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Motivated to fix this reclaimed table. Tips needed!

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Forum topic by NewbieNatalie posted 07-24-2016 01:47 PM 340 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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NewbieNatalie

1 post in 140 days


07-24-2016 01:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: fixing refurbishing finishing modern vintage question newbie dining table wood

Complete woodworking novice here. I’ve always wanted to get into vintage furniture restoration, but just haven’t had much of a chance.

I just gained possession of a beautiful dining table made of reclaimed wood. It was built 3-4 years ago by an apparent reputable company. It is cupped particularly on one side (center of the table dips below one side) I contacted the builder to see what they’d recommend to fix it and they sent me a new support system (they apparently don’t use the same thing for these tables anymore) and hardware to connect beneath the table top and said it may straighten out over time. I’m inexperienced, but it seems doubtful to me that this would work on its own.

The top of the tabletop is finished, but the underside is not. Could this be the culprit? The table was originally built in the Midwest and then wound up in the extra hot and humid southeast.

My general plan is to put the tabletop out in the sun for a couple hours in the grass cupped tabletop side down. Watch it very closely until it is as flat as possible. Immediately bring it in and put weight down on it while it cools to hold it flat. Leave the weight there until I’m ready to seal the underside of the table. Remove weight, seal the bottom of the table and lean it up to make sure there is airflow while it dries.

One big question I have is whether I have to strip the finish off the top before putting it out in the sun. I don’t mind stripping it, and finishing the top and bottom the same, I’m just concerned I won’t be able to replicate the finish—as I’ve said I’m pretty inexperienced.

Is it completely naïve to think this might work? Different steps you would suggest? Cautions you would add? I’m also wondering if I can store the table in my garage for this whole process. It is a little warm in there and probably pretty humid.

I’m really hoping I can salvage this table, but I’m slightly worried I will ruin it during this process.
Pictures: cupped table top – current support beneath –pictures of new support.


3 replies so far

View TravisH's profile

TravisH

452 posts in 1398 days


#1 posted 07-24-2016 02:09 PM

For me it would just go with the distressed look of the table and I wouldn’t mess with trying to flatten it. I don’t think it was likely a dead flat table to begin with based on the wood selection and construction methods. The unfinished bottom may have accentuated the issue but I don’t think it would have stopped it.

If dead set on flattening the table I would likely just use a hand plane and get to work and slap finish on both sides once done. Another option is rip the table at the glue lines and true up each piece and re glue. Either way you are going to be refinishing.

I don’t see the sun/weight method being all that effective either but could be wrong. It will be the least labor intensive method if it works however so likely worth the shot.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3040 days


#2 posted 07-24-2016 02:23 PM

I think you’ve hit on the two of the main problems on this table has, the metal bands on the bottom are all wrong,wood expands and contracts with seasonal weather changes and moisture intake and release so the joinery on the bottom needs to hold the top flat and allow for movement ,the new cleats should do the job with the slotted holes. The bottom should be finished to equalize moisture intake on both sides of the wood.try your laying it out in the sun after you have removed those metal bands and see what happens. If it flattens out put a finish on the bottom( looks like the top either has some sort of oil finish like general finishes seal a cell) and install cleats after they have a finish them.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 949 days


#3 posted 07-24-2016 02:24 PM



I think you ve hit on the two of the main problems on this table has, the metal bands on the bottom are all wrong,wood expands and contracts with seasonal weather changes and moisture intake and release so the joinery on the bottom needs to hold the top flat and allow for movement ,the new cleats should do the job with the slotted holes. The bottom should be finished to equalize moisture intake on both sides of the wood.try your laying it out in the sun after you have removed those metal bands and see what happens. If it flattens out put a finish on the bottom( looks like the top either has some sort of oil finish like general finishes seal a cell) and install cleats after they have a finish them.

- a1Jim

I see the same probs.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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