This table came to us in dire need of some TLC. The owners also wanted to use on a boat, where the drop leaves were very much in the way - so they wanted it “converted” to a round topped table.
The first step was to sand the finish off the top to see what we’re dealing with. There are light wood bands inset into the top, but the redesign isn’t going to be able to preserve those.
The underneath is pretty chunky, and it’s quite important to get the balance right between size of top and size of base, otherwise it will look strange.
I removed all the hardware and also removed the area where the hinges were inset. We had extra width so there was no problem with doing that.
Another shot of the hardware and the hinge pieces removed.
After some coarse sanding, it’s quite clear that the top banding is very shallow so it can easily be sanded away. It’s really easy to ruin a flat table top with a sander though, so best to keep a close eye on the progress, and use a straight edge to ensure flatness - spot working any areas that have been left as high points.
Here you can faintly see a triangle (so I can take apart and put back the pieces for the glued up top. you can also see where I intend to put biscuit slots to keep the top surface well aligned.
Notches were added in the waste areas to give the clamps something easier to push against. Sometimes with lots of narrow pieces, and if you have enough clamps, it’s easier to break a larger glue up down into two or more glue ups. That can reduce the stress a bit!
After final gluing. I think it needs some more work.
I temporarily superglued a block to the centre of the table top, drilled a small pivot point and made myself a large circle cutting jig. Superglue is very weak in shear, so a quick sideways rap and it leaves a fairly clean surface, just a quick go over with the sander to remove a thin film of superglue.
Here the table top is cut out to a circle. Biscuit placement is very important - you really don’t want half a biscuit to show through on the edge.
The base was originally made using sliding vertical dovetails, but the joints weren’t held very well. I’m taking them apart here to clean up the mating surfaces, and reglue it. Note the rubber matting attached to the clamp jaws to prevent damage to the soft mahogany.
Next up was a combination of edge routing using a powered router …
… and the realisation that some areas of the circle were in need of a bit of circular planing. So after this planing, back to the router, and then we had a perfect edge.
After a lot of messing around with mixing dyes together to get a colour match - this is the colour it will become.
And after many thin hand-applied coats of oil, with plenty of curing time in between, this is the result. Nice and flat and shiny, but none of that thick polyurethane varnish look.