Evil Joy Speaks

Spawning the next generation of evil genius, one misadventure at a time

Back To School Homework Table

Today I’m joining in series of Blog With Friends theme collaborations. Each month a group of bloggers get together and each publish a project based on a theme. In any given month there may have a recipe, sewing tutorial, crafts projects, book review and/or a technology post all related to the theme of the month. Links to all those participating are at the bottom of this post! Thanks to Karen of Baking in a Tornado for all she does with these collaborations!!

BLog With Friends
At the bottom are links to all the posts other have prepared. Enjoy! Here goes……

“Why did you refinish my firewood???” Dr. Evil texted me when he found our kitchen table in the garage.

This table. This poor old table has seen much better days. We bought it 12 years ago somewhat on a whim (us, implusive? no….never). It is made of solid pine. Did you know solid pine is solid, heavy, and SOFT? Within 45 minutes of owning this table it had it’s first ownership mark. Eldest chewed on the leg and it made marks. Awesome, right?

Over the years, the table has become more tired and abused. Nail polish, Easter egg dye, carvings by children and pumpkin knives have left their marks. And two weeks ago, the table was nearly replaced. We went looking for a new set of couches and found a table. Given our impulsive shopping methods I purposely left my wallet at home. We found a table that was wonderful however given we NEED a new mattress, our couches are older than three of the kids and smell like dog, and our carpet has been chewed on by dogs, a table is fourth (at least) on the list.

Dr. Evil went on travel. I hatched a plan. I had the Bigs help me get the table out of the house and into the garage. Off to the Home Depot I went and bought some basic supplies. Sand paper of two different grits, clear poly, and staining pads.

For two nights I sanded. Not much pressure was required. Sanding with the grain and in even strokes was my goal.  I started the varnish. Even strokes with the grain across the entire surface for each stroke. Some trial and error showed me stopping half way across the table left streaks and air bubbles in the varnish. After three coats I used a super fine grit sand paper to rid the table of any streaks. Three more coats of poly and …. TA DAH! My kids now have a place to do homework and will no longer get splinters while they study!!



I saved us $970. The table we were looking at was $1000.  My supplies were only $30. (I already owned the hand held sander.)

Here are the other amazing participants!

Baking in a Tornado

Someone Else’s Genius

Cluttered Genius

Stacy Sews and Schools

Home on Deranged

The Lieber Family

Eileen’s Perpetually Busy


  1. Awesome job Joy!!! Love it!!

  2. It’s a beautiful table! Pine is such a pretty wood.

  3. This is awesome! We need to do this to our kitchen table (which probably iSN’T pine and not nearly as nice but needs some TLC). 🙂

  4. I have a kitchen table that I need to do this to. Like you, there are other, more important, things that need to be replaced in our house. Mattresses, couches, dressers…the table will have to wait. I painted the top a while ago, but paint on a table top is a bad idea.

    • Monday we bought a new sectional and a new mattress. Glad we did the table or I’m sure that would have made it onto the purchase. I have a hard time spending $100 at the grocery store so furniture…OUCH!

  5. You make it look so easy!!! I love it!!!

  6. I love this project, that not only did you do you have pride in a job well done and you saved a ton of money, but you get to keep a table in it’s new form that has a lot of history with your family. Well done!

    • It was one of the first real pieces of furniture we purchased way back when! All the kids have smashed their forks into the one end, done homework on, science fair projects, and even held the advent wreath two winters ago when we almost burned the table (while in the house – forgot to put out the wreath!).

      Thanks for all you do – you are the best!

  7. When I saw the before and after picture, I was thoroughly amazed! What savings, too. Geez, 🙂

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