Oddly, I have lived for the last couple of years or more without a dining room table. We have utilized a fold-out picnic table for the purpose of this necessity, though we rarely eat at home anyway (anyone want to have us over for dinner?).
We used to have a dining room table. We bought an excellent bargain at an antique sale – it was an old-ish appearing oaken table about 6 feet long and 2 feet wide. It had some very heavy, solid members of 8/4 stock – presumably White Oak. We paid $150 for it, I think. The surface was showing signs of wear, but we didn’t let that stop us from eating off of it! After several years, it finally got to the point that I thought I should do something. I bought a belt sander and began stripping that surface down to what I had hoped would be a beautiful wood beneath the damage. Turns out, it was a very thick piece of particle board with solid wood edges and a veneer on both the top and bottom. I actually don’t know much about the bottom – it could be a thicker piece of plywood to add some thickness to the top. It’s ridiculously heavy, however.
I found some clearance Walnut veneer (with a thin fabric backing) at Grizzly and finished off the laborious sanding job on the table. The leg members were solid wood, so I merely had to launch a toxic assault to strip the finish off. The finish was a very dark Walnut, hence my choice of veneer. After some high anxiety with contact cement, I mounted the veneer to the table with little to no air bubbles. I was able to finish off the surface preparation by blending the veneer edges with the solid wood edges. I subsequently applied the first coat of a stain – a very rich and dark stain called “Jacobean” for the era it hearkens. It was really beautiful, though winter was setting in at that time and it soon became problematic to properly dry the stain and later, polyurethane coats.
Some-odd years later, I’ve dug the table out of the garage and applied one more coat of stain and three coats of poly. I also finished sanding the legs, though I rushed one of them and the stain has now highlighted this effect for eternity, I feel. I need only apply a second coat of stain on the leg structures and finish off with polyurethane to call this project complete! Of course, now I’m very afraid that my coats of poly will not be enough to ward damage to the veneer surface I’ve labored countless years on. Well…I haven’t actually labored on this for all those years, but there was labor in there somewhere.
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