We recently sold our old glass patio table set when Matt and I found some rocking wrought iron outdoor chairs at a second hand store. We were stoked to find comfortable, used chairs in great condition. The only problem? We were left with no table to go with them! We lived with six chairs in a circle on our deck for a couple months while I searched for the perfect table to accompany them. I didn’t want something new nor did I want something just to have a table. I wanted the table to fit our style, be unique, and be old!
One day I remembered my mom had a picnic table base that is wrought iron with no top on it. She has had this thing laying around in our backyard ever since I can remember. She had always said she was going to make a table top for it so didn’t want to get rid of it, but that never seemed to happen. I knew my dad would be very happy if I were to take it off of their hands, so I asked if I could have it. Matt wasn’t aware of this at the time, but my thought was to have him someday build a top for it out of old barn wood slats. Because we have time for that, ya know.
I kept putting off actually bringing the thing home because I knew I would get grief for it and it would just be one more thing laying around that needed work. So I put in some thought as to what I could use as a table if I were to use this base. Then it hit me, an old door! I had seen this done before set up at places like Junkstock and my mom used one for my bridal shower for more seating. So, why not? I headed down to Joe’s Collectables in the Old Market to start searching.
Joe’s is an AMAZING, yet grungy, junk shop in downtown Omaha. He always has new inventory from houses and buildings he has cleaned out. The place is crowded and doesn’t have the best smell, but you can sure find some excellent deals!
Joe didn’t have a huge selection of doors like usual, but I still sifted through them to see if I could make something work. I needed the door to be big enough to fit six chairs around it and in sturdy enough shape to stand up being a table. I found a couple that I liked but decided to go with one that had chippy paint because it was the largest and I, of course, like to cause more work for myself than needed. I immediately took the door and table base home so that I could get it set up before Matt got home. Seeing it put together, he was more likely to be ok with the idea of an old door as a table.
I was right! Matt liked the look of the new table and thought the table base was perfect. The only problem? We were pretty sure that all this chippy paint was lead paint because A) it’s an old door and B) the way the paint was chipping went hand in hand with what lead paint looks like. The door needed sealed anyways because I didn’t want rain and moisture to ruin it so I bought some Spar Urethane from Menards which is made specifically for outdoor use.
The Process: I started with the backside because no one will see it. I scraped, sanded, and washed it to prepare the surface. On this side a lot of paint was loose so I was sure to use a mask and eye protection when working on it. The back got two coats of Spar Urethane, allowing it to dry a minimum of 4 hours in between and getting a light sanding in-between coats.
For the top, I prepared it using the same method but scraped a little lighter to leave that chippy look on it. The top received four coats of Spar Urethane because this side would be used for eating and more exposed to the weather. The Spar Urethane was super easy to work with. I slopped it on really good for each layer and let it dry a full day before doing another coat. Because of the high gloss and imperfect door, you couldn’t see any streaks or anything from the Spar Urethane. It is a bit shiny, but I love how it turned out! It seems fairly strong and like it will hold up for a long time.
What a great office space! The chickens seem to think it’s pretty awesome, too.
While Spar Urethane isn’t the most natural thing to be using, some things have to be weighed so that I could repurpose an old door that possible had lead paint on it. Better safe than sorry in that sense! It does claim that once it has cured (after around 30 days) the Spar Urethane coat is food safe. If anyone has any ideas to seal items that isn’t toxic, I’d be happy to hear it!