Table & chairs overhaul

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Mark Baker

Thursday, June 2, 2011

You know when you have things planned out and it all goes to rats? Well, that is what happened this weekend. The overhaul of the table turned out to be an overhaul of the table and 8 chairs, and they are still not finished, so we aim to finish them off this weekend.

It is surprising that no matter how much experience you have things can escalate and you end up fighting time to move things forward and finish something off. The table and chairs had a worn tinted cellulose spray finish and the table was worn back to bare timber in part. There was no way we can match the spray finish so it was not only a strip down but a new look: three coats of dye on the top, three coats of a heat and moisture resistant finish and contrasting spray finish for the under carriage. It now has a vibrant new look that, once buffed and polished, should last many years of daily use. That said, we attack the chairs to match the table undercarriage this weekend. So, you guessed it, my kitchen did not get touched, but it is on the list for the weekend of the 11 June.

My experience last weekend is echoed in all forms of woodworking; the finishing of a project is a make or break situation. The finish will either enhance the piece, fail to show off the piece to its fullest potential, or ruin it completely. I have experienced all of those and as we create and experiment with different surface effects, shapes, colouring techniques, etc. the choices we have are myriad and, at times, a little daunting. It takes experimentation and time to be able to resolve some things and the all-important ingredient: patience. We rarely get things right the first time and it is the willingness to go back at something again and again until we have resolved it to our satisfaction that will ultimately pay dividends. I remember my daughter trying to learn to ride a bike when she was a toddler. She had about four goes trying to ride it, fell off each time and ultimately threw the bike onto the ground, and stormed off towards the house shouting “I can’t do it!” Frustration is part and parcel of learning, but ultimately without learning we do not develop.

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