Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Nutting Cart Coffee Table

A Railroad Cart Makes a Great Addition 

Coffee Table Shopping Turns into a Roadie

We were looking for a new coffee table for quite some time. It's an essential element in a home where the majority of meals take place on it as we sit on the couch. I admit that we rarely use a dining room table for a sit down dinner so we were deliberate when we began looking.

It was actually my husband who first mentioned Nutting Carts, or railroad carts for coffee tables, after he had looked for options locally on Craigslist. Most of them were out of our price range as they were finished and already converted but with a little persistence we found a few that were rather cheap. The coffee table mission became an actual roadie and we drove to Clare, Michigan. While this would normally be a two and a half hour drive one way, because of the snow it took closer to four hours. Now, that's commitment for a coffee table!

Our coffee table was actually an "extra" for displays at the local sporting good store. It did require a little bit of work to get this in working order but it was worth it. After cleaning it up we discovered that because of its function, it was designed to tilt with the weight when it was loaded which works for a moving cart but not necessarily for a piece of furniture that you want to put your dish or full glass on, or sometimes your feet! We actually removed the end wheels, pulled the springs and then fixed them permanently in place so they could not slide with screws. I also sanded the top of the piece to remove years of grime while trying to preserve as much of the character as possible and made a decision to stain that part of the table. We did not touch the sides of the table as we decided we wanted to leave the stamping and some of the age of the piece alone. I think that the combination of stain and untouched wood actually added a nice contrast. The stain really brought out some of the imperfections and grain.

I really think it was worth the drive and the little bit of work to have something a little more unique. Of course, now that I have searched this out a little more, I can tell you that it might not be as unusual as I first thought it was and it's important if you do shop for one to look around a bit. We did find that some of these tables that are finished are not really railroad carts but rather copies that folks are building and then distressing. There are even do it yourself instructions to make them. Also not all of these carts have the same dimensions, and if you are going to take a road trip you may want to check measurements first. Some of them are really low to the ground and may not be suitable for your purposes especially if you are eating off these and don't want to hunch over.

Now this wouldn't be my blog without a food reference, although the fact that we use this table for eating may suffice. . . No roadie would be complete without a food adventure too and in Clare, Michigan there is Cops and Doughnuts which can be a destination for a foodie all by itself. The bakery was bought by the local police officers when it was about to close and has wonderful treats (bacon doughnut, mini fruit pies, bread that smells like donuts) as well as some touristy items to purchase. The kids enjoyed taking mug shots. If you are out that way, think of this as your public service announcement. I should say that the kids ask when we are going back and it's because of the bread I used for their sandwiches that week rather than the doughnuts.

1 comment:

  1. I have 2 matching Nutting carts for sale! Soon will be on Minneapolis Craigslist. They are lower and defined edges and great cast iron logo!