One of my very first purchases when I started appreciating
old junk the idea of upcycling was a factory cart. I’d been pin-hunting for some complementary pieces for my new-to-me living room and stumbled upon the idea of restoring a factory cart for use as a coffee table. I decided right then and there I was going to have one of my own. Well, it was that or a chicken crate until I realized 1.) that no one sold those and 2.) that stench might take a small miracle to overcome.
I started looking on Craigslist and quickly realized that I was not the only one interested in restoring (or just finding) an old factory cart. Heck, even Restoration Hardware had their own version (available for a small fortune). I stopped at a couple resale shops and the going rate was about $450 for an upcycled version. Then, on one of my luckier days, I came across a shop that had three of them … in original condition. I waffled for a minute or two debating on if I could really tackle such a project until I remembered how my dad totally loves a challenge. Sold!
Well, that was four months ago. I tackled other projects in the interim while my dad held on to the cart at his shop. We’d decided that when the time came to get moving on it,
we he would sand blast all of the formerly black pieces so they could be restored to a nice, black finish. The time came just a bit ago when my garage had an open spot.
My dad took the cart apart and brought the top over. I sanded like it was my job. What I love most about this piece is the character that comes along with it. Many of the boards have oil stains; it’s missing one end piece (which I am hunting for); some of the boards are pretty beat up and the side has some old painted letters on it that despite my scrubbing wouldn’t come off. Of course, perfection would have meant fixing some of those issues but then it would be missing something … character. Take that, Restoration Hardware.
After I sanded, my dad brought the sandblasted parts over and told me to let him know when I was ready to assemble. So, like the naive individual that I am, I took them all out and laid them on my new mat so that I could paint them … when I was ready. Well, because they had been sandblasted, I learned that they would also rust quickly. Back to dad they went. Oops.
After a second round of sandblasting, I left all of the parts tightly wrapped until I was ready to move forward. For some reason, though, I was scared to just.do.it. I called in reinforcements and within a couple hours, I had stained the table top and painted all of the casters and necessary accessories. Over the course of the next two days, I sanded and sealed the table top and we put the cart back together. When we got it inside, I was so, so happy with the result. I am still working on how to decorate this beauty but for now, I threw my dahlias on it because, well, they deserve to be seen too.
Oh, possibly the best part? The final cost was less than half of what I could have spent on the finished pieces I’d seen elsewhere and I have no doubt this one was made with love.