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Thread: !9th century maybe, new project

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    !9th century maybe, new project

    Started a new restoration project of a table my mother had and wanted me to restore. She said she got it when her and my dad bought a house in Papilian Nebraska in 1961. House belong to an old German lady who had passed away, they got the house and everything in it. She had held onto the table because it was unique looking. So we know it is at least 53 years old...haha...no it was in rough shape then, you can see that it went through at least one attempt to fix a broken leg, the one leg has no detailed carving on it, so I think at one point it was repaired maybe even refinished. The base pic is upside down where I pulled the legs off to help with the restore part, I put two temp risers on it to hold the shape of the base where the table top would be, while I work on the top, which needed to be glued and leveled and re stained...lots of work here I think, oddly enough I just got done posting a few weeks ago about what these Shopsmith clamps were used for...low and behold just the thing I needed to glue and level this tabletop, funny how these things work out, I had no idea what those clamps were before this....at any rate any advise I can get on this restore or if anyone recognize what this table might be, (I am thinking 19th century Victorian lamp table maybe) would be appreciated, never done a full restore like this, but I got to say, I think I am enjoying this much more already then anything I can build from new...just the idea that some guy maybe a hundred years ago spent so much time and craftsmanship making this table, and now I get to see his work, how he did it, and bring it back to life, gives a great feeling. Obviously going to have to make a new leg and give the carving a try to replicate the other legs, the new leg from the previous attempt is broken, so I can't just do some carving on it, or should just make four new legs, so my carvings all match, don't know what it anything this does to the value, not that my mom would ever sell it. So what say you all, need some guidance

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    Table top glueup

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    Base showing where legs went

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    Table base upside down, legs removed

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    Legs and table support pieces, previously replaced leg on right, not a very good job by someone, no carvings.


    Addon - Just wanted to put out a big thank you to the site, just as I was finishing this post I hit the wrong key and lost everything, man was I MAD, then I saw the autosave feature, one click everything was back...NICE, very good feature

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Restoring an antique is a specialized art, and at this point the table is not a candidate - to restore, you preserve all the original parts, and perhaps keep much of the original finish. BUT that doesn't mean you can't fix up the table so it is attractive, useful, and pleasing to your mother. (If someone has tried to refinish it, or has replaced a broken leg, that is when a restoration project changes to repair and refinishing).

    Given that it is a repair job, then it becomes your call whether to make four new matching legs, or you try to reproduce the existing legs with carvings. But judge your replacement leg when it is at "the far corner" of the table, not when three old and one new leg are side by side on your bench. It is amazing how different four legs can be, and not have it noticeable in use.

    You have discovered how much you can learn by repairing old furniture. My favorite example is Thomas Moser, who learned woodworking by repairing furniture to work his way through college. Then after a period as a professor, he returned to woodworking - see www.thosmoser.com and browse through his products.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Arkansas
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    OK so I guess I am in repair/refinish mode, still leaning alot, starting out with the table top, rather then just doing a flat joint edge, much like I do today, where I run the edges through a jointer then just clamp it up, he did a matching fluted type edge, looks like it offer much more surface for glue up, kind of surprised it came apart actually, but there are four other joints on the top that remain glued and flat. Looks like he used five strips to form the top, I assume to prevent warping and allow for expansion/contraction, as attested to by the runner strips in the pic of the legs that were screwed in as opposed to the other skirt strips running along the grain that were glued. Also noticed the legs came off quite easily. He glued the dowels on the table side, but not the leg side, can only assume he expected some leg repair/replace., again these days I usually make dowel joints with both sides glued up. At any rate interesting to see the thought processes of old wood craftsmanship. Thanks for your input and link

  4. #4
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    I can't offer any help, but can say that it looks like a great time lies ahead

    which means > keep us updated
    The perception of perfection is perfectly clear to everyone else

  5. #5
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    Along as you are in the have fun mode, Mark, you are golden. And if you learn something along the way and the recipient is happy, you have really done yourself proud.

    So enjoy!
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E Smith View Post
    ....starting out with the table top, rather then just doing a flat joint edge, much like I do today, where I run the edges through a jointer then just clamp it up, he did a matching fluted type edge, looks like it offer much more surface for glue up, kind of surprised it came apart actually, but there are four other joints on the top that remain glued and flat. ...
    There are two common reasons for making an interlocking joint - what you are calling a fluted joint. Hide (as in animal hide) glue is quite good, and has been used for centuries, but had to be fresh and the right temperature, etc. etc. Nothing as simple as squeezing out some Titebond today. So extra area to make up for imperfect glue is one reason. But the second reason is to keep the boards aligned in the clamps.

    If I am looking for a perfect joint, I don't like the jointer since it leaves scallops on the edge. I prefer the saw (but I have a super precision saw) but even that isn't perfect. After either the jointer or saw, I hand plane the edges, so smooth and tight that a piece of paper won't slide between the boards.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E Smith View Post
    ....Looks like he used five strips to form the top, I assume to prevent warping and allow for expansion/contraction, as attested to by the runner strips in the pic of the legs that were screwed in as opposed to the other skirt strips running along the grain that were glued....
    I would rather bet that the five strips for the top were because that was the available wood. Cutting into multiple strips arguably does not prevent warping, and certainly does not impact expansion and contraction. If the grain direction for the "runner strips" are the same as the table top they can be glued. The runner strips going across the grain have to be screwed, but the screws have to allow the strip to slide (I sometimes use a biscuit cutter to put a groove in the apron where the screw can pivot). If the cross grain strip was screwed tight, that is probably why the top came apart.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Humid Gulf Coast
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    If I were doing it, I'd re-do it 100% to make it look it was made yesterday.

    Strip it, and maybe use some wild stain colors on different parts of it.

    Greens? oranges? bright blue? with a thin coat of matt finish on it, or maybe high gloss.

    Replace the top with a very thick peice of long glass. Make it into a modern hall table maybe???

    ((Sometimes)) I think more artisticaly about things, vs., their value if I were to sell it.

    I think about what I would want in my home. A preserved peice is not for me. I like originality--((sometimes)).
    It's kind of fun to do the impossible

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