Furniture makeovers / Products / Projects / Thrift store finds

Gate leg table from Goodwill

I went to the Goodwill to find wallpaper ( I think) but instead I found this:


I had never really seen a table like this before but it was the perfect size to go into my entrance room.  I would leave it folded most of the time but I could flip up one side and use it for my crafting or I could flip up both sides and use it for whatever.  I really liked it.  The price was $19.99 and honestly I was fussing about that price.  I am not really sure why but at the time it seemed to be particularly expensive.  Maybe because I knew I was also going to have to pay someone to haul it to the house for me.  Or maybe it was because one of the leg ends was loose and it has to be refinished.   I grudgingly paid for it and left it in the store until I could go back and pick it up.

It took me 2 days before I could get someone to haul it to the house for me.  When I went back there was a sold sign on it and someone had scratched the top of the table.  They weren’t bad scratches.  When I pointed it out hoping to get a little relief on the price the clerk said something to the effect of that’s the chance I take when I have them hold for pick up.  hmmmmmph.  They weren’t budging on that $19.99 price.

When I got it home I knew I had to refinish it immediately.  It was in too bad of shape to use it as is.  The finish was terrible and one of the legs was coming off. The first thing I tried was sanding the tabletop down.  That was taking wayyyyy too long.  I worked on this thing for 15 minutes and only had a very small section sanded.  I thought it would take 15 minutes to do the whole table!  LOLOLOL…I crack myself up.

Since that was not working I purchased some  heavy duty super strip to refinish the top.  As I stated in another posting about this, my plan was to put the stuff on wait 15-30 minutes, scrape it off, clean it up, and re-stain all in a day.  You might ask what gave me the idea it would be that easy…I read the can and that is what it said on the can.  We all know they never lie on the can right? Yeah right.  I have a habit of believing in things that don’t deserve to be believed in…the instructions, in this case, is a prime example.

Day one:

I painted the table top with a really thick coat of super strip, which is a thick snotty like clear gel.  I waited 30 minutes.  I went to scrape off and there was a lot of thick gooby gob that came off.  It was disgusting and messy..  I hate to work with messes like this.  Even though some of it was coming off, alot was still on the table and the gel was drying quickly.   I left it and went to bed

Day two:

I painted the top again with the gel and this time said I was only waiting 15 minutes and maybe I can catch it before it dries up. It was another similar waste of time.  It dried I was disgusted and I left the table with two coats of super strip dried on it.  hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Time to come up with a different plan.

I went to Lowes and read some more cans and they were saying to pour their product in a metal container, use a stripper pad and dip the pad,  rub on the solution, leave for 15 minutes, rub off.  Wash residue off with TSP.  Sounds easy enough but now I am skeptical of instructions so I was not about to buy another stripper.  I just got the stripper pad, TSP and metal bucket

The pads came in two sizes.  One was a very thick one and the other was thin with a contour surface.  I went with the later.  Not just because it was cheaper but because it looked like it was easier to handle.

I put some stripper solution into the bucket and then tried to take the stain off with the pad.  That was working a little but not as fast as I wanted it to. Hey I live in the fast generation, I don’t like to wait.

I wondered what would happen if I put the TSP in the bucket with the solution and some water and try to take it off like that.  I put some water in the bucket and then when I put in the TSP it started foaming and fizzling all over the place, to the point that I thought it might erupt and that crap get on my face.  I dumped it out!

After dumping it out I put about 1/2 gallon of warm water in the bucket and one Cup of TSP like the instructions said to do.  I used my stripper pad and bam, whaddya know… the stuff was coming right off.  Wow now I was seeing the beauty of the wood!!

The photo shows the wood still wet, which is why it looked so dark.  I had to take a photo like that because it was pretty to me. I finished the whole table in about 30 minutes which included 3 water changes because the water was nasty!  Now let me clarify, I don’t think the TSP would do this alone, it was taking off the 2 coats of stripper that I left on the table and everything under it.  Also I wore gloves.  The gloves I had were from my neighbor when she was in the nursing home…they are  vinyl exam gloves and come in a box like a tissue box crammed with 150 gloves.  I use them a lot!  They are not real thin but thin enough.  I went through only two pairs of them today, which surprised me, because I thought the chemicals would eat right through them.  They only tore because of the pressure I was using in cleaning.  Lastly I forgot to mention, I would dip the pad, scrub the table and wipe off with a large microfiber cleaning cloth I have.  I purchased it for my car.  It did wonders also.  I had to rinse it clean several times.

I decided against stripping the legs, because they looked pretty decent.  I planned on using Poly Shades which is a stain with polyurethane in it.

I have used this stuff over stain before and it worked pretty good.  I got the quart size because they did not have anything smaller in the shade I wanted.  I probably won’t use more than a few ounces and I anticipate that  I will have lots left over.  That is not good because I found once it is opened it does not have a long shelf life.

I cleaned the legs with my TSP solution then  turned the table over to get a better look at the broke leg.  When I looked closely I found it was not broke at all it was just loose.  I carefully pried the legs off with a small crowbar

I filled in the holes with wood glue and put it back together.  I could not find my clamps so it had to stay just as it were and hope for the best.    I let that dry for a couple of hours and when I checked it, it looked great.  I went over the bottom portions of my table with the Polyshades.   I chose to use the Bombay Mahogany.  I thought that was pretty and it was close to the table’s original color.  The table was actually a dark cherry but the Polyshades did not come in a cherry color.  They had the mahogany that I got, walnut and oak.  Actually I don’t know what else is out there, that’s all they carried in my Lowe’s.

One coat on the bottom of my fixed table!

Those drips did not come from me btw…check the photos above and you will see they were already there.  :-p

Day three.

Despite Bear hanging on me like I was going to disappear somewhere I managed to get the table finished.  i went over the table with the scrubbing brush one more time and then I sanded it down.  I then put a coat of the Polyshades on the table.

I was really digging this.  I put a second coat on and let it dry

Day four;


Now all I have to do is get a table scarf and a wow factor centerpiece.  But for now I feel comfortable moving on to the next project.

6 thoughts on “Gate leg table from Goodwill

  1. Great job on the table! Sanding is a tedious job, but you did great refinishing it by using the strippers. Lol on the multi-coats before it got finally removed, but I think it was worth it. The table has beautiful color, and I guess your $19 was not put to waste either, and I bet you could resell it for a much higher price now if you want.


    • It was well worth the price and honestly I don’t know why I was griping about the price. Sometimes I can be super cheap! Anyway I love it and I doubt if I sell it. If I do it will be way more than $20!:-) LOL


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