Free is for Me!
Scrolling through Facebook Marketplace on a Saturday morning with a cup of coffee in my hand before the house wakes up is one of my favorite things to do. I can endlessly flip through weird and interesting things my neighbors are selling and think to myself, “lady, it is a velvet painting of a dog, not the Mona Lisa, you can’t ask $9,000 for it!”
There are of course, click bait, which Facebook seems to have mastered, showing listings of $0 and a beautiful armoire, but when you click it says $10,000 OBO. So when I saw this listing for an antique gate leg table for $1, I thought to myself, “Yeah, I’ll bite”. I sent the standard “Hello, is it still available” message to the seller, figuring it had been put out near the trash, but to my surprise, she responded that it was still available. So now we get to the good part… I inquired about the price, “Is it really $1?”, to which she said, “No, it is free”.
WHAT!?!?!?! Free? Is she kidding, insane, filthy rich???
So I drove 15 minutes and loaded it into my Mini Countryman and drove off, pleased with myself.
The end (just kidding!)
I decided to take the hinged top off for ease of refurbishment and added a few screws underneath (it was missing 11) to secure the top to the base. $6 and a trip to the Depot, and the table was sturdy again.
The table didn’t present itself as a “gate leg table”, while there was a fifth leg, gate legs usually allow the folding table to come up from the front. I could tell that this table had been modified from its original state, the flipping top should have fell flat on the back, sitting against the wall. This was obviously changed, the hinges removed, and spaces filled with a matching piece of wood, so it was done well.
During my lunch on Monday, I googled around and investigated a little to discover that this wasn’t a gate leg table as I knew it. It was actually part of a pair of tables known as a two part banquet table (this is a set for sale on EBay). Each D-shaped piece, having a gate leg and single drop leaf, is raised and placed back to back, creating a banquet table when needed, and “stored” in plain sight as entry/hall tables when not in use. BRILLIANT! The tables I had seen online were from the early 19th century and were several thousands of dollars, but this is exactly what my little FREE table was.. part of a brilliant solution to hold gatherings without having large furniture that didn’t suit daily life.
Determined to make it pretty, I started sanding. The legs reminded me of the porch posts that I was avoiding and made me wonder “what the hell am I doing in this hot garage???” My
patience insanity paid off and I was able to move the table into the dining room (which seems to be where all of my furniture restoration occurs) for staining and poly.
On the bottom of each leg was a small hole, where a nail might fit, so I purchased nylon glide so the table sit firmly on the ground and flows smoothly on the floor.
I used the Polyurethane I had, bought stain for $9 and nylon glides for $5… $14 total, not a bad deal.
Once I completed the table, I knew she needed some really cool lamps, so right now I am in the process of piecing together some vintage lamps to bookend her and give her some light. The bases (below) were found in a barn in upstate New York (or so the lady on Etsy said) and I am just waiting for the lamp parts to arrive so I can wire them up, I cannot wait! I had saved these bases in my Etsy account for over a year… waffling back and forth as to whether to purchase them or not. I am so glad I did, it was like Christmas opening the box… am I weird, eh, who cares!