Antique cash registers often sat on top of a wooden base that held the cash register drawer. The wooden bases make fabulous tables!
I recently made a cash register base table but I was able to acquire another one and wanted to try something different with this one!
The top of my first one had a hole in the top for which I cut out a wood shape to fit. This second one has an interesting “well” in the top, and a hole, both which needed to be filled. (the hole is where the mechanical arm went from the cash register down through the hole to operate opening the drawer inside the wooden base)
The whole piece needed to be sanded first. I also filled those small holes with wooden dowels and smoothed out other areas with wood putty.
This register was manufactured in 1913 and instead of filling the well and big hole with wood shapes, I found 1913 coins to put in the “well” and the hole. In order to fill those voids, I used clear epoxy resin. (To see more about working with resin, read my blog post about building a live edge wood table with resin pools)
For the hole, I taped the TOP of the piece with a lot of painters tape and then flipped it over filled from the underside. Once I had a hardened layer, I placed the half dollar and then filled over it again from the underside.
When you work with resin, you actually overfill and then do a lot of sanding to get it back level with the table top. You can see more of this sanding process in the same live edge table blog post I mention above.
When you first sand, it looks terrible before it looks great again. You start with a 80 or so grit and work your way up to 2000 grit to get it clear again.
I will say that 2 things I didn’t “love” about the results is that there was some reaction between the resin and the coins which yellowed some of them. Also, the wooden dowels are more obvious when stained than I would have liked them to be. These are 2 things I could not have foreseen, and it’s a learning process and it doesn’t stop me from finishing the project, even though I’m a perfectionist! I’ve concluded that this is a 100+ year old piece and these just add to the aged look!
I also sanded and stained the drawer. The front plate of the drawer on this was metal. I was lucky enough to have access to a sandblaster. Sandblasting is great for getting into small areas like the wells of a cash register drawer and I was able to remove the old paint on the metal front and re paint it with spray paint. (the picture is of me sandblasting cash register brass, but it works great on wood also!)
Once the resin is back to clear, I use a 3 step polish/cleaner.
Finally it’s time to stain it! I did several coats. Then I add a few protective coats of clear lacquer.
The final step is to attach the hairpin legs. I prefer handmade, steel hairpin legs vs. the cheap aluminum you can find in the craft store.
The results are amazing! This beautiful one-of-a-kind piece of furniture has gone on to its forever home, but see what other vintage, upcycled furniture is available now in my shop!