I’d been using a glass topped patio table for the past five years, because I hadn’t found the Right Thing for all of that time. Truth be told, I hadn’t been looking very hard, either.
But I knew I wanted a round table with a pedestal base. There’s something encompassing and comforting about the round, rather than the angular. And I really hate bashing my knees on the corner legs of tables. Besides, who wants to clean around four legs instead of one base? Thank you.
But then… Craigslist finally triumphed like no triumph in the History of Ever. I found the Right Thing. It struck a chord. The search was over. End of story.
And the beginning of another lifetime for this table. Under the dust and the grime is a helluva gem. And I know just the guy to help me.
Wish I had some “along the way” pics to share, but PhotoGuy is adamant that all he did was “fix it up,” not actually create it. A true artist really IS a purist, I suppose.
But I can tell you a few things he did.
On the surface was a shellack treatment, which we removed with 91% isopropyl alcohol and a green scrubby sponge. We were left with a non-shiny, sort of bleached out, blah-looking surface. A little stain, and BOOM. These gorgeous rays just burst out.
On the oak base below was more of the original quarter sawn oak veneer, applied with a hide-glue. It was lifting and flaking, cracked and splintering, beyond salvation. So PhotoGuy treated it with hot damp towels for several hours until it just came away from the wood below. Easy peasy. A little sanding, a little stain, another BOOM.
The vertical column was left “as is” for now, because I was planning several Housewarmings over the following weeks, and didn’t have time. And it was clearly not an original veneer, which meant the adhesive would not release easily, if at all.
Turns out my Great-Grandma Hanrahan had the same table when my mom was a kid. She had the whole set, actually – table, chairs, hutch – you name it. She used her cane to smack people’s ankles for putting their feet on the pedestal base and chair rungs. Wish I could have met her.
Not sure yet how to protect the surface of the table. Polyurethane is strong and durable, but less repairable in the future, and historically incorrect. Shellack, however, is repairable and historically correct. But it is less durable, and has problems with water stains and alcohol being spilled on it. This is a problem in an Irish home. Thoughts..?