Once upon a time my mother had these mahogany nesting tables. Then one day on a whim, years ago, she got rid of them. She’s been lamenting their loss ever since. So imagine my delight, when a set just like the ones she sold showed up at a local estate sale.
Yes, these are literally the same tables. Not hers, but the same design and same mid century North Carolina manufacturer. So I bought them. At $48 for three in really great condition, it was a steal.
The tables were probably somewhere in this home “nested”, only taken apart when needed. That’s what my mother used to do. So the top table in this set had some condition issues, mainly from plant saucers or wet things leaving rings or marks. At this point today, a lot of people see “brown wood” and think “oh we’ll just paint the tables.”
But seriously, you shouldn’t destroy beautiful tables like this with chalk paint and other kinds of wood paint. This wood is spectacular and meant to be enjoyed. So what did I do? I dragged out my father’s old home remedy: a paste made of mayonnaise and wood ash or cigar ash or cigarette ash left on the tables overnight.
It really works. We have no smokers in the house so I had to use wood ash from the bottom of the wood stove. The crucial thing is it’s just ASH you use, you don’t want any charred bits or you will scratch whatever furniture you’re trying to renew.
So I did the first coat and left it on overnight. The next morning I removed what was left and took a look at the tables. There were still some pieces of rings left. What I did next was try furniture oil to see if that would just absorb the mark. I like orange oil. It helped renew the tables in general, as I did all three with orange oil, but it did not take up what was left of the rings on the largest table. So I did another layer of the mayonnaise and wood ash overnight.
This morning when I took the mixture off that top table once again, it was like magic and pretty much everything was gone. Next I moisturized and polished them with this stuff I discovered that I love. It’s from a company called Therapy Clean. It’s wood and cabinet cleaner and polish. I found it on Amazon.
The tables look fabulous I think now. And they didn’t require refinishing. Just a little elbow grease and patience. People always used to look at my father like he was nuts when he said that mayonnaise and ash took out rings and a lot of stains. But it’s an old-fashioned remedy that really does work. And again if you’re using wood ash, make sure there are no charred bits or it will scratch.
I hope my mother loves her tables and I just wanted to share this little tip with you. Because while painted furniture can be pretty, it’s not for everyone. I really am not a painted furniture person. I am a natural beauty of real hardwoods kind of person.
Thanks for stopping by.