Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Tale of a Kitchen Table

It was back in the 1920s or earlier that a little family consisting  of parents, Ernest and Ruby and 3 young children, Dean, Kay and Roma, found a small table that would fit in their small kitchen. In the furthest back memories of the little girl, the table had a natural finish with a 'drawer' that could be opened to store  things.  Because the kitchen was so small, the table was stored up next to the wall near the coal stove when not in use, so it had castors on the legs to make it easy to pull out whenever it was time to eat. Ruby sat at the end nearest the stove and Ernest sat on the other end.  Dean and Roma sat on the side nearest the wall and Kay on the other side. We think the table was not new when it came to their home.  Ruby always covered the table with a piece of oilcloth and a tablecloth.  At some point, it was painted green and the top was nailed in such a way that the 'drawer' would no longer open.  Many years later, Ernest and Ruby got another kitchen table, so the little battered, green table was relegated to the basement.  About 1984 or 1985 the table found a new home in the 'fruit room' in the basement of my parent's home.  There it stayed until just a month or so ago when it was time to downsize the possessions in that home.

This time the poor little table journeyed to my home where its makeover was to take place.  The first step was to partially disassemble the table in order to  be able to sand some of it easier.  To our surprise we learned that the table had a couple of little secrets!  The 'drawer' was not really a drawer.  The table top was apparently originally hinged so that about 2/3 of the top could lift a desk.  A desk?  We also noticed from looking at  the side of the table that opened to gain access to the storage area below,  that the table was not always a table.  On each side of the opening a small triangular piece had been added to make the table top flat.  The little table really was probably a desk in its first life.  When it came to my grandparent's home it was already well used.  We have no idea how old it actually is, but we did notice that some of the small nails in the interior of the table were square-headed.

 The woodworker really wanted to take the table completely apart, but after all these years, the glue holding it together was doing a REALLY good job, so the best option was to just strip off the paint with a combination of paint stripper and sanding.

Once all of the paint was off, it was time to glue and clamp the pieces back together.  In the background you can see 2 chairs standing on the workbench.  They will be the next project to finish so they match the table.

The table top pieces took a trip through the sanding machine.

Once the sanding was all finished, the table was dry-fitted back together to make sure everything still fit properly before the final glue job. The woodworker also installed new hinges so the table top would open again.

 Next the primer was applied.

 The last step was to put on the red mahogany stain and then urethane and wax.

Hopefully the little table will enjoy its new home and last many more years.

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