Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor
Thursday, February 3, 2011 1:39 PM EDT
My dear colleague Catherine Jheon of the foodnetwork.ca blog has a husband who has taken to carpentry. You're probably thinking, not a shocker -- many husbands (and wives, increasingly) do. But this husband, being a staunch academic, expressed very little -- safe to say none at all -- inclination toward carpentry in the past, making his recent grapplings with homemade furniture all the more fascinating/bloggable.
The nugget in all this? How much experience does one really need to make their own table top?
Dining table before.
This here was the family dining table. Julian, CJ's spousal unit, traveled through life with this table since university in Montreal, where he picked it up off the street clad in green paint (legs) and white MDF (top).
The circa 1920s granny dining chairs were sold to Julian by a neighbour, an amateur furniture restorer, who refinished them into the current cherry and cream. To bring the table up to snuff with the chairs, the neighbour offered to wrap the white tabletop in navy oilcloth and Julian followed suit by spray painting the green legs black.
Dining table after. The floor lamp is of salvaged telephone pole, another project by Julian bound for the blog in the very near future.
This, what I would most certainly call a beaute, is the new table top and refinished legs. Browsing a Toronto vintage shop (The Public Butter) Julian spied a 12-ft -long piece of reclaimed cedar from an Ontario barn. It was $100, and screamed new table top. No, he had never made one before, and yes, the plank languished six months before metamorphosis, because Julian failed to see the economics in purchasing a circular saw that cost three times as much as the wood.
I might reiterate at this point that economy was the main motivation behind the tabletop endeavor; economy and a zeal for sticking it to all us decor hounds who pay in upwards of $1,500 for reclaimed wooden tables.
- Julian hacked at the 12-ft-long piece with a handsaw.
- He also used Home Hardware car roof straps in lieu of joining biscuits (clamps used to join two planks of wood together) which worked perfectly and cost a fraction of the price. A Home Hardware employee suggested this, by the way.
- Once the plank was cut in half and glued together to form a table top, the 100-year-old patina was sanded, filled in parts with Plastic Wood and stained to Julian's liking.
- He regrets having spend agonizing hours stripping the heavily painted legs to stain them the same shade, as it was the biggest pain ever, and the wood quality of the legs and frame by no means warranted this kind of care. He would have preferred a steel frame, something more industrial.
Elana: Any regrets?
Julian: Definitely should have thrown the legs out. And perhaps would have done better to match the stain of the table to that of the chairs.
Elana: You should really paint the chairs white and reupholster the seats.
Total cost was approx. $200 and both CJ and Julian love their new table. CJ's only regret is that it's not quite big enough for their growing family (a second wee one is on the way!).
The verdict? Not much experience is needed, evidently. And though I HATE to admit it, I did pay nearly $4000 for my designer wood dining table from posh Toronto custom shop, Commute...
Shall we vote on the chairs?