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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Folks
This is my first posting, and I'm making it to ask a question.
I have a little bit of woodworking experience but would not consider myself anywhere near being skilled.
I'm looking to refurbish the wooden table attached to an old-style sewing machine (Photo 1). It is made out of several different layers of wood, the corner of the top layer has partially separated from the rest and needs to be repaired (Photo 2). In several places it appears as if the top layer of wood has split -- I don't know the proper terminology (Photo 3).
My question is, 1) how to best glue the top down and make sure it stays, and, 2) repairing the area where it looks as if the wood layer has been damaged. I'd prefer not to use a wood filler because I want to completely sand down the entire piece and stain/seal it. I don't want it to look like new since it's a century old and has a story behind it. I just would like it to be serviceable.
Unfortunately, my wife tried to make it look better by using some Old English on it, which IMO, makes it look worse and harder to fix!
Any and all suggestions and pointers would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

Jeff Brown
Hartly, Del.
 

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Hey Jeff,

It's your preference of course, but the patina on the piece is fabulous and shouldn't be change IMHO! Even as a piece of plywood.

The corner de lamination can be fixed with wood glue - used sparingly. Take a tooth pick and push it as far as you can under the separation. Push down with your hand, thumb or fingers and clean away any excess with a moist towel. Do this again and again until no excess glue is forced out. Then clamp down. But layer a piece of wax paper on the surface and then a wood block. That will keep most of any of the remaining glue from being pressed out and from sticking to the wood block. And the block will apply even pressure.

If you are going to sand down the surface though you can collect the dust and mix it with some wood glue to make a filler to fill any remaing splits (separationa across the annual rings) and checks (separations along the annual rings). This will give you the same overall wood color and include some of the dirt and the remaining patinad finish to retain some of the character.

But for now you need to let the piece acclimate to its new environment. Where was it found? And how long ago will determine that time span.

Since you have added polish to it - that will need to be allowed to evaporate/dry away as well. Though you might try an orange oil polish or formulated wood restorer to see if you like that appearance any better before sanding down and re-staining or sealing. Of course each product will need to be allowed to evaporate as well.

If you just want to make it serviceable you can always just have a glass top cut for it. They can even round the corners for you to match.

Can you get a photo of the underside of the top? Was it finished as well?
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for getting back to me!
I'll follow your suggestion on gluing the corner back down. I already have the glue and clamps.
As for sanding down the top, I need to do this. My wife thought she could make it better by applying copious amounts of Old English to the wood, but IMO that just made it worse. I'll need to sand down past the Old English first. I love the idea of collecting the wood dust and mixing it with the glue.
We've had this table for a good 20 years and had it in the house all that time, so there should be no problem with acclimating it. The bottom has not been altered, so I probably could sand it down as well to gather up more wood dust.
I don't want to get rid of every blemish because those are what give the piece its character! It's just that it appears some of the top layer was chipped away some time in the long distant past.
I'll give your suggestions a try and let you know.

Jeff
 
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