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Old 04-28-2012, 05:37 PM   #1
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Wobbly dining table, and advice on refinishing.


This is an elderly craigslist find.
1. To separate the table to allow the extension leaf to swing up, you pull a ring attached to a metal wire. The table is steady side to side, but it has a lot of 'ease' back to front. I get seasick if someone is cutting their food. I guess too many people have not known about the ring underneath and have reamed on the poor thing trying to open it by brute force.
I'm thinking it's an easy fix to steady it, but would welcome input from experienced table builders.
Here's a pic of the legs, underside and table top.
2. It's all solid wood, weighs a ton. The leaf is in beautiful condition but as you can see, the top and legs are not. I have refinished furniture pieces before. Wondered if any one has any words of advice for me before I do my usual 'strip, wash, sand and oil based Varathane'.
Thanks all!
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Wobbly dining table, and advice on refinishing.-legs.jpg   Wobbly dining table, and advice on refinishing.-underneath.jpg   Wobbly dining table, and advice on refinishing.-top.jpg  

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Old 04-30-2012, 06:18 AM   #2
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Wobbly dining table, and advice on refinishing.


Glue joints bad??? does it wobble or is it a leg contact problem?? May not be the table if it is floor contact. If you are sure of the floor being level, you might need to shim a leg. For wobbling glue joints, best to disassemble and reglue after clean out glue holes.

Sounds like you know what is needed fro refinishing.

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Old 04-30-2012, 07:15 AM   #3
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Wobbly dining table, and advice on refinishing.


As far as refinishing goes, I would look into some other options, such as tung oil, etc. The problem with urethane is that it looks like plastic when it is done and it's not at all easy to repair scratches.

By the time that you have the piece stripped, you've invested so much time into it that choosing a finishing method that takes longer and is more involved is not such a bit deal.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:10 AM   #4
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Wobbly dining table, and advice on refinishing.


Thank you Just Bill. The floor is very level, and the legs are even. It does not rock. Just wobble back and forth, so loose joints, from wear I guess. I will check the glue, but not sure if it's too late for that.
I was wondering if blocks or some kind of stringers/supports might be advisable?
Ironlight - tung oil? Just strip the wood and rub the oil in?
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:14 PM   #5
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Wobbly dining table, and advice on refinishing.


Sounds like the joints are loose to me. I you are going to do a project, don't short cut in repairs just to have to tackle some other construction failure later on.
I would disassemble the table into individual components. No need to take apart things that are obviously sound.
Purchase a stripper suited to the existing finish. It could be lacquer based, polyurethane based, or an older type of shellack.Once the type of stripper is determined, apply this to the individual pieces and clean off all residue.

Re-assemble all the components using a good Elmers white glue and pipe clamps to get the joints tight. You may be able to use wood screws in discrete places to aid sturdiness.

After a good sanding I prefer to use a wiping stain that is oil based, Next a water based polyurethane sanding sealer and then a water based polyurethane satin finish top coat. This will not look "Plasticy" as other polyurethane finishes can do. It cleans up quickly and dries tough.

Follow the same procedure for the chairs.

Good luck, looks like a nice project
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