Intro: 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!