Step one: The iron handlebar and locking mechanism that ran along
the underbelly of the cart were removed for this project.
Step two: Used a metal scraper,
wire brush and a good paint stripper
to remove four layers of lead-based paint.
Step three: Before sanding, make sure
that all paint is removed to avoid risk of lead
poisoning. Then use a low-grit ceramic
alumina sand paper with an electric sander to
remove any superficial layers of rotted wood.
Step four: Use a high-grit finishing sandpaper
by hand to smooth out the surface and reach
areas the electric sander cannot.
Step five: Give the cart a deep clean
then condition it with mineral oil to
prepare it for staining. Once dry, apply
an oil-based stain and a thin layer of
polyurethane to seal and protect the wood.
Finished product: "I chose not to paint [the cart] because I want to see the
imperfections of the wood; they give it character ... Now it serves not only as
my coffee table, but as a main conversation piece in my living room." - Sarah
Editor's note: When working with wood that may have lead-based paint, consider purchasing an inexpensive lead check kit from your local hardware store. Other precautions include working outside and wearing gloves, eye protection, and a dust mask that blocks airborne particles. After you are done, clean up all dust and wash everything.