Feather Finish Dining Table Update!

5 Materials
10 Hours
For those of you who have read some of my other posts, like so many people, I have been developing a love affair.... with feather finish
My very first project, using this amazing stuff was my dining table makeover, found here: http://www.hometalk.com/diy/kitchen-dining/kitchen-dining-furniture/feather-finish-concrete-dining-table-makeover-28488460
If any of you recall, at the time, we had just purchased our home and had lovely 80's walls- mirrors mirrors everywhere! (Saving that update for another day!)
I am thrilled to report, the walls came tumbling down!!
While tearing down those walls was awesome (dirty, loud and exhausting.... but awesome!) it left me with one issue (one of many... but for the sake of this post, we will only talk about one)
The beautiful dining table- the one I glued closed... (I am embarrassed to even admit this, but I actually used one of the extensions s to make a dog ramp for my little dachshunds!! Lol) was too small!!!!  Now that I had no walls and a huge open space, my table looked way out of place. It looked like the table where "the kids" sit while adults sat at the "grown up table" for holiday dinners!
After all that work... (wasn't really that much work , but it sounded good to write! Lol)
my options....
1. list the table on Craigslist, letgo, OfferUp, etc. And let the negotiations begin
2. Live with it
3. donate it
4. Figure out how to open it back up, add extensions and start again... only this time, figure out how to "level" everything, since putting extensions in would surely leave uneven spots, gaps, etc.
Well... you guessed it- I chose number 4.
I pulled apart my doggie ramp... (Sadie and Bentley were VERY confused and not happy with me!), I looked for the second extension and could not find it anywhere! My dreams were slightly crushed since it would leave my table significantly smaller, using only one... but still, it would be a bit bigger and since I had made up my mind already, I decided to move forward.
My husband is a pilot and travels frequently- so ususally, each time he goes away for more than a few days, he comes home to something different. (After coming home to a house with huge holes in walls, only half taken down he is no doubt nervous each time he lands! LOL) This time, it was the table.
On to the good stuff!!!
Steps for my makeover, Round Two:
  1. Crack table open... but how???? I thought this would be easy, since I read about feather finish chipping, cracking, etc. I was wrong. This was actually the most difficult step. Surprising, right? First I climbed under the table, thinking I would wedge a chisel or screw driver from under and figured I could get it to crack open. Using a 🔨 and screwdriver, I hammered and hammered to no avail. It wouldnt budge!

Original: Glued/spackled closed table
The first photo is from my original project. I used liquid nails and joint compound. At the time, our dining room was small and I thought we would have no need for the extensions... plus I was really excited to do my first feather finish project, so I just pushed it together and permanently closed it. Or so I thought!
Once I decided I had to open it again and started hammering, it took more than an hour just to get the crack going!!! I hammered from the bottom with no luck, the top, where the hammer would literally bounce off the table, (leaving indents when hit hard... over and over, but it wouldn't crack!!!! ) and I finally decided to try from the sides- where it was joined with the glue- I thought because this area was much thinner than the rest, it would easily crack... it wouldnt budge!!!!
The only way I was able to pry it open, was by using a circular saw!!! I started at the side where I could see the line from underneath- of course I missed the line completely! At least it got the crack started!
From there, I wedged the screwdriver into the crack and chiseled right across the line, all the way to the other side.
Split open with extension insert
I added the insert- I looked everywhere for the second insert and couldn't find it. I figured since we never used it, maybe it was thrown out in the move. So I carried on.
Covering table in process
last time I did my table, I used concrete color. I used unicorn spit to paint the base and sides, but there was no real contrast. The finished table almost had a metallic look to it- which I loved, except I went into this because I love the concrete look- so I decided not to color it this time.
Challenge: the seams were very difficult to cover. When I filled them, I think I did them too high and didn't sand them down enough- the result, a wonky table!
My husband was en route from alaska home (south Florida) and I really wanted to show off my table. It was a very long flight, so I spent the night adding layers, shaving layers, sanding, sealing, etc. By the time he arrived, it was mostly done. I was proud!
No mess for him to see, table in-tact, etc.
He smiled when he saw it. But it was a weird smile. I didn't like it. It was that "Jessica, you are not a very patient person... are you?" or... he knows something I don't kind of smile- I rarely ask him for help, because everything he does, even if it's the first time ever, is perfect. It drives me nuts! So often, projects end up taking me much longer to finish, because I'm stubborn and refuse to get him involved. lol I would rather have a result that may not be perfeft, knowing I did it myself, vs. knowing I didn't really DMY (do it myself)!
Well... that evil smile- the second extension was in the attic!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO
Yes... it was in the attic and had I asked him, or waited ten more hours, he would have been home to tell me!
Well- I only had two options:
1. Just deal with the fact that the table was shorter than it needed to be, KNOWING that the other extension was steps away.... or,
2. pry apart newly coated table (again) and start over
You guessed it! Out came the chisel and hammer.
This time was easier. The feather finish had not cured 100% so it cracked much easier.
I added the second extension only now I had a real issue. Filling in the table with only one of the pieces was difficult enough- it required much more filling, sanding, more layers, etc than the first time and although it was "ok", I could see where the extension was added. Now, with TWO extensions, the gaps were larger and the table was not even.
We had some leftover self-leveling actual concrete mix, from when we took down the walls and filled the floor, where there were missing tiles.
Extra bag from last project
my husband made mixing that stuff and pouring it look so easy- I figured I would give it a shot. For a moment I wondered if pouring this stuff on the table would be a mistake. I wondered if it would run down the sides, onto the floor... but I didn't really care. We are replacing the floors soon anyway- plus this would be another product to try... and i could add it to my growing list.
I grabbed a big Home Depot bucket, dragged everything outside by the house, found an old broom handle I thought I could use to mix it up and added the water. (The bag was heavy!)
I figured with my vast experience using feather finish, this would be similar. I could mix it up on the thick side, pour it on and sand it down:
I couldn't have been more wrong!!!!!!!
This stuff was HEAVY, sandy and it didn't seem like I could get it thick! Out of total frustration, I lifted the entire bucket and poured it on. I expected it to run off the sides, onto the floor, making a big mess.
To my surprise, it didn't. Even though in the bucket, it looked watery vs soupy, it stayed in place when I poured- except something magical happened. Something I had never seen with feather finish... it began to self level!!!!! It was like magic!!!
It took two layers... two very heavy, difficult to mix, (I recommend purchasing a mixing paddle to anyone considering using this stuff!) layers of REAL concrete!
I was very excited. The lines disappeared. (Not 100% but I could see this was working)
The next challenge: I couldn't bring myself to mix more of this stuff, it was VERY sandy, very messy and very heavy. By now, the table must have weighed 300 pounds. The surface was very rough and I tried sanding (which was a MESS) and I went through an entire pack of 100 grit paper, quickly. I could still see lines, it didn't look smooth at all... and then I thought, hmmmm.... maybe now I can use feather finish!!!!
Rough surface after two coats
After sanding
it looked pretty good. I added two layers of feather finish.
I'm still not done, but as you can see, it's PERFECT to use this to finish the table! It covered the rough spots, it sands smooth and when sealed, it looks like polished concrete. (I know this from previous projects) I will post a photo when it's finished-
thanks for reading and as always, if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer quickly!
Almost there!
Beautiful HUGE table!
Updated photo (filter added lol)
Updated photo
Another updated photo
And another
Closeup with final note:
Final steps/note:
to complete this project, I planned on adding additional layers of feather finish (as many as needed to cover lines from adding extensions), waxing, sealing, sanding, waxing and sealing (in that order)
I typically add wax/sealer BEFORE final sanding, because in my experience with feather finish, sanding with the wax/sealer leaves a very slick/smooth finish... almost like polished concrete.
I am happy to report: I did absolutely NO ADDITIONAL SANDING!!
As I layered the wax and sealer, I really fell in love with the look. Leaving the surface this way, gave it a beautiful, rustic, authentic feel. Sort of "old world". Depending on your desired look, you can either sand down/knock down any lines, ridges, etc or leave as is! (As long as surface is level!) I used a clear wax all over, highlighted with a blue/silvery wax found at Michaels and finally an antiquing wax, also from michaels. and sealed (several layers until it beaded) with a basic (inexpensive- 15.99) concrete sealer found at Lowe's.
We had dinner at our table last night and it was a true pleasure!!!

Suggested materials:

  • Henry feather finish   (Home Depot)
  • Lots of sand paper, mix of grits
  • Sakrete self leveling grout   (Home Depot)
See all materials

Jessica Hoffman
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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