I recently rescued this gorgeous 15 drawer card catalog! Overall, it was in great shape but needed a good cleaning. Unlike my last card catalog chest, this one luckily did not have any rust to repair.
The easiest way to clean the drawers is to take the wooden drawer front off so you can rinse the metal drawers with soap and water. And then also wipe down the wooden drawer fronts.
This piece is not quite tall enough to be a coffee table, so I ordered some steel hairpin legs on Etsy. (I much prefer ordering from a small business where the item is handmade with good materials than a large store made with cheap materials)
This card catalog has a sort of “unfinished top” with 2 “wells” in it. Likely it was stacked with other card catalogs in its past life and so the top did not need to be finished. I decided to fill the 2 wells with epoxy resin. (You can see my other blog posts for more details on resin tables – epoxy resin with barn wood and epoxy resin with a slab of teak live edge wood)
Here is a more detailed video on pouring the resin:
The next step was to add vintage pages of a book to the grey marbled resin.
This sounded great in theory, but the reality is this is how it looked after I poured it:
Looking back this makes sense since pouring resin is basically just like pouring water on paper – you get a water logged look with air bubbles underneath. So I made the quick decision to remove the paper and resin so I could to try a new approach. (It was quick because waiting til it dried meant sanding FOREVER to get rid of it) I fished the paper out, then used a spoon to scoop out the resin and finally paper towels. A small amount was left behind but that was no big deal.
I decided to try laminating the paper first. I tested my theory in a foil pan with 2 overlapping pieces, as overlapping also seemed to create a problem in the scenario above. This worked perfectly and now I could continue with my project without having to undo my work.
Because the well is so shallow, I glued down the laminated pages before pouring the clear resin. The results from the laminated paper with 10x better! (It’s ok if the resin is overpoured as you will soon be entering the endless sanding phase to make everything level) I also filled the 2 holes along the outside with the original silver color. These were holes left behind from when the card catalog was stacked with others.
One of the final steps is sanding all the excess resin down to level. In this case I should have checked that my piece was level before pouring as the wet resin gravitated to overflowing on one side and then I had to pour extra on the other side.
This meant a lot of extra sanding, starting with 40 grit and incrementally up to 3000. With each higher grit, you “polish” the resin and reduce the scratches and cloudiness and the wood becomes much smoother.
Even after all that sanding, I removed some leftover scratches with my Novus scratch remover and fine steel wool.
I found a closely matching stain for the wood part of the top and even blended in some scratches on the wooden drawer fronts and the sides.
I finished the wood with my Wise Owl Furniture Salve.
I love the results! This coffee table has gone on to its forever home, but check out other fabulous vintage furniture creations in my shop!