"DIY" Factory Cart Table
You've seen them, the pricey reproductions of the heavy wooden carts used in factories in the 1800s to early 1900s. The heavy construction was meant to last a lifetime of lugging heavy boxes or shipments around. Easier to push than a wheelbarrow and much steadier these inventions of the industrial era have gotten some attention in the past few years.
With the industrial style of interior design becoming popular, these heavy pieces of furniture became an easy way of bringing the old into the new to a cool loft or historic home. The wood usually has been used well for many years and then sitting perfectly to age, you could find them in old junk yards for under a hundred dollars. After enough bloggers and interior designers caught on to this trend you find that the price of a reproduction table are outrageous!
Take this one for example: Restoration Hardware - your perfect destination for industrial interior design taken to the luxury level. This cart is on sale from 1k down to $845. FOR A REPRODUCTION. No folks, this is not an antique, this is a pretend aged wood, pretend aged metal cart that never was used, except maybe to hold the husband's feet who get bored shopping with their wives and take a quick rest while in Restoration Harware store.
You can search ebay and find some cheaper ones and hope these sellers are local since they will cost you a pretty penny to ship, or buy from some of these other cheaper reproduction sites, which honestly look even more like reproductions.
Ok - so you see my hesitation on these reproductions? Unless you are spending a grand on a coffee table that is made to look older, you really are getting a palette table that has some kick ass stain on it and some cool wheels. If you have tons of time and some mad building skills, you should really consider making your own palette table instead. I suggest searching in pinterest for that one - you will find 1 billion diy tutorials.
So where are we? You aren't ready to shell out tons of money for a cool looking reproduction cart, but you have a bit of cash saved away for that really awesome table you will have for years and years. You are committed to a real solid wood table, and putting a little elbow grease into it? Are you ready to spend a few days finding old antique/junk yards in the area?
After you find yourself a ridiculously awesome real antique factory cart - I found mine at Wrentham Country Store, just 20 minutes north of Providence, in the outdoor section where you will find most 'unrestored items'. The biggest tip I can give you is CLEAN IT OUTSIDE, and get yourself some grease cleaner! Without hurting the wood, you can use a friendly and safe wheel cleaner you can buy at any home improvement store. Spray it down and clean that baby! It took me a good 2 hours of cleaning to find out that I had a table with RED WHEELS. Yup, you heard me, you couldn't even see that the wheels were red. After some cleaning and fully drying it, I sanded down the top - I would suggest an electric sander here, and don't forget your saftey gogles and mask. These are old carts and we've all seen medical tv shows these days - this is always how people get some old disease from the 1600s.
Here's my before and after. I used soap, water, wheel cleaner, and an electric sander and got this result. A few hundred for the initial investment and under 50 for the cleaning supplies. And in the end I saved (from the price of the Restoration Hardware) over $675.