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A "Do-Over" Tabletop
I've been working in the shop for the last few days, making a new top for our dining room table.
That table is one of the first large pieces of furniture I made, over 20 years ago. It's a Shaker refectory-type table in cherry, and it was made to fit our old dining room, which was very narrow. The new top is going to be longer, wider, and much easier to get the whole family around.
It's also a chance for me to experience one of the rarest pleasures for a woodworker: the "do-over." This time around I get to correct all the little things that have bugged me about that table for years. The boards on the top, for instance, were never well matched for color. No matter how dark the cherry got with age, one board was always much darker than the others. If you've worked with cherry much, this is a familiar problem to you. I had a heck of a time jointing the edges of the long boards in that first tabletop, too, with just a little 6-in. jointer and my (brand new) jointer plane. And I put an oil finish on it, which didn't hold up to daily use very well, resulting in some glue lines opening up.
So the new top will correct all those shortcomings. But as I look at the old one, I'm sad to see it go. There's a black stain in the shape of a cookie cutter, the result of an unfortunate combination of water, steel and cherry during one of our annual holiday cookie-making orgies. There's the large and mysterious dent near where my oldest son always sat. There are the dozens of stains (pear sauce? strained beets?) at each end, where the high chair was always placed. There's the burn mark acquired during a rowdy Valentine's Day party. This table is like a scrapbook of our family's life, and I kinda hate to lose it. Is that the price I have to pay for a do-over? Hmmm... Maybe I could cut that old table down and turn it into a coffee table...
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