Drop Leaf Gate Leg Table Makeover

My friend Jen gave me this drop leaf table months ago.  An antique drop leaf, gate leg table to be exact.  She was planning on throwing it out, but thought maybe I could make something of it….

keep that in mind – this was a curb-bound piece of furniture.

Fair enough – it did need a bit of love:

Table Makeover - Antique drop leaf table. Gate leg table.

But look at how awesome it is!  It’s like the furniture version of a Transformer!  Fold the centre leaves in half and then they tuck underneath the table, (hence the ‘drop leaf’)Table Makeover - Antique drop leaf table. Gate leg table.

Then the leaves above slide together with this neat (antique) mechanism,

Table Makeover - Antique drop leaf table. Gate leg table.

then the rounded end leaves fold down (not shown).

It’s amazing!

When compacted down – leaves tucked under, sides folded down the table is 26″ by 45″ – a perfect side window table, or small kitchen bistro.  When you open up all of the flips and flops the table is suddenly large enough to fit 6, possibly even 8, for dinner!  (69″ by 45″)

The only problem is a project like this is pretty overwhelming.  For every fold and bend there is another surface that needs to be sanded, primed, stained, varnished – it’s not as easy as a plain table top and legs.

I decided to start with the legs first, and because they are fairly elaborate, there was no way I was going to sand them down to bare wood.  Instead I cleaned the bottom of the table thoroughly with some TSP in water, dried it, and then gave it a light sanding – just enough to rough up the surface.

The stain on this piece was almost a cherry, so to stop any bleed-through, I primed the bottom of the table and the legs with two coats of Kilz primer, then painted on two coats of this warm grey.

Table Makeover - Antique drop leaf table. Gate leg table.

Once the base was finished and completely dry, I stripped down the top with my new DeWalt random orbit sander (yup, I decided to go with DeWalt since I’ve been pretty pleased with my palm sander from them).

I won’t lie – this took a few hours of sanding.

A few meaning 5 or 6.

Mainly because with most tables there are usually multiple layers of varnish or polyurethane to protect the surface.  In this case, I had to battle years of furniture polish, the varnish coating, some relatively deep scratches AND I had to get in every nook and cranny between the leaves.

Table Makeover - Antique drop leaf table. Gate leg table.

A lot of work, but pretty worth it wouldn’t you say?

Table Makeover - Antique drop leaf table. Gate leg table.

How about now?

One coat of Minwax Dark Walnut and 3 coats of triple-thick varnish – which if the can is correct, is really the equivalent of 9 coats of regular varnish.

(I read that you should put at least 3-5  coats of varnish/polyurethane on tables to protect the surface)
Table Makeover - Antique drop leaf table. Gate leg table.

Above is the drop leaf table unfolded out to it’s full 69″ length and below it’s compacted down to it’s 26″ length.

Table Makeover - Antique drop leaf table. Gate leg table.

Table Makeover - Antique drop leaf table. Gate leg table.

The wood – which I believe is cherry – is just spectacular.

You can’t buy a piece like this one for less than $1,000 new, and even then it won’t have the character and detailing of this gorgeous antique drop leaf table.  (drop leaf, gate leg table to be precise for SEO)Table Makeover - Antique drop leaf table. Gate leg table.

With the centre leaf up, but the side panels down, you have a 40″ by 45″ table top – so it covers all of the bases.  Dinner for two, dinner for four and even dinner for 8 in one gorgeous package.

Table Makeover - Antique drop leaf table. Gate leg table.

New Value:

  • paint   ~1/3 quart  $10
  • stain   pint  $13
  • varnish  ~1/2 quart  $17
  • sandpaper  $10
  • labour   16 hours x $30/hr = $480

Grand total:  $530

So before you go throwing out Grandma’s antiques – think about the potential; a few supplies and a bit of elbow grease and it might be $530 you are putting to the curb.

Table Makeover - Antique drop leaf table. Gate leg table.

Drop leaf gate leg table makeover

 

Have a great one!

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2018-06-18T13:40:56-04:00March 28th, 2016|BEFORE & AFTER, REFINISH/REPURPOSE|5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Cynthia Chilson Finger April 4, 2016 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Gorgeous!! Now that is a real trash to treasure! Great tutorial, as well. Thanks for sharing! Cynthia

    • Shelly @ 100Things2Do.ca April 10, 2016 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much – and thank you for taking the time to comment! Hope you’ll come back for more trash to treasure treats (hint: look under the tab “DIY” then click “BEFORE & AFTER” for tons I’ve done in the past. Have a great one!

  2. Michelle July 23, 2018 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful project!
    Do you have an approximate age of this piece?

    • Shelly @ 100Things2Do.ca July 29, 2018 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      I don’t, I’m sorry – it was given to me by a neighbour. If I were to guess, I’d say it was from the 1950’s/60’s?

  3. Lana December 2, 2019 at 1:40 am - Reply

    I realize this is an old post but it is absolutely stunning!! I’m not sure which is more beautiful the details on the table legs or that amazing table top. The cherry wood is just gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing even if it was several years ago. Still inspiring people like me to this day.

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