Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bigger is Better (At Times)

Troy and I have had this dining table since we were married. I found it in a local antique mall and liked its general design, size, and the fact that the rounded ends fold down.

It came with three leaves (not shown in picture at left) and would seat six, but barely.

We lived with it for six years in South Bend, and not until we moved to the current house did something make me wonder just how far this table would expand.

Here's the table at its smallest--small enough to push against
a wall as a side table (which is how it might end up in the
final room layout when we have a permanent table in the
kitchen). I can't get over how versatile it is.
As I recall, I asked Isaac to grab the other side, and we pulled...and pulled...and pulled. The table stretched from one side of our dining room to the other (literally wall to wall). It was 10 feet long!! Well, that got me thinking...

Since we got it, we have known it has needed to be refinished. Whatever they put on the top isn't really hard and reacts badly to hot and/or wet things being put on it. So I had the idea that I could hire someone to refinish the top and build some new leaves so I could have a really big table when I needed (and replace the one really annoying warped leaf).

Time passes...

I still haven't looked into getting someone to do this for me and it occurs to me that I'm not looking for a restoration of the table, I just want a big table. And I figure anytime I'm using it full length, I will have it covered with a table cloth anyway. So I ask Troy if we could make some wide plywood leaves to use instead of trying to get a matching wood. He says, "Of course." So that is what we did.

Troy made two wide leaves with the holes and dowel pins needed to lock them in place. Here we are testing one of them:
We weren't going to be really fussy about the project and thought we could have just used them like that, but decided with just a little more work we could do better.

So, taking over Troy's workbench in the shop, I put on a couple of coats of stain:
and then added two coats of polyurethane. Can I say again for anyone that is listening that stain and varnish do not agree with me? What a chore. Not my thing. But anyway, it's done. (Troy reassured me that wood workers probably have a similar creed as quilters with their "it's not bad if you can't see it from a galloping horse" criteria. Let's hope so.)

Here are the finished leaves in place:
You can see they're a little different than the original wood, but they blend pretty well I think.

Here's the table at its full length:
And here it is fully dressed:
We had 11 for dinner last night and it worked wonderfully.

I had to get new tablecloths for the new length, of course! A few weeks ago, I happened to be at Joann's when the decorator fabric was 1/2 off, and I took advantage. The 54" width is perfect for the width of the table, and I purchased 4 yards of a blue brocade and a shimmery gold cotton. I looked for fabric that had a nice enough looking selvage that I didn't have to hem up the long edges. (Galloping horse criteria, remember?) Then all I had to do was straighten the end and hem it with my favourite blind hem stitch. In the set up above, I just folded the gold tablecloth twice lengthwise and laid it on top of the blue. It makes a lovely runner.

Now I need to make one (or two) for the next size down...

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