Alright, this is a funky one. I was digging around in an old barn at an estate sale, and happened upon this diamond in the rough. People do all sorts of clever things with wooden spools and I wanted to have a go at it. I had seen an image on Pinterest that I liked of a spool-turned-coffee table, and I decided to add my own flair to it.
Such humble beginnings. But these things are sturdy with a capital S, if you can find an all-wood one. And heavy. There was no lifting it on my own; no, this bad boy got rolled from point A to point B. It required a lengthy sanding as the wood was quite rough, and I used a compressor to blow as much accumulated debris out of the core as I could. No mice, thankfully.
I wanted the middle space to accommodate books without having to be completely full. To do this, I cut 1-inch dowels to length and installed them at equidistant intervals around the core. To anchor them in place, I used a spade bit to drill shallow holes, maybe 1/2-inch deep and slightly bigger than the dowels, in the bottom and top. The dowels were slipped into place and locked in tight with an ample amount of wood glue.
The entire spool received multiple coats of white paint; I can’t remember what I used, just a partial gallon I found in the shed. I bought four heavy-duty casters and attached them to the base. Now it rolls like a charm.
I wanted something a bit more interesting on the top than plain white. I found an old botany book at a thrift shop and decoupaged some torn pages over the surface with Mod Podge. It wasn’t quite the vintage look I was after, so to the decoupage I added a layer of off-white tissue paper. That added some age, and a bright blue butterfly image I had cut out of a calendar gave it a pop of color.
Now for the icing on the cake. I had been thinking about how to seal it and what to do about the deep seams and indents around the screws; I felt it needed a flatter surface if it was to be used for glasses and cups and such. Enter in EnviroTex Lite Pour-On Finish. Contractors use it for sealing countertops and other surfaces that need a very hard, durable finish. You’ve probably seen this on bar tops and restaurant tables. You can buy it by the gallon and spend hundreds (yikes) but luckily Hobby Lobby carries it in small quantities. A quart runs about $30 (tip: use that 40% off coupon on your HL smartphone app.) This stuff doesn’t allow for re-do’s, so follow directions to the letter. It is a two-part mix that you pour on and is thick like honey. To keep drips off the bottom of my table, I taped newspaper around the underside of the top edge. Once you’re done pouring on the poly, breathe lightly over the surface; the carbon dioxide and heat will pull out the tiny air bubbles in the mixture. It was pretty neat to watch that happen right before my eyes. Let it cure, and done. The finished surface is about 1/4 inch thick and super smooth and flat.
The end product! It took a fair amount of time and some thinking outside the box but I’m happy with the results. This table is heavier than it looks, somewhere between 40 and 50 pounds. It measures 22 inches high and 26 inches across. Alas, no room in my house for this one, even though it’s tough enough to survive my rowdy crowd (besides, anything on wheels is faaaaar too tempting.) It will make a fine and functional conversation piece for someone — if that’s you, shoot me a message. I’d love for it to find a happy new home!