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Super Handyman: Giving new life to old furniture

Getting creative with damaged or otherwise useless furniture can be fun. Here are some super transformations you might want to try.

For example, you can turn an extra coffee table into a neat game table by just replacing the short legs with taller dining table legs.

Or cover the coffee-table top with foam, rubber and fabric to turn it into an ottoman or bench.

Turn a couple of end tables into a more functional piece by stacking them, one on top of the other. This can be done with other tables, and even small dressers.

We created a china hutch recently from an old buffet table and a used hutch top. We stacked them, screwed them together and then painted them.

Raise a plain, dated dresser that sits on the ground by adding some new “feet” to the bottom.

Add feet or legs to an old trunk and turn it into a nice table. You also can do this to a vintage suitcase or two.

A table can be cut in half to create a narrow table that can be attached to a wall, which would be great for a narrow hallway or entryway.

Turn a bed frame into a bench by cutting the footboard in half and turning these pieces into the armrests. We did this with some iron bed frames years ago, and people still comment on how neat they are.

If a dresser has lost or damaged drawers, just replace them with baskets or bin boxes, or just fill the empty spaces with blankets or games.

You can create a bench from two or three chairs, placed side by side, with a new seat made from plywood and covered with a pillow.

When making a new piece from old pieces, use the proper screws, cleats, metal brackets and glues that you need to make it sturdy to last. Your friends are going to want to take a closer look at it, so it needs to be done right. Have fun!


Q: We have a regular wooden picnic table. Several years ago, I stained it. I’d like to paint it a brighter color, but there still are a few places that have the original stain on them. How do I remove the remaining stain so I can paint over it? – C.M.

A: Lightly sand any areas that have a sheen to them. Then apply a primer to the whole surface. Then apply your exterior paint to the surface. You may have to use two coats of paint to get complete coverage. Don’t forget to cover all surfaces, even underneath.

A Super hint

It can be hard to get a mitered joint to meet up correctly – especially when working with crown molding, so don’t do it. Leave one end with a regular flush cut and just miter the other piece. The mitered piece will fit right onto the piece just fine. Then you can caulk and paint your joint, which should look super!


If you like to use spray paint but have a big project to do, you really need to buy a CanGun1. This gadget isn’t new, but it is amazing – and if you’ve never tried it, you really need to.

It is a specially designed handle for spray paint cans that allows you to use a trigger grip to spray the paint rather than the tiny button on top of the spray paint can. This is a much more comfortable position for your hands to be in for long periods of time. It fits all spray cans and is reusable, so it will last a long time. It’s even made from recycled plastic, and, best of all, it only costs about $4.

Check out the CanGun1 at your favorite hardware store, home center or online. See it in action at

Got a question or a handy tip? Send it to The Super Handyman at Those of general interest will be used in future columns.