Console Table: Rosewood Goes Rose Gold

Valerie Burge
by Valerie Burge
11 Materials
2 Hours

At my cousin’s place last year I commented on a beautifully carved rosewood table in his garage. He responded “Really? Do you want it?” And of course, I did! Apparently he bought it years ago and both his first and second wife hated it and it was headed to their fire pit...that night!!! Turns out I saved this beauty from becoming ashes just in the nick of time!

Even though it photographed pretty well in the before pic, in reality the finish was in rough shape. And I had been planning to do something with it since day one. Just wasn’t sure what that something would be. But one thing I did know was that I would never find the time (patience) to sand this intricate beast down to the bare wood for staining.  

I had recently done a project using gel stain on an old piece that I had not sanded down to the bare wood and I was amazed how beautifully it turned out! So I planned to do that on this piece! I went out and bought a dark walnut stain and got all set up for a simple gel stain make-over.


The foot:

There was a foot that had been split off at some point and had been glued back on, very crooked. I think my favorite cousin may have been on the sauce when he attempted that repair. ;)  

So I gently wedged a mirror scraper into the split and that sucker popped right off. Then I sanded off the adhesive with 100 grit sandpaper and re-glued it (straight!) with wood glue.

Once the glue was dry I lightly sanded the entire piece with 120 grit and gave it a good cleaning with TSP.

I then added pads to the feet by cutting pieces from a square felt sheet and trimmed them to fit, using an exacto knife.

The face:

There was an unusual carving on the bottom that reminded me of a face! I’m pretty sure that was not the intention of the carver!(?) But it creeped me out nonetheless!

So I put painters tape at the back and filled the ‘eyes and mouth’ with wood filler.

Ready for the gel stain transformation!

I started at the back to make sure it would give me the results I had achieved last time…and…it did not! Maybe because this piece has more gloss on the finish than the last project. It was not covering the ‘scars’ no matter how hard I tried. And it was not toning down the original cherry red finish at all!

Now what? 

I was still not going to have time to sand this down all the way. And I had already spent my budget for this project on the gel stain. So I was determined to find something in my inventory to complete this project! I thought perhaps a colour wash would give it a nice rustic look. So I used half white chalk paint and half water, brushed it on with a round bristle brush, and immediately wiped it off. 

It looked blue! What?! And again, it wasn’t covering the scars.

Now what? 

Next I decided to dry brush, using white chalk paint. I went over it very lightly, with barely any paint on the brush, making sure not to dab the paint into the carved details. And eureka! I loved the way it turned out – it had a rustic driftwood white/grey look with some of the natural stain peeking through. Gorgeous!

Except…right up until I put the marble top back on! The marble just didn’t gel with the driftwood look. I don’t know why, as they’re both neutral colours, but it just wasn’t working for me. I considered many options about replacing or transforming the top at this stage. But decided that was just crazy, as this was a custom carved piece of stone designed for this very piece! I needed to make it work!

Now what?

I wanted to tone down the white/grey so I went looking through my stash and found a little 2 oz jar of rose gold paint I had recently bought (impulse buy).

I figured 2 oz was not going to get far on this large piece. So I started with the legs and figured I'd worry about the rest later. I dry brushed it on and turns out I had more than enough to do the entire piece and still have a few drops left! 

So there it is - miles away from my original make-over plan. But I must say, I’m kind of digging it - at least for now. Maybe in a couple years, when my daughter is a little lower maintenance, I may strip this down to the bare wood and go with the walnut stain...

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3 of 4 questions
  • Sandra Sandra on Feb 22, 2019

    What Could you do to metal table legs with a wood top frame ?

  • Dpbeee2 Dpbeee2 on Feb 23, 2019

    Good turnout. I liked the white-washed look too. Can you paint marble?

  • Angi Angi on Mar 01, 2019

    I have been recently playing with Rose Gold, impulse buy as well lol, and am quite surprisingly happy! I'm so glad to see someone else playing with it.

    My question is this... was it the white chalk that allowed you to finally cover the scars? I am delving into furniture redo's without much prior knowledge, so wishing to know how to deal with more intricate carving that I also don't have it in me to sand down all the way...

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