This Summer there were a few days that hit ‘roast’ on the thermometer. On one of them I hosted a few friends for a BBQ on the terrace. I don’t think any of them realised what a miracle it was that we were seated at a table.
See this was my table.
And this was my table the day before…
And this was my table leg…
When the leg first started breaking off I thought I could maybe cut all the legs shorter and put on castors. But when I realised the extent of the damage I was devastated. This was MY table. I bought it from a clearance table when out shopping for a 1/5th of the original price and somehow managed to fit it in the car. I then had a prolonged ‘discussion’ with a man in K&D who insisted I didn’t want to varnish it as I would have to sand and recoat it every year. He insisted I should ‘oil’ it. I didn’t want to oil it, I wanted a table I could wipe clean before eating off it.
I pointed out that the tin of oil he had handed me instructed one to “sand back and recoat every 12 months” and that having grown up with wooden boats I certainly hadn’t had to revarnish them every Summer. I finally walked out with my can of marine varnish. I loved how that table came up.
That was 8 years ago. It was re-coated in the third year. It should have been redone a couple of years ago but somehow it never made it to the top of the job list. (Funny that, since I was stripping and varnishing floors and painting walls etc that year.) There were a couple of cracks in the top that were starting to lift with the rain. Two years on these were serious rifts in the wood. But it was usable. At least it was until half the leg fell off.
‘Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability… ‘
Well I thought I did, until I tried to replicate the angles cut at the top and bottom of each leg. I turned it, turned it again, picked it up, looked at it closely, stepped back, held straight edges across the angles, but I could not find a way to cut the new leg to replicate the old. I ended up coming inside and phoning my reno guru who talked me through how to cut them – which still didn’t make much sense. I walked outside, picked up the new leg, turned it around and wham, there was the angle, so easy to replicate. Don’t know why I couldn’t see it before, I tried holding it every way possible.
Once it was cut I needed to replace the bolts. This was the tricky bit. I thought I would have to figure some new way to bolt all the way through, but amazingly Bunnings had exactly what I needed – furniture bolts (and an employee who could tell me how to install them – put a nut or two on the top section, then use them with a spanner to screw the bottom section into the leg.)
I eyeballed the angle for drilling the holes for the bolts and no one was more surprised than I was when I got it right the first time – the bolts slid into the table bracket like they had been made for it. I’ve also put plastic ‘feet’ on the end of each leg so they are no longer sitting directly on the cement.
Later I pulled the table back into the carport and dug the bad wood out of the cracks, scraped and sanded the varnish back to raw wood. The biggest of the cracks had almost rotted out the entire piece – the ends of the slats were barely resting on wood at all. I knew my skills didn’t extend to replacing the edge of a circular table, so I stuffed the hole with wood glue and sawdust, clamped it, let it dry, stuffed in some more, let that dry and then filled the top with wood filler.
I thought I would probably have to paint the edge of the table black to hide all the filler, but after the first coat of varnish it was not that noticeable.
Eight coats of varnish later and the table is back to it’s former glory… although it’s a different colour. Much more like teak and a range of tones instead of the solid gold that it used to be.
I like it.
(Yes, every time I tried to take a photo it had been raining.)