There’s Always A Worse Woodworker


My wife got someone’s old dining room table free and has asked me to turn it into a chaise lounge. So, after indicating that it’d be easier to paint the whole thing with what one of my old shop teachers called “quarter-inch paint” to cover up the various imperfections, I quit grumbling and got to work. First, I inserted the two leaves and used Liquid Nails to make them a permanent fixture. Then I did my first rough sand with a belt sander to get the worst of the magic marker lines and marring off. (Yes, it was bad enough to require a belt sander with 50-grit sandpaper.) Then I used wood filler to fill all the cracks and holes in the surface. Then I clamped it (I highly recommend these Quick Grip clamps  in all sizes) and let it stand overnight. Today, I sanded off the remainder of the stain and varnish on the top and sides using a random orbital sander and my new dust collector (a bargain on clearance at Grizzly). And guess what I found.

The person who built this mass-production table used no fewer than four woods: a mahogany veneer (lovely), a birch veneer (boring) and an oak veneer (pretty ratty), plus a bunch of doug fir for the frame and the wood under the veneer. I’m pretty sure that at least some of the doug fir is just plain pine, and that some other is poplar. But on that, I could easily be wrong. Call me confused, but is this normal?

Somehow, I’m going to have to stain this whole thing so it looks like it was made from one wood. I’m going to let this sit overnight while I contemplate next steps.


Comments (6)

  1. Aaron says:

    I’d suggest quarter-inch paint.

  2. John's wife says:

    I’d suggest he make me happy.

  3. But you’re biased. 🙂

  4. I’m curious about this project. where did your wife get the idea? Searching on table and "chaise lounge" or "chaise longue" didn’t get me far.

  5. I think she just made it up.

  6. John's wife says:

    ‘Twas out of my fertile little brain. I like old things and I like art. This project combined both.

    I got the table at the free exchange run by the Seattle garbage folks. At first I thought I’d make it into a vanity for the bathroom, cutting holes to drop sinks into it. But it turned out to be too wide and making it narrow just wouldn’t look right. So the chaise idea was next.

    John’s going to have to build a back to lean again (probably MDF, which I’ll upholster) and cut down the legs to make it couch-height. We’re still discussing the arms — whether to have them and, if so, whether to make them out of MDF or use the leftover pieces of the legs.

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