The Underdog Becomes a Champion Piece of Art Furniture

Fine Art Furniture Game Table 2

Everyone loves an underdog. Don’t we all pull for the scrawny kid on the football team because he is all heart or the person that competes in a marathon even though they suffer with some sort of handicap? Well, how about the piece of furniture that seems like it just can’t be saved? Now, that can make for a good story.

A few years ago Cathy and I went to an auction to buy some glassware. Cathy was excited to bid on some Mercury glass but did not get the bid so she was frustrated. We didn’t plan on buying any furniture but there was a gorgeous mirror that we had to bid on. We got the mirror for a steal..yippee…time to go home. As we were leaving, the auctioneers assistant wheeled out this cart with a pile of lumber on it. Cathy stopped to inspect this junk pile and said, “That used to be a table”.

All I saw was a junk pile.

The bidding started. “Two dollars” the auctioneer said. No takers. “Two dollars”…still no takers. Then Cathy’s hand shot up.

“Oh my God, what are you doing? Please don’t bid”. Well, as you can guess, the junk pile was ours for two dollars. “What in the world would you want that for?” I asked.

“Well, if we can’t fix it up, the legs will make great supports for a shelf.”

Okay, I can see that. I wanted to throw the rest of the table in the dumpster so I wouldn’t have to schlep it home but Cathy convinced me to keep it. You never know.

So the junk pile sat for a couple of years until Cathy and I decided to clean out the shed. Cathy suggested that I toss the table top and rescue the legs but this time it was my turn to dream. I told her that I was going to try to save it. I just love a good challenge. She agreed. Now, I have to say that I certainly had my doubts. This piece of furniture was worse than any piece I have ever tried to rescue. Following are a list of the problems.

* The center post was split
* Three of the legs were detached from the center post
* One of the legs was totally split
* The leather top was destroyed and peeling off the table
* Every inch of the veneer table border was lifting and warped
* One drawer was filled with a disgusting rodent’s nest
* The other drawer was split in five parts
* The bottom of one of the drawers was gnawed on by a rodent, probably the one that made the nest. Gross!

Before I could even consider going any further I had to see if I could fix the center post, repair the split leg and reattach one of the legs and fix the broken drawer. Honestly, I didn’t think that I would be able to save the table so I didn’t bother to take a before picture. I clamped, glued, screwed, joined and prayed. It worked. This picture shows the table with the repaired center post, the repaired table leg that has been reattached and the repaired drawer. It is still rough but maybe, just maybe it could be saved.

Game Table in Pieces

Next I needed to reattach all of the legs. This part was easy because they were made with a peg construction. Just some wood glue, clamps and a few countersunk screws did the trick.

Game Table 2

Then I had to deal with the top.

Game Table 3

The leather had disintegrated so I just yanked it off and sanded the glue off. The border was warped veneer but most of it was intact. I shot glue under the lifted veneer, clamped it and waited for it to dry until I continued to the next piece. This process took a few days. Here is the table after it had been totally repaired. I couldn’t believe it! It was so solid that I could land a plane on it. Cathy and I were both excited because the lines of the table were gorgeous and now it was solid as a rock.

Game Table 4

After we saw the repaired table we were a little perplexed by it. It was a little too high to be an end table and the drawers on both ends made it seem unlikely that it was a small dinette table. After some Internet research time we found our answer, the table was originally a gaming table with the game pieces being stored in the drawers. But honestly, who cares what it was originally. It would be a great addition to any room.

Now it was time to make some decisions about the fate of our table. What was it telling us? The table was lovely and had beautiful lines and after our repairs, it was in wonderful shape. We decided not to distress but to do a very clean multicolored painting treatment. We decided on toned red, toned green and toned gold for the base painting.

Game Table 5

Honestly, the table was lovely like it was but that top cried out for an art treatment. I specialize in very loose and free alla prima florals.


Cottage Roses

But, this piece demanded a more structure look so I decided on European Stroke Florals that I had learned from my friend and mentor, David Jansen. David is a professional artist and the best teacher I have ever had. I have studied with him for years and he continues to inspire my artistic pursuits. Check out his website, There is so much there.

Anyhow, I designed the table top and painted it using the techniques that I had learned several years earilier. I am absolutely thrilled with the outcome. Honestly, it is one of our favorites.

Fine Art Furniture Game Table

Fine Art Furniture Game Table 2

Fine Art Furniture Game Table 3

Art Furniture Game Table 4

Fine Art Furniture Game Table 4

If you like this piece and might be interested in purchasing it check out our Etsy store for information by clicking this link.

Until next time,


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