Industrial Spool Table

Jun 22, 2017 | General Finishes | 0 comments

During one of my antiquing ventures, I found this gorgeous industrial cable spool at Crickets Antiques and Garden Market.   It was tucked away towards the back of her salvage area and it caught my eye.

I thought it would make a great outdoor table for someone’s patio or deck, 

Turns out, Cricket was hoping someone would purchase it for that exact purpose. Boo-yah!

The spool sat on the back deck of my parents’ house until it dried out. As you can see in the photo from Instagram, it was soaking wet when I bought it (and a bit slimy).

It sat for longer than I anticipated. I got it at the beginning of May and we’re over halfway through June at this point. My Mom gently asked me when I was planning to work on it a few days ago and I realized I totally lost track of it. My parents are so generous in letting me store bulky things at their home, so it’s only fair I work on them within a reasonable amount of time.

My Wednesday was completely open this week, so I loaded up The Marshmallow with a few other projects that needed to be sanded down and trucked over to my old stomping grounds.

Get it? Trucked over? 🙂

I usually do heavy sanding at my parents’ house because it’s messy and loud. Our apartment complex is spread out more so than most others in this area, but noise still bounces off the buildings. Out of courtesy to our neighbors, I try to keep my banging, sanding and other furniture-related-noise-making to a minimum.

I literally spread out all over the driveway. There were drawers, a dresser, a buffet and this spool scattered across the asphalt. My sander definitely got a workout that day! I didn’t go too hard on the spool – just a quick once-over. My goal was to soften it up a bit so you wouldn’t get splinters if you casually ran your hand over it.

Call me crazy, but I feel like tables shouldn’t give you splinters in that way…

Going over the nails in the middle chewed up a few sandpaper discs.  It was kind of comical seeing bits of red paper flying up every few passes.  It took me all of about 10 minutes to get it feeling smooth.  I did the top and bottom of each circle so the new owner could choose whichever side they wanted to face up.

I tried not to go over the label too hard because I wanted to preserve the lettering.  I still couldn’t believe the condition of the spool!  It was pretty clean for sitting outside in the wet grass!

After sanding, I dusted it off really well and cleaned out the middle shaft.  It was kind of creepy sticking my hand in there to get leaves and cobwebs out.  I may or may not have given myself the willies when I extracted this:

I had to keep reassuring myself that anything living there was long gone at that point, but still…ew…

Once the spool was totally clean, I was at a crossroads. What I really wanted to do was stain it and wrap it with rope. Pinterest had some beautiful inspirational pictures, but when it came down to it, I simply didn’t have time for that kind of a makeover. I have a lot of furniture projects waiting to be finished at the moment to the point where I’ve turned down commissioned work and free pieces from friends. It’s not that I have a strict deadline on anything at the moment, but I don’t like pieces to be sitting unfinished. They’re all sitting dollar signs, you know? That’s also why I try not to accrue too large of an inventory. Plus, it’s a bit tricky to store a large amount of furniture in an 800 sq. ft. apartment. The cat loves it, but I know my limits.

Anyway, let’s get back to the spool. It was going to get a simple makeover. More of a “sprucing up” than a total overhaul. Just what the schedule ordered!

Because the wood on this spool was in decent condition, I decided to forgo the stain and simply protect it with General Finishes Exterior 450.

This water-based exterior sealer protects against UV damage on outdoor wood pieces (aka fading from the sun), rain and other damage caused by the elements.

When you first open it up, it looks like watered-down skim milk.  You would think it would dry milky white, but it dries clear. 

After a few brushstrokes, I fell in love.  The Exterior 450 brought out the natural beauty of the wood, making it richer and deeper.

You can see the difference it makes here.  The bottom hasn’t been treated yet and the top has.  See where the wood looks lighter and drier?  That has yet to experience the “magic” of outdoor sealer!

Another reason why I like working with this product is that it’s water-based.  I don’t have to deal with thinning oils with Mineral Spirits or dealing with strong odors.  I could have done this indoors with no odors whatsoever!  Plus, cleanup is easy with warm water and regular dish soap.  I’ve used it overtop of wood pieces stained in Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint and it worked like a charm.  It is meant to be used over wood, so keep that in mind.

The next step was to measure the diameter of the spool to cut a piece of plexiglass for the top.  I took a few measurements and got an average of 32″.  The spool wasn’t a perfect circle, but it was only over or short by 1/8″ in certain spots.  Using a Sharpie and some string, I traced a 32″ circle and began the tedious (and slightly precarious) job of scoring and breaking off pieces to make the circle.  Cutting plexiglass is easy enough if you’re doing it in a straight line, but circles are a whole different story. 

My edges weren’t perfect, so I used a pair of pliers and some sandpaper to get them as round as possible.  Edges like this could slice your fingers open (as I painfully found out).

1 Band-Aid and a squirt of Neosporin later, I had a sealed spool with a top.  My Dad helped me to load it into The Marshmallow and I delivered it to Painted Table Designs this morning.  My shipment of boxwood wreaths and lavender also arrived from my wholesale floral company, so I unpacked everything out on the porch and scattered it around the shop.

I saved one boxwood wreath for the centerpiece on the spool table.  What do you think?

These two black metal chairs were the perfect additions to go along with the spool table.  They were the right height and they draw out the darker spots in the wood.  Literally everything in this photo is for sale right now at Painted Table Designs!  Well, maybe not everything.  The plants stay.

The wood on this piece is soooo yummy!

Just look at all of the variations across the top (or bottom if you prefer).  This is legit industrial/farmhouse/salvage decor!

Just one more…

If you’re interested in this piece, please contact Painted Table Designs in Elverson, or shoot me a message.  I offer delivery with a limited radius for a fee.  If you’re over an hour away, you’ll need to pay a visit in person.

If you would like to make your own spool table, here’s what you’ll need:

Industrial Spool Table:

  • Industrial Cable Spool
  • Sander (Orbital or palm is fine)
  • Sandpaper (I used 150 grit)
  • General Finishes Exterior 450 Sealer (Or any quality exterior sealer of your choice)
  • Plexiglass
  • Plastic Cutting Tool (Available at any hardware store.  This is the one I used)
  • Sharpie
  • String
  • Measuring Tape
  • Not sure where to find cable spools?  Here are a few places you could try:
  • Industrial/Mechanical/Farm Equipment Auctions
  • Craigslist
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Salvage Yards
  • Antique Markets (Look outside!  That’s where I found mine!)

Welcome to my happy place!
I'm Jenn Baker - Milk Paint lover, photographer, blogger, and QVC Guest Host. Click below to learn more about me and my creative business.  LEARN MORE ABOUT JENN

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