Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Next Project–The Teak Table

I’ve just realised I wrote this blog post and never published it

With only the final two draw fronts to fit onto the bed I decided to make a start on the damaged Teak Table which we purchased back in 1981 whilst living in Singapore.  Over the years the Teak has seasoned (dried out), shrunk and the colour in the timber has stained or faded.  A split appeared in the top around a decade after we’d purchased it and I’ve been delaying any repair thinking it would be very hard. 

The split has widened after a further six years of storage in the shipping container whilst we were on Waiouru.

This morning I turned the table over and closely examined how it was assembled.  It appeared to be held together with large old fashioned wood screws and bone glue.  After removing the securing frame I was able to take the carved top out of the surrounds and examine the split. 

IMG_2021 It was obvious I would need to remove the end leg.  The leg wasn’t damaged, but a gap had appeared between it and the table frame.  Some of the securing Teak had also broken away.


After removing the leg I realised the split was both vertical and horizontal.  Actually this was probably good news as I’d be able to glue in two planes which will hopefully strengthen the final bond.


Second split

I wanted to do a test clamping to see if it was possible to realign all the breaks.  The problem was the shape of the table.  It’s oval!  How do you clamp an oval cable?  In the end I decided to try using one of our cargo securing ratchet straps.  I didn’t want the metal hooks and ratchet to mark the timber so I cut some small pine blocks which I used to keep the metal away from the side of the table.


The ratchet strap worked rather well in combination with some clamps applying local pressure.


Once I was confident the clamping method was going to work I removed the clamps and applied copious quantities of PVA glue.  The clamps were then reapplied and the excess glue wiped up with a damp cloth.  It will now be left for 48 hours.

Three days later I’ve sanded back the top and sides before applying two coats of satin varnish.  All that is now left is the sanding and varnishing of the legs, then we’ll be able to refit the glass top.


Whilst searching for the cargo strap I noticed our magic keg.  It’s a great little device which we bought from a cooper in the Barossa Valley, South Australia.  You pour cheap rough port into it and wait six months.  Smooth liquid gold then comes out the tap.


The keg is made from Oak that has been recovered from used red wine casks.  Unfortunately six years of being stored empty has resulted in the seams opening so I’ve filled it with water (who wants to waste cheap port) and left it in the laundry tub for the timber to swell.  

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