Quality Time

If there is a perk to teaching it’s this: a long break just about smack in the middle of the school year. We have almost two weeks off for Christmas this year, which leaves plenty of time to visit with my family in Buffalo and still have days to relax before the second semester starts. The last few days have been a mix of busy and relaxing. It has been so wonderful to spend time with all of my immediate family members at once (including kitty!) and for more than two days. I’ve eaten plenty of delicious food, sipped hot tea and coffee, sat in a movie theater, played a game, and painted polyurethane onto wood.

Wait, what?

Yep, that’s right. I’ve not only been trying to catch up on my sleep, but I have also enlisted my dear dad in a project. I can’t help that he has all of the saws and tools I need to build a coffee table. Or, more accurately stated, that he needs to build a coffee table. I just painted on the pre-stain and polyurethane. And sawed a couple of boards.

If you happen to be a particularly observant person, you may have noticed that we have a huge ottoman that takes up most of the living room floor space (okay, it doesn’t look that huge in the picture, but trust me, it is). I’ve been wanting a more functional, more space-friendly coffee table that I can actually put a coffee mug on without it leaning precariously. My first thought was to use reject pallets from a local grocery store to make one, but my parents happened to be visiting that weekend and as soon as my dad saw those crumbling pallets, well…

So he offered to help me make a coffee table. A real coffee table that still had the rustic look to it. Hence, the Christmas visit building project.

I have an incredibly talented father. I’m convinced he can make anything. Beds, dressers, entertainment centers, book shelves, you name it. I showed him my idea (via Pinterest, of course) and he emailed me back a sketch of a design.

scanT842QX (Medium) (2)

He started cutting boards before Nate and I got to Buffalo to make things a bit speedier. I did help with a few, though! Once all of the boards were cut, we had to choose a stain. Of which there are a million. And many projects equal many mostly empty stain cans. A couple of cuts of the pine boards served as test blocks to see what the different stains would look like. We ended up mixing black walnut (a medium stain) with kona (a dark stain) to create a somewhat dark stain that would last long enough to cover all of the wood. Thank goodness, it did.


The table has pocket hole screws, hex bolts and lag bolts holding it together. We put the entire table together before we started staining, then took the top and bottom boards off to stain each separately. Dad had me paint the entire table with a pre-stain before he put the stain on to keep the pine from getting too dark.


The final result is still drying in the basement, so all I have to show is the table before we stained any wood – anticipation, we’ll call it. I painted several layers of water-based polyurethane on to seal the wood and make is smoother. In between each coat of polyurethane, Dad took a very fine piece of sandpaper to the top boards in between each coat to give it a smooth finish. I can’t wait to get it home and set it up in the living room with the spunky carpet my parents gave us for Christmas!

Until next time!


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