DIY Fluted Dining Table from a Free Craigslist Table (Full Guide)

I have been looking for a round-base dining table that I could turn into a fluted-base dining table for a while. I got extremely lucky and found a free one on Craigslist, so I messaged the listing and picked it up right away.

If you search “fluted dining table for sale” online, you will find brand new tables sold by big companies like Wayfair for thousands of dollars, but if you are like me, making one yourself sounds much better on the bank account.

Take a look at what I started with… this thing was pretty hard on the eyes just because of its yellow/orange color wood. Sadly it just didn’t fit into any modern home today.

My goal is to strip the orange out of it and bring it back to a lovely modern stained color, along with adding dozens of fluted wood trim pieces along the base vertically, shall we get started?

Step 1: Prepping the Base

sanding base fluted table

The very first thing I wanted to get started on was installing the fluted trim pieces; however, I needed to prep the table base. This involves these steps below:

  1. Clean the entire base with Krud Cutter
  2. Then clean up with water
  3. Fill broken veneer chips with bondo filler
  4. Allow Bondo to dry and sand smooth
  5. Scuff sand the entire base by hand with 150 grit
  6. Clean dust with a damp rag

veneer bondo patched

Step 2: Begin Gluing Half Round Trim Pieces to Base (Fluted Pieces)

applying glue for wood trim fluted pieces

I purchased around $300 worth of poplar 1.5 inch half round trim pieces from a local hardware store. After prepping the base I can start gluing these pieces of wood on.

I am using Titebond II wood glue, this stuff is super strong and will hold these pieces of wood on no problem!

The first piece is the most important, it must be straight as it sets it all up for the rest of the wood pieces. I used my square and level, along with clamps, to ensure the first piece was a perfect 90 degrees.

Here is the process of installing the half-round wood pieces to the base:

  1. Apply glue to the table base (where your trim piece is going, one at a time)
  2.  Apply glue to the entire back of the half-round trim piece
  3. Place trim piece on base, then clamp both ends down (Use painter’s tape to prevent sliding if necessary)
  4. Allow 1 hour before you remove clamps (overnight is best)
  5. Continue on until you cover entire base with fluted pieces!

Step 3: Removing the Old Finish on the Tabletop

heat gun and sanding away old finish

I started working simultaneously on the tabletop as I clamped/glued the trim pieces to the base.

The table top needed to be stripped of its old finish. I thought this would be a simple stripper and clean up, however, this was like an epoxy type finish that was not coming off easy…

I attempted a paint stripper and then had some minor success with a carbide scraper tool, but in the end, I used a heat gun to peel up the old finish to get down to the light veneer underneath.

After most of the finish was gone, I sanded with my random orbital sander starting with 150 and finishing with 240 grit.

Step 4: Fix Tabletop Damages

After using a heat gun and scraper to peel it up, some areas of veneer came up with them. I used some wood glue to help fix the lifting veneer areas. After this I applied wood putty into any cracks and chips in the tabletop surface.

Once the wood putty dried, I sanded it smooth.

Step 5: Sand the Wood Trim “Fluted” Pieces

Next, I grabbed 150 and 240-grit sandpaper. I started sanding each trim piece by using a Milescraft Sandplane tool, this helped me get an even sanding on the round and deep grooves.

I started off with 150 and finished with 240-grit.

I am sanding each piece to ensure an even stain job and to remove all scratches and wood glue spills.

Step 6: Pre-Stain the Base

I chose to pre-stain the entire poplar wood half-round pieces because they are raw wood. I think it will help provide a more even staining experience.

I popped the can of pre-stain open, a watery-like product, and applied it using a chip brush.

I brushed it on thick; then I wiped off the excess with a rag.

Step 7: Staining Everything

staining a fluted table DIY

After letting the pre-stain sit for 30-mins to 1 hour, I started staining the base fluted pieces. I chose American oak gel stain by General Finishes.

I used a chip brush to apply the stain to each trim piece, then I wiped it off using a clean lint-free rag. I also used a mini paint brush between each piece, in the groove, to get the clumps of excess gel stain out.

After i stained the base pieces, I began on the table top. I didn’t pre-stain the top as I didn’t feel the veneer needed it. I applied using a rag and then wiped away the stain.

Step 8: Applying Water-Based Polyurethane (Protection)

After the stain in dry, I begin applying water-based polyurethane, I like Varathanes Diamond wood finish in satin, to the entire piece.

I am using a foam applicator sponge to apply the poly; you simply wipe it on in one uniform end-to-end wipe.

I applied 3 coats on the base and 6 coats on the table top.

Materials Used List:

Bahco Carbide Scraper
Hyde Contour Scraper
American Oak Gel Stain
Varathane Water-Based Poly
Titebond II Wood Glue
Irwin Quick-Grip Clamps
3M Sanding Mesh 150 Grit
Sand Paper
Crystal Tack Cloth
BOSCH Random Orbital Sander
3M Performance Paint Project Respirator
Wood Putty Kit

The Final Reveal

fluted diy dining table before after

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