Sunday, January 30, 2011

Leaves of time.....

Back in December, I was doing some repair work to an old dining room table when I had a small accident. The finger is better (still pretty ugly, though!) and the table is finally close to being finished. With repair work, you never know what you're getting into - sometimes you'll find parts that you didn't realize were broken, or joints that need disassembled and completely rebuilt. Even worse, sometimes the wooden pieces are too warped or cracked to use again, so new pieces have to be built from scratch. Finally, getting it all to match is difficult - in short, that's why I don't take on a lot of repair work!

Here is the table with it's new top, awaiting some final coats of polyurethane.

Poly isn't my finish of choice, but for tables, it's really the best protection. I added some extension slides so that the table will hold three new leaves that I also made.

Wooden extensions like this are quirky - prone to humidity fluctuations, so I had to wait until the weather calmed down a bit. We had a rainy spell a few weeks ago, and if I had installed these then, they would have absorbed some ambient moisture and probably been difficult to open. Another thing about these slides - the manufacturer lubes them up with a greasy substance to keep them traveling smoothly. That makes them messy to handle, and if you get the lube on your hands and transfer it onto the raw wood, the finish will not absorb correctly. So the slides are one of the last parts to be attached to the table.

Here is one of the leaves, ready for drilling.

I put four wooden pins on each leaf, to align them,

and used a doweling jig to drill the holes perfectly plumb.

A simple wooden height gauge cut on the table saw ensures that all the pins are set at the same height.

Nothing glamorous going on in the woodshop, just a whole lot o' drilling.

If you know me, you know I barely use a tape measure in my shop for most tasks. Here, a series of 1-2-3 set-up blocks helps me space the holes the perfect distance from the end of each leaf.

Ready for some final tinting and poly coats.

A test fit in the table, and a big sigh of relief that this job is nearly complete!

I've been taking film classes and working on my video production skills - gotta love being a Mac user and using iMovie. Here's a little video on drilling all the leaf pin holes. (As usual, I work better to loud and fast music, so if that bothers you, turn the volume down.) The video is mostly for wood geeks, but have a look.

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