Oct 17, 2010

Reinventing an Old Tea Cart - Part 1

I thought it would be fun to show my current project and the process of taking it from start to finish so here it goes...

I found this tea cart at an antique mall near Valle Crucis, North Carolina(home of  the famous Mast General Store, opened in 1883). I found the cart in the back room of the store, where extra inventory was kept. Most of the antique stores I go to have these back rooms and these rooms are where I have found some of my favorite pieces at the best prices.

I loved this piece as soon as I saw it, and was excited to see that, though it was very scratched up and covered in dust and spiderwebs, it was solid and had a lot of potential.

So I bought it!

First thing I do when I start a project like this is to take the piece apart as much as I can, putting all of the hardware in a baggie so I won't lose any of the smaller screws, etc. The picture above is the table after I took off  the wheels.

Here is the drawer.The drawer pull is solid brass and has the perfect patina - real not artificial.

As you can see the table was a mess. The shelf underneath was covered with those cocoon looking spider egg things and I am a huge arachnophobic!

I think this cart must have sat in a garage or some sort of storage space because it had a bunch of dust and dirt on it as well.

Just another angle - this is a view of one of the two drop leafs before I took the top of the table off.

I love these wheels! When the table is assembled, the wheels are what give this piece so much charm and character.

Once I got the table taken apart, I vacuumed it thoroughly with the brush attachment and got most of the dust, dirt and spider cocoon thingys off.

Ready for sanding!

This is the hardest part of this kind of project, but I think it's the most important. I am very particular about what I do. My plan is to paint the cart, so I only need to "rough it up" by sanding it to get it ready for paint, but I usually sand it down to the wood. Very tiring on my forearms, but the end result is so much better!

This is the base of the cart and the hardest part to sand because of the legs - lots of crevices. The dog in the picture is Pearl. She is our golden retriever, and she is the niece of our other golden named Charlotte. They are so precious to me and my family! Even though I have to vacuum every day because they leave furballs all over my house, I can't imagine life without them.

OK, back to the tea cart...

I have gotten the cart completely sanded and I have vacuumed it and wiped it down with a damp cloth. I have to say it turned out great. All of the parts are in good working condition and the wood, which is maple, looks great!

I love getting the sanding done. Now I have my piece, ready to be reinvented!

I use regular old sand paper. I don't use sanding sponges, and I rarely use steel wool. I find it easier to use plain old sand paper. However for tricky areas, like the "spokes" on the wheels of the cart I use my Dremel - a wonderful tool for sanding the difficult pieces.

Love this tool!
So this is where I am currently in this Tea Cart Project. Now I'm ready to start the fun part.

My plan has been to paint the cart, maybe a creme color and then do an antique glaze on it, but I love this piece and want to make sure that is what I should do.

Please let me know your thoughts about this and I would love any ideas or suggestions you may have.

Keep checking in so you can see part 2 of this project!  Thanks for visiting and if you haven't done so already - check out my shop on Etsy - Lula Belle.


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