Take the character of an antique industrial cart and make it over into a beautiful and unique coffee table!
I’m so excited about this makeover – and I don’t even need another coffee table in my house! lol
I’ve been eyeballing antique industrial carts through different auctions over the past couple of years – but they inevitably go for a fortune. Even the ones that are seriously damaged and require a LOT of love seem to go for around $300 CDN.
Since nothing in my house is antique, and I don’t need anymore furniture, forking out that kind of money on a “want to try project” was too much.
Until last week…
An antique store in town was going out of business and was selling off all of their stock through MaxSold. If you’ve ever used MaxSold, you know that pick-up times are pretty tight and can limit the people you are bidding against in some cases. It worked in my favour last week – I bid (and won!) two solid maple bookcases, a GORGEOUS – but seriously damaged – desk and this gross-with-potential industrial cart.
It was SO FILTHY! Dirty, rusty, filled with straw and mouse (maybe rat) poop and with bird droppings all over it. Seriously gross – but $105!
Most of the industrial cart was beyond sanding. With the age and that level of filth, I would have been sanding for hours and likely would have become ill from the sanding dust (even with a mask).
I had to dismantle the top boards and run each of them through my planer a few times to remove the worst of the
Two boards broke as I was pulling the nails to take everything apart, but I managed to save all the rest and look at how gorgeous they turned out!
Hardwood! I’m not sure what hardwood, but they are all hardwood boards – which makes sense now that I think about it since these industrial carts were built to lug heavy crap around factory floors.
I didn’t want to lose the patina of the boards – just the dirt, so I didn’t sand further and I didn’t fill any of the nail holes. I even managed to save most of the original nails!
I stained the boards with Special walnut and applied a coat of Varathane Triple Thick polyurethane while they were off the trolley. (I’m including Amazon affiliate links to the products I used. For full affiliate disclosure please see sidebar or bottom of the page)
Underneath the surface boards was all of the iron work; wheels, bumpers, bolts;
The nails had caused some splitting in the side rails, so I filled those with wood glue and sawdust and then clamped them up until it was cured.
Look! Look at the straw and poop in there! This was after I’d brushed it out a bit too!
In keeping with the antique look and aged patina, I didn’t sand the body of the factory cart smooth. My goal was to remove dirt, paint and some of the uglier gunk, but I wanted to keep the dents and scratches as much as possible (or else what would be the point of buying antique?).
I finally got to play with my WORX MakerX angle grinder to clean up the bumpers and corners. There was a lot of loose rust that would have just dirtied up someone’s home pretty quickly – I wanted to smooth it out and remove the largest flakes. From here I can either paint it with vinegar and let it rust out again (fresh rust lol), or I can paint the iron parts and get better adhesion.
I used wood glue on the frame to give extra strength and tapped them in place with a finishing nail on each end, then went back and hammered the original nails back into each board.
In sanding the antique factory cart down, I found original serial numbers in the iron parts and there was even a brass-ish faceplate on the front!
I love the warm wood against the aged black – it draws attention to the iron work and the coffee table’s aged surface.
I scrubbed the iron wheels with sandpaper and marble paste to remove the worst of the rust and found that the castors were green underneath.
I’m still torn about whether to go back and paint the iron work? It would look so fresh and clean painted black – but then the beauty of this is that it’s antique and the rust is part of the aged patina.
Regardless – I’ve gotten the “I wanna refinish an industrial cart” bug out of my system
And if anyone is looking – this beauty is for sale.
If you don’t care if it’s an antique:
Have a great one!