka Truck Dremel

I don’t even have a pic for the Dremeling I did today. I  seriously have nothing to show for the nearly 2 hours I spent hunched over one truck. The little wire brush is slow going on all the rust and chipping paint. Way slower than I thought it would be. Maybe once I wipe it down it will look noticeably different… Unfortunately, I have run out of caring about this project for right now.

Project Tonka Truck

Started a new project today: Tonka Truck Restoration

Step 1: cleaning
Step 1: cleaning

These beauties have been under the deck for about 4 years now – pretty much since we moved here. This makes me sad. Before we moved here, my boys l-o-v-e-d these trucks. Had them out every day hauling dirt, mulch, piles-o-weeds, and racing around. Woe-betide the poor toad captured by their wee small hands, for it was destined for the ride of it’s life stuffed into the cab of one these trucks. A toad driving a dump truck – life just didn’t get any funnier for my kiddos. I set many a dazed and confused amphibian free during nap time.

Anyhoo… Mom saved my Tonka truck for my kids to play with, so now I find myself hoping to do the same. I had the boys drag them out into the grass, and start cleaning them up. Then I cleaned them myself. Spent a couple of hours today scraping tape and Magic Erasering Sharpie. There is still a ton of tape adhesive that I can’t work off… largely due to my short attention span.

Tomorrow, I Dremel…