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Thread: Rebuilt our Dining Room Table

  1. #1
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    Rebuilt our Dining Room Table

    We bought the dining room set with our house, since the drapes and valances matched the chairs. As we lived with the table, we realized how ugly it was.

    The top was particle board with Red Oak veneer. So far, no problem. But the red oak had been pickled, then top coated with a light tan toner, then speckled with the toothbrush and brown paint - grade school technique. But the finish had worn off parts of the top, so the part that didn't have that lovely finish had black stains and watermarks in the veneer. Too deep to sand out. (and when I did sand off the old finish, that table either had a VERY hard life, or somebody distressed it in addition to the other ugly finish.

    The chairs weren't bad - tan with minor speckles (must have been a better toothbrush). So I wanted something that speckles a bit, but without use of a toothbrush. I found a veneer called Pecky Pecan that filled the bill - light color with millions of tiny knots.

    And to add to the horror of this table, there were two wide legs - over half the width of the table - close enough to the end that a tall person could not sit at the end of the table (and I am a tall person).

    I veneered the top (and the leaves), cut the middle out of the over-wide leg, making 4 legs, moved towards the corners, and finished it with a toner of Dark Vintage Maple (mixed as a light tan), covered with several coats of water based conversion varnish. After the veneering was done, finishing and reassembling the table took a little over a day. I can see lots of flaws, but Jenny is thrilled.

    Last edited by Charlie Plesums; 03-23-2013 at 04:36 PM.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  2. #2
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    What is it they say about the shoemakers children?

    What a nice save, it looks quite nice now!
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
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  3. #3
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    Nice save Charlie
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  4. #4
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    Nov 2006
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    London, Ontario
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    I don't see any flaws either...

    I'm having a hard time visualizing that table with the wide leg that you mentioned.

    Got any photos of the veneering process? Did you use a vacuum bag, or lots of weights or ??
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
    www.wordsnwood.com ........ facebook.com/wordsnwood

  5. #5
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    Looks great Charlie. Did you use a large bag for the veneering?
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
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    good save charlie, you now need to do the chairs to match
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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  7. #7
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    Jun 2008
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    Nice job Charlie, I can sure relate to the comment about the end legs being wide and not being able to get a leg under. Our set very similar in fact that I convinced Linda to leave behind in SA had the same issue. Aint it funny how as woodworkers we have bought furniture that is less than what we believe it should be and yet could make far superior items.

    Even the set we purchased in Canada was done under duress by myself with pressure from Linda. I think it would serve as a great expose of what one gets when one buys "mass produced" "wood" furniture.

    I plan on taking my entire top off our table and only using the legs and mechanism when I get stuck into it some time.

    BTW finding light color wood furniture around here is pretty hard given the dominance of Italians in the area that prefer dark cherry look, certainly not an ounce of cherry in any of it. LOL

    Great job Charlie.
    cheers

  8. #8
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    Great job, can see why Jenny is happy with it.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word boo. Robert Brault

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mulder View Post
    ....
    I'm having a hard time visualizing that table with the wide leg that you mentioned.
    ...
    I found a picture we took for the insurance company - a house tour since they could not visualize 1800 sf of main floor on street level above 700 sf of guest rooms, but no basement (answer - on the side of a steep hill). Notice that the chair on the right end is still well away from the table, but it is touching the one wide leg at that end of the table.



    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mulder View Post
    ....
    Got any photos of the veneering process? Did you use a vacuum bag, or lots of weights or ??
    The two leaves and the two halves of the table were veneered in a vacuum bag (four runs). Triangular scraps (3 layers cut with an angle, then stacked and glued) were placed on the inside of the apron to protect the bag, since the aprons were glued in place. To be sure the bag didn't squeeze the glue too thin at the square edges where the leaves joined, I tacked a scrap to those edges, and let the veneer overhang. The outside edge of the table was rounded, so no temporary edge - just lots of glue that was sanded back into the original roundover after it was cured. Then the aprons were veneered, pressed by a scrap of plywood covered with saran wrap, and a LOT of clamps. The bottom of the aprons were rounded over with a router. The hardest part is that our dining room table is normally my work area for veneer bags!

    I didn't take photos of this veneering process, but have a "how I did it" at www.plesums.com/wood/livingroom/diningtable.html . That table was 6 feet wide, so I had to veneer it in two halves. I just realized I didn't show pictures of how I made the base. The strength of the base was a 12 x 12 inch plywood column. the artsy bulgy pieces were two layers of 1/8 inch bending ply plus veneer over a form, glued and cured, then cut at a 45 degree angle on a bandsaw. Blocks were glued in the joint before the whole thing was slid over the center column.

    Larry, the chairs look great, so no change. There is not a pickling layer, so I suspect that someone tried to make the table look like the chairs ... and used the pickling layer to lighten the dark stained red oak (that is on some of the other pieces in the set - look in the background of the "before" picture), and it went downhill from there.
    Last edited by Charlie Plesums; 03-23-2013 at 04:46 PM. Reason: inproved pictures
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

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