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Friday, June 26, 2009

Refinish Ocassional Table Project

I have an old table that my Dad built in the 1950's. It was originally built to hold one of those "new-fangled" hi-fi record players. The front part held the "new" LP records and the turntable sat on top.

Your eyes aren't deceiving you, it really does narrow slightly toward the back. I don't know why. Maybe that was the style of the time. I don't remember; I was a kid then. But when I got my first apartment, that was one of the pieces of furniture that my parents were willing to let go and I have brought it with me from place to place to place ever since. I have been using it as a lamp table and magazine holder.

And I'm not surprised they gave it to me. It is a bit of an odd thing. I think Dad is actually a bit embarassed to see it still around (but pleased that I like it). Well, aside from the fact that my Dad made it (which matters to me) it is a bit of a quirky, eccentric piece.

I like weird furniture with a family history. My dining table dates back to when my mother was a child. A matching writing desk serves as my bedroom "collect-all" surface. My bar is a framed door with 8" sides and glass shelves (built by Dad).

I don't like up-to-date, fashionable furniture. Even my swivel-rocker chairs are unique because I sent the manufacturer black fabric to use in place of their standard peach/aqua/brick selections (they were thrilled by my request and did it at no additional cost). The only mass-produced furniture I have is the TV table (I needed one THAT DAY) and the 7 ceiling height bookcases I bought from an office furniture company (because I couldn't find old matching bookcases and REALLY did not feel like making so many).

So this table needs work. It hasn't ever been refinished in its nearly 60 years, it is scratched and stained. And it has a peculiar design flaw (I hope Dad doesn't ever read this) because the back end is supported by a single point. It is tippy when weight is applied to the back corners.

Most of the original finish is gone. I don't know what the finish is (lacquer, shellac, varnish?). I hope modern strippers will remove it. I'll be finding out soon. I might have to plane 1/32" off some surfaces. As far as I can tell by looking at the construction, that shouldn't cause a problem. But it would mean I will have to remove and clean the planer knives afterwards I think.

I plan to add support to the back leg. Cats (and myself) have knocked it over a few times because of that. I think attaching a 1"x3"x12" board inside the back leg should solve the tipping problem. It shouldn't be difficult to match the bevel of the tapered leg. I may notch it in to the leg.

I can't tell what kind of wood it is. It isn't pine or oak. It might be poplar or ash. It might even be maple. I suspect it is even mixed woods. The front bottom on the record holder appears to be baseboard molding. I may be able to tell after the finish and stain is removed.

It has a number of attached smaller boards that make up the surfaces. I hope it doesn't fall apart when I disassemble it... LOL! Well, if the boards separate, I have a biscuit cutter and modern glues.

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