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Thread: How would you go at this table?

  1. #1
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    How would you go at this table?

    This 4 diameter oak table has been in the family for a long long time. The base, pedestal and sliding support structure are in excellent condition. The leafs long gone. The top has a veneer on it and it has broken down around the edges. I have never worked with veneer, but am wondering if it is worth trying to remove/replace the veneer or better to simply make a new oak top and leaf. How do you remove veneer? Much obliged for any suggestions.
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  2. #2
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    If I were going to rehab it, I'd remove the veneer and replace it, on the existing structure, then build matching leaves if needed. It's likely old enough that the glue is hot hide glue on solid wood. If so, you could probably steam off the existing veneer with a wallpaper steamer or iron on a wet cloth. But you could just as easily remove it by sanding or with a handplane, and eliminate the possibility of the top warping although likely only temporarily from the steam. Given the choice, I think I'd start with a handplane. That will allow you to flatten the tabletop at the same time.

    If you have a bag you are all set for gluing on the new veneer. If not, there are still a couple of options available to you. You could use hot hide glue. You could use white or yellow glue and iron the veneer on. Probably other options.

    If you have a bandsaw capable of slicing veneer at least 6" wide another option would be to make your own veneer. 1/16 - 1/10" shop sawn veneer is far more durable than 1/40" commercial stuff.

    John

  3. #3
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    I replaced the veneer on an old treadle sewing machine with similar flaws to those you described. Remove the veneer and replace it. John provided good suggestions for proceeding.

  4. #4
    Looks like it has a carved rope edge. I would save that by just gluing where needed.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the direction, John. I can cut the veneer myself, but need to find the right piece to use for this. Is there a max thickness for veneer? Would a 1/4” be to thick? Mel, the shadows in the photo are misleading. The edge is actually in pretty rough shape and I will have to re-profile the plain edge on it.

  6. #6
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    I wonder, does the existing veneer need to be removed? Could he remove the finish, patch the top with veneer or filler and veneer over it?

  7. #7
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    I priced a book matched elm burl veneer for my 5" diameter table and repaired what I have. Over $400 for the wood. It would be cheaper to buy an antique in good condition and refinish it as needed. If it was 6" less in diameter(like most are) the cost would be about 1/2
    Bill D

  8. #8
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    I would go the opposite direction. Buy some nice QSWO and make the top out of solid wood. Nobody is going to remember in a couple generations that you replaced the veneer but they most likely will if you rebuild it. Any veneer you put on will most likely get replaced down the road as it wears/ breaks off but real wood will just get refinished. I treat projects like this as a legacy.

  9. #9
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    My kitchen table that I have had for 40 years is somewhat square with an oak top and possible maple breadboarded around the perimeter and large turned maple legs. It had two layers of veneer on it that I removed with an iron using the steam clean blaster. It looked so nice I put a sealer on it and left it alone. I paid $25 for it and a lot of good memories are around it. Strip the veneer and see what the next move will be.

  10. #10
    What is your connection to this table? Is it a family heirloom, a momento of some important event, or is it just an ordinary object? How much do you want to retain the material of the existing table? All these questions go to what your approach to the rehab of the table will be.

    There's some practical issues as well. What is the substrate under the veneer? How was the edge handled -- is the edge veneered or is it edged?

    If the edge was veneered, that's a recipe for disaster as the edge veneer will not stand up to the knocks and abuse that comes with a table. They get pushed into walls, chairs bang against them, and then there's the knocks and scrapes that arise from moving it through doorways.

    So, if the issue is edge veneer, a good solution might be to cut the table down slightly and add edging, most probably bent lamination.

    Mike

  11. #11
    I would cut the very outer inch or so of veneer out and apply a ring og radial grained white oak. That preserves the surface that the previous users actually shared dinners, beers, laughs, and tears on.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny means View Post
    I would cut the very outer inch or so of veneer out and apply a ring og radial grained white oak. That preserves the surface that the previous users actually shared dinners, beers, laughs, and tears on.
    Very clever idea.

    John

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny means View Post
    I would cut the very outer inch or so of veneer out and apply a ring og radial grained white oak. That preserves the surface that the previous users actually shared dinners, beers, laughs, and tears on.
    Since the new ring will not be a perfect match make it a contrasting wood or even brass. Walnut and ebony come to mind.
    Some would make the edge a river table or is that outdated yet?
    Bill D
    Bill D

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