Introduction: Restore Vintage Card Table

When I heard an old friend was throwing away his card table I couldn't pass up the opportunity. It looked pretty ragged on the outside but it had some character; and plus, I needed a card table! This is a very common type of card table to see around and an easy project that was definitely worth it.

Step 1: Dissasembly

The first step was to pull it all apart.

The top of the table was just nailed on so it came off with some gentle prying. Underneath the top layer was a thin sheet of cardboard and a metal sheet that didn't even sit in the table properly.

I carefully saved all of the nails and metal hardware. There was a cover piece for each corner and a thin metal lip that covered where the tabletop ended.

I saved the top to use as a pattern for the new material and thew away the trashy piece of cardboard.

Step 2: Improvements

The old tabletop had been a tarp-like material but I couldn't find anything similar to replace it with. I ended up buying a scrap piece of marine leather from a local craft store. It was water-resistant had a brilliant red color that seemed perfect for a new tabletop. I cut it out with a box cutter using the old top as a guide. It was also important to mark the old nail holes in the new material to make sure the nails ended up evenly spaced.

I was not about to simply cut a new piece of cardboard to use as the table surface. It was almost offensive that the original manufacturer had thought that it was a good idea to use cardboard as a surface that needs to hold weight and could sometimes get wet. I used a piece scrap of 1/8in hardboard Home Depot had labeled as free, and cut it carefully to the right dimensions with a circular saw. I wanted to keep the original metal bottom to the table so I put it under the hardboard and hammered it into the proper size. I tacked it on with a few small screws and it all fit perfectly into the table.

I also took all of the metal hardware that went with the table and sprayed it with a nice, glossy black finish.

Step 3: Reassembly

I carefully nailed the top back together. It was a good idea to use a small towel when nailing to keep the everything nicely painted black.

The finished product looked great! I used mostly stuff I had around the shop and only ended paying around $10.00 for the leather. It wasn't a lot of work and it was a great price for a nice new card table!

Comments

author
creimann (author)2015-12-29

I have a table exactly like this, (t was the same color even) now I'll have no excuse to not restore it. Looks great.

author
annrrr (author)2015-12-25

love it! I got one of these out of the trash and your redo looks much more sturdy than the original. I don't even think mine has cardboard, it is just the tarpy biz for the top!

author
mlawing (author)2015-12-04

Great job! I might have to keep an eye out for one, now! Do you find the hardboard to be sturdier?

author
nava1uni (author)2015-12-03

Nice project and you explained your process very well

author
VenetaB (author)2015-12-03

Thank you for this. I have a vintage late 60's early 70's card table that needs recovering. Not as vintage as yours but thanks for the information. I will be doing this in the spring/summer.

author
Kreat0r (author)2015-12-03

Very useful DIY, nowadays upcycling and restoration projects are a good trend :)

author
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2015-12-01

Nice restoration.

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