Card Catalog Coffee Table with a Resin Top

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)

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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:

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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.

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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!

Creating a Rustic Barn Wood Coffee Table

I often find fabulous wooden boxes with vintage advertising on them but no lids. I had always wanted to try making a barn wood top, but didn’t have the tools to make them.

For this project you need a Mitre saw, a planer, electric sander and a drill. (You can get away with not planing, but will have to be more selective with your boards and do a lot more sanding. My very first barn wood table was done this way – all I had was a jig saw and a mouse sander.)

I had a pile of 60 year old barn wood and started by cutting them down to size with my Dewalt Mitre Saw (you can also use a Dewalt table saw).

While these boards came from the same building and were all siding, they had slightly different thicknesses that I had to even out. With the Dewalt planer, the idea is to slowly shave off layers little by little. However, for this piece, I wanted to achieve a more rough look rather than completely smooth, so I planed the top to the roughness I wanted, and then planed the underside as much as I needed to achieve even thickness for all 4 boards. I then used my Dewalt 5″ orbital sander 120 grit to clean up the sides and other splintery spots.

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The beauty of barn wood is its uniqueness and perfectly aged look. But along with that, especially when making a table top that is still a little rough is that your table top is not completely smooth nor the boards joined up perfectly. There may be gaps and slight thickness variances. But I feel it’s a lot easier to work “for” the barn wood rather that make the barn wood work for you. Embrace its ambiguity and uneven parts!

You can tell more of those uneven areas and decide what to do with them better once you have joined your pieces together on the back. I numbered my pieces because I had to put them away one night and didn’t want to try and remember how they best fit together the next day. I found some basic scrap wood pieces and cut 4 down to size using my mitre saw again.  I cut the pieces slightly smaller than the width of the box. I also used bar clamps on each end to hold the pieces together while I was attaching the wood.

Drilling pilot holes definitely helps the screws to go in better.

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Once attached I figured out where the most uneven parts of the table top were and I decided to pull the one off I felt was the worst and passed it through the planer 2 more times. I could have sanded it but it would have taken longer and would have taken away the roughness I had worked to keep. Sometimes extra, unplanned steps are what’s needed and it’s how I learn for the next time. Next time I will be more precise in getting the thicknesses equal.

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I decided to use the “natural” color stain because I liked the look of the wood already and didn’t want to change the color.

Then I applied several coats of clear lacquer. Be sure to use a respirator in a well ventilated area!

The “floor” of the bread box was thin and not very sturdy to hold table legs, as the table top and box weight 30 lbs each. So I cut scrap wood and attached them to the bottom with corner braces and mending plates. This was a little difficult as some of the wood underneath was deteriorated due to its age. The scrap wood also did not line up evenly with the wood on the box so I used washers on the under side of the mending plates to make it even heights.

The last thing I did to the underside of this box was “repair” the deteriorated wood in the one underside corner with clear resin. This seals the area in case the dry rot would spread.

Stella can barely contain her excitement in showing you the finished product! This vintage coffee table is available for purchase, local pick up or delivery only. Contact me for details!

Antique Coffee Box End Table

Check out similar vintage end tables, now available in my shop!

I found this amazing, antique Dwinnel-Wright shipping crate with 2 unique paper labels that were in great condition despite the 1906 date on it!

This box was a perfect candidate for a rustic end table with storage, but needed a lot of repair work and I needed to preserve those paper labels. I use Mod Podge to preserve vintage paper labels. I use a paintbrush to gently apply the Mod Podge. Use a throwaway brush as the glue doesn’t wash out well. It looks scary at first but dries clear and helps preserve the label from further flaking.

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How to Make Vintage Christmas Centerpieces

Last Christmas I made some fabulous Christmas planters with vintage kitchen utensils. I decided to try some this year with some different vintage items.

I found these amazing vintage tins and thought they would look just as great as Christmas centerpieces! I just love the red and green pop of color and the graphics! (These vintage Christmas centerpieces are available now in my shop!)

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Rescuing a Piece of History

Have you ever had one of those moments in life when you wanted to be a blessing to someone but in the process you actually felt like you were the one that was blessed? That’s how it happened in this story. It actually almost didn’t happen except for what I believe was “divine intervention”.

My husband and I decided we wanted to buy an antique cash register. We just loved the artistry and the detailed craftsmanship. We found one on Craig’s List and made arrangements to meet and purchase it. Only to find out when we arrived that the seller had already sold it to someone else who had come earlier. At the moment we were angry at the injustice, but turned back to Craig’s List in search of another.

Enter our friend into the story. A dear friend we would have never met had we not been double crossed by a creeper on Craig’s List. As it turned out, our friend worked his whole life for National Cash Register Company, as a cash register repairman. And as a side business, also restored and sold these beautiful registers. At one point in his career, he had an inventory of 900 antique cash registers.

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Our very first cash register

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Easy to Make Vintage Christmas Wreaths

These vintage Christmas wreaths are available now in my shop!

I have always loved this gorgeous, red metal go cart wheel. I’ve had it for quite awhile and although it’s a great architectural salvage piece as is, it occurred to me that it would look amazing as a Christmas wreath! And actually, you can make these fabulous farmhouse Christmas wreaths with just about any vintage wagon wheel.

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