DIY: Table Restoration

We have a “thing” in Australia.  Twice a year, your neighbourhood has a council cleanup day.  You put all the things you don’t want on the pavement on a Sunday, and some time that week the council trucks come around and take the no-longer-loved items away.  They take their time coming round though, as an entire ecosystem, or economy, has emerged around this tradition.

Every so often I drive past something I can’t believe is being dumped.  Last time this happened, it was a spectacular cast iron table base, with a piece of cheap and nasty laminated chipboard in place of the original table top… I couldn’t help myself.  I stopped and picked it up:

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As you can see it’s a beautiful solid base, with some sick, twisted punishment of a surface appended to it.  I’m not actually sure if it was thrown out or it escaped when no-one was looking and was hiding from its tormentors when I found it.  First things first, I was off to Wayne’s World in Botany to get some timber. No really.

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The guys there had some light Meranti in stock. and sold me a 40 mm thick piece, 2.6m long.  I got them to cut it into 3 x 800mm pieces with a bit of offcut and was on my way home.  I joined the three pieces using a biscuit-join, alternating heights because the wood is so thick, and glued and clamped the wood for a few days.  I weighted it down with paint cans but could probably have put more weight on as it did bow ever so slightly.

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The end product came out very solid, and the joins are perfect.  They started out visible from the glue run-off but as soon as I sanded it down they were gone.

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After a good sanding with a coarse grain paper using an orbital sander, and another sanding with a fine grain, I gave the wood a rounded edge with a slight step, with a plunge router.  Worked perfectly.  I made a real mess of the last table I did so I made very sure the router bit was tightened up properly.  One more light sand over the routed edges and I mounted the new surface on the base

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Next up was finishing the timber.  I decided that on my patio a light timber was too close to the colour of the house and the tiles so I went for a darker stain.  I bought a can of Cabots “Brazilian Roast” stain, paint on and wipe off.

Here’s my assistant applying the stain:

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Three or four coats of stain and it was looking great.  Here’s the finished stain and the original offcut for comparing

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And finally, as the table is going to live outside it needed at least four coats of clear varnish.  I opted for a satin finish as the shinier finishes tend to wear poorly with kids.  Four coats later, with some sanding in between coats, and it’s officially “done”IMG_1650

 

It’s almost impossible to see the joins in the timber, the finish came up perfectly, and the colour works a treat.  Now I need to find a couple of matching chairs.

 

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This entry was posted in General.

One Comment

  1. sid sledge 12 May 2013 at 9:07 PM #

    most impressed… you have honoured that base beautifully!

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