Feed N Wax

Welcome back from Christmas break! Did you get your batteries recharged? I did.  I had a blast spending time with my family last week and am always very grateful for the break from the daily grind.

But moving on to more DIY things, this is a project I actually finished before Christmas but didn’t get around to blogging about until now.  The table I have in my dining room was in my grandfather’s office for a really long time and has seen better days.  It has water rings and unknown stains all over the top; you can see them pretty clearly here and here.  So when I took all of my fall décor off, I decided it was time to try to make it look a little bit nicer.   Check out that damage:


I had seen a Pinterest tip about ironing with a dry cloth to try to remove water rings, and decided I had nothing to lose. But apparently I had nothing to gain either.  That little trick did NADA to my (probably decades old) water stains.  So next I busted out my favorite wood restoration product, Howard’s Feed N Wax.  Although I have had a ton of luck using this stuff on other pieces of wood (see this link) I didn’t have high hopes for this table… it was in BAD shape.  And I wasn’t sure the Feed N Wax would be able to take care of the water rings.


This stuff is so simple to use (and it smells deliciously citrus-y): wipe it onto the table in the direction of the wood grain, wait 20 minutes, buff out with a dry cloth and wipe off any excess.  One coat of that and a little bit of elbow grease and here’s how she was looking afterwards:


It is still far from perfect (and you can tell that the two leaves weren’t used for many of the years), but it looks SO MUCH BETTER.  I can’t even express how much of a difference it made for this table… even my twin brother noticed… and he isn’t the most observant of people!

table6 It makes me want to use this on every piece of wood furniture I own!!  I’m definitely not paid or perked to say anything about this product, but I love it so much.  I’ve had the same bottle for a couple of years and used it on some pretty substantial pieces and still have a ton leftover. You can find it by the stains/wood conditioners in any of your hardware/big box stores.  This is one of those easy fixes that every time I do I think… why didn’t I do this sooner?! It is so easy and makes a ton of difference!  And just for fun, a couple more before and afters:



Building a Table

I showed you guys this table that I built pre-blogging for the church service (where my brother preaches)  to use as a communion table.  Well, when we finished sprucing up the youth space, they needed a table for communion too.  I jumped at the chance to build another one of these super quick and easy tables… photographing it this time for a tutorial!! Warning… this post is gonna be LONG.

The plan for the original table came from Ana-White and used 2×2’s for the legs.  I wanted this guy to be a little more substantial, so I decided to use 2×4’s for each leg instead.  For the first step, we cut down all our 2×4’s to the length we wanted.


Here are your materials:  (sizes can be changed to fit your particular space)

4-2″x4″s 33 inches long (for the legs)

2-2″x4″s 40 inches long (for the length)

4- 2″x4″s 15 inches long (for the width)

A precut half sheet of furniture grade plywood for the top (24″x48″)

Kreg Jig



2″ Kreg screws (I buy all mine off of Amazon)

1″ Kreg screws 



If you have never used a Kreg Jig before, click on this link to see how it works, but it is an AWESOME tool that drills pocket holes for you so that you can secure two boards together and hide some of your screw holes.  It comes with its own special drill bit and you secure the board in the jig like and drill your hole, like this:



So when writing up this post I went back to the original plans, and realized that I had put my pocket holes in different locations than Ana-White’s plans call for, but mine works just as well, but perhaps aren’t quite as hidden as hers are.  I’ll just have to build another one to try that out!

I basically drill 2 holes in the end of each of my length and width 2x4s, but not the legs. You can see in the picture above I am drilling into the hold marked A.  While the board is still clamped in the same location, I’ll drill hole C and make two pocket holes fairly evenly spaced across the board (this gives it a more secure grip when it is secured into the leg.

I also at this point drill 3 or 4 pocket holes on the inside of the long boards facing up so that when I go to put the top on, I can secure the top on without screwing through the top.  I’ll also make one or two in the center of 2 of the shorter boards for the same purpose.  In the picture below the frame of the table is upside down, but you can see where some of my hole placement is.



My next step is to start screwing the frame together.  I created my measurements based on the fact that the 2×4 legs would have their widest part on the sides of the table (so from the front you can only see the 2″… which is actually only 1.5″… side).  So you can see my lovely model starting to piece it together to start assembly.  I told him after looking at all these pictures it makes it look like he built the whole project and I just sat and took pictures… his response was: “what it doesn’t show is that while you drilled all the holes I played your assistant and went to chick fil a to buy you a Dr. Pepper. ”  Best. Husband. Ever.


At that point we used a squaring piece to make sure it was square before screwing in the sides to the legs:



After all four of the legs are secured, its time to secure the side braces (these should be your two shorter pieces left and not have holes drilled upwards to secure the top on it… just the four to screw into the legs… unless you want to add a shelf). We marked an equi-distance from the bottom of the legs up to the bottom of where we wanted the brace and then used a level to make sure the braces were level, and then screwed them in using the same 2″ Kreg Screws.



Once you have it all assembled, the bottom part is ready for sanding and staining. But first I wanted to prep the top so that I could stain the whole thing at once.  The top was already the size I wanted it to be, but with furniture grade plywood, the sides are rough and not very pretty.  However for about 4$ a pop, they sell birch veneer that is iron on and comes in a roll (you can see the remainder of the roll in the picture below).  At my Home Depot it is located with the nicer wood hanging below the racks of wood.  But you can always ask someone.  It is a pretty simple process, line up the veneer, go over it with an iron set without steam.  The instructions actually tell you to put some foil or something in between, but I only have two hands so I find that kind of tricky, and I had no problems ironing directly onto the veneer.



The trickiest part are the corners.  I didn’t want to have to cut each piece to length, so I just started at one corner went the length of the table and then when I got to the next corner I scored the outside of it with an exacto knife:  commtable8


Which allowed it to bend exactly at the corner and from there just proceeded to iron the rest of the veneer on, doing this for each corner.



Now we just had to stain the piece! I have tips for staining in this post. But the quick version is:




In this case we used pre-stain:



And then stain



Kreg Jig does sell some plugs that you can put into your pocket holes to make them disappear, but since this table will be used on a stage a good distance from the congregation, I decided just staining in the holes was sufficient, especially since all those ones on the top pieces will be mostly covered by the table top, so the only ones you can see are the 4 on each side piece.

We left it in two pieces so that it would be easier to transport to the church but here is what the two pieces finished look like:




I totally meant to go take a picture of this table in action this weekend… but other things sort of side tracked me (hello halloween party!) and I didn’t get it done.

This really is such a simple table to make, taking us less than 3 hours from start to finish, staining and all (excluding dry time, obviously).  And the size could be adapted to anything: side tables, console table, coffee table, etc. You can also add more side braces along the bottom or even a shelf down there.  It is very adaptable.  This is a GREAT beginner project if you want to try your hand at woodworking.



My Little Staining Secret

Y’all… it has been a CRAZY week here in my world.  I’m furiously getting ready for my Halloween Party (see the invite here) and I was in a wedding this last weekend… pair that with a busy time at work and I skipped out on a few blog posts… this is the one I promised I’d have last Friday, and well… that didn’t happen, so here it is! I’m catching up this week on the blog with a few projects I’ve been working on, so stay tuned!

I’m one of those people who makes a GIANT mess when I am in the process of a project. So project cleanup takes almost as long as the project itself.  I’ve just come to accept this as a fact of life and move on with it.  So when we stained the shelves and an altar table for church (a post is coming!) in one week/weekend, this is what the floor of my garage looked like:


I told y’all here about my staining process and mentioned that I use old t-shirts as my staining rags.  They work great, but the downside is that you get stain ALL OVER YOUR HANDS.  The first few times I stained I tried to wear latex gloves, but it turns out… I hate wearing them.  And they are hot. So I figured out that olive oil (or vegetable oil) removes the stain gently from your hands (I’m sure there is something chemistry related about why oil takes off oil based paints and stain which is oil based, but I’m an English major, so I’m happy just knowing that it does… I definitely don’t need to know why).  So here’s what my hands looked like after wiping the stain from the shelves:

removingstain I usually have a cheap-0 bottle of vegetable oil in the garage to do this process, but my husband tossed it out because it looked pretty nasty and he didn’t know what it was. So until I replace it, he has to help me pour our normal cooking olive oil over my hands because he is not in favor of getting stain all over the bottle that we cook with… imagine that!  And even so, this is definitely an easier and cleaner process if you have someone to help you by turning on the sink and pouring the olive oil and soap on your hands.  However… it is totally possible.  You know those Delta no-touch faucet commercials… I’m pretty sure they got that idea by watching me try to turn on my sink with my elbow.

Anyway… (fair warning… this isn’t the prettiest process… so bear with the nasty pictures, I promise there is a clean one at the end!) Pour enough olive oil over your hands to fully coat them and spend about 20 seconds rubbing it in and scrubbing at the parts where the stain is thicker, it’ll turn your hands a gorgeous nasty earth brown color.


Now you have solved the stain problem, but oil and water don’t mix… so you have to solve the oil problem.  Dawn to the rescue! (or any dish soap)


And finally wash all that with water.  If all your stain isn’t off, rinse and repeat until clean.  Although I’m pretty messy and I’ve never had it take me more than two rounds. And there it is, my not so dirty little secret, plus the olive oil makes your hands feel soft and smooth!  removingstain3