Posts Tagged With: Spider Table

Spider Table (Re) Finished

I rubbed out the spider table this afternoon, gave it a coat of wax and re-attached the top.  The top is flatter than it was before, but not as flat as it should be.  But with several coats of linseed oil to bring out the figure, and a topcoat of clear shellac tinted with a touch of garnet, I think it looks presentable.  Up close there are still some scars from wear and tear — and some stupid mistakes when I made this a zillion hears ago  as a young, clueless woodworker.  Now that I’m an old, clueless woodworker I’m sure I’d have much more interesting mistakes to talk about.

Refinished spider table, showing a weird mix of Quilted Western Maple, Birdseye Maple and Tiger Maple, with bloodwood cock beading

Refinished spider table, showing a weird mix of Quilted Western Maple, Birdseye Maple and Tiger Maple, with bloodwood cock beading

I love the figure on the top -- it's actually a bit glossier in person

I love the figure on the top — it’s actually a bit glossier in person

Last shot, showing off the shape of the legs

Last shot, showing off the shape of the legs

I wanted to draw this up with the legs splayed at a 45 degree angle, then I had another idea for a spiderweb inlay, then I got distracted by something else.  Story of my life.  Welcome to “McGlynn on Being Distracted”.

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Uncupping a cupped top

I posted recently about how the top of the “Spider Table” I made 15+ years ago had developed a bad cup from the sun hitting the top surface and bleaching it out.  This caused the z-clips to pop out so the table was loose, and it was rocking on the base.  Not great.

The top of the table is badly cupped, there is at least 1/8" of light under the straightedge...

The top of the table is badly cupped, there is at least 1/8″ of light under the straightedge…

I sanded the top to remove any traces of the old finish (and stains and deep gouges), and led it face down on the garage floor for a week.  I misted it with water on both the top and the bottom once or twice during the week.

Tabletop, cupped side down on the floor.  I moved it off the MDF and directly onto the concrete after this picture was taken (and after I cleaned up the mess in the shop).

Tabletop, cupped side down on the floor. I moved it off the MDF and directly onto the concrete after this picture was taken (and after I cleaned up the mess in the shop).

Yesterday I checked it, and guess what?  It’s flat (well, flat-ish).  The cup is completely gone, although there are some small waves in the surface.  But it’s hugely better, the pictures don’t do the improvement justice.  I can do a bit more sanding today to smooth out the surface and get rid of the coarse sanding scratches, then layer on more finish.  I start with linseed oil, and probably spray a shellac topcoat next weekend.

Look Ma, no more cupping!

Look Ma, no more cupping!

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Spider Table

Probably fifteen or more years ago I got “revved up” on woodworking, went out and bought a bunch of power tools while at a woodworking show.  I’d done wood shop in junior high, and felt invincible.  I also had a credit card with no balance and had visions of building a house full of furniture.

I made a couple of pieces, but my vision and focus were out of alignment with my skills.  I didn’t have any hand tool chops, and after six or eight projects I got distracted with a customized Studebaker pickup project and later starting and growing a chopper parts business.

Custom Studebaker - Chopped 4", Sectioned 6", Caddy 500 motor, independent front suspension...  One of these days I'll get back to work on this project.

Custom Studebaker – Chopped 4″, Sectioned 6″, Caddy 500 motor, independent front suspension… One of these days I’ll get back to work on this project.

One of the projects I completed was this table, affectionately known as the “Spider Table”.  I drew this out old-school using a t-square, french curves and a compass.  I was keen to play with figured woods, and decided to use a combination of Birdseye, Tiger and Western Quilted Maple.  I added the Bloodwood banding by laminating it between two other pieces of Birdseye Maple, and decided to have a looser arc for the banding than for the bottom of the skirt.

The once-fabulous "spider table"

The once-fabulous “spider table”

This table has served yeoman duty in our living room ever since.  We get an unholy amount of sun and heat in that room with large windows, two sliding glass doors and a southern exposure.  Even though I waxed the top periodically it was scratched, faded and even worse cupped.  The metal z-clips had worked loose so the top was loose on the base.

Long story short, it had seen better days.

The top of the table is badly cupped, there is at least 1/8" of light under the straightedge...

The top of the table is badly cupped, there is at least 1/8″ of light under the straightedge…

So I dragged it out to the shop and pulled the top the rest of the way off.  The original finish was plain Watco Danish Oil, and held up just fine on the bottom.  Even the legs seem OK.

Bottom of the top showing the original finish

Bottom of the top showing the original finish

I broke out my orbital sander with some 120 grit and sanded both the top and bottom, and hand sanded the edges.  My goal is to remove the staines and scratches on the top, and remove enough of the finish on the bottom to open up the pores.  I’m going to try and straighten out the cup in the top, but first I think I need the wood to be able to breathe a little…

Starting to sand the top to remove the coffee stains and gouges.

Starting to sand the top to remove the coffee stains and gouges.

After sanding it I sprayed both sides with water, I tried to soak the top in particular.  I noticed that if I lay a board on the garage floor it will invariably cup away from the floor.  If I flip it over it will reverse itself.  I used this trick to straighten out a severe cup in the lower shelf on the Thorsen Table, so I figured I’d try it again.

Top saturated with water to try to reverse the cupping.

Top saturated with water to try to reverse the cupping.

My guess about how this works (and why the top is cupped in the first place) is uneven drying between the top and the bottom.  So I hope by wetting the board and keeping the cupped side down on the cool garage floor is will start to reverse the damage.  I’m going to leave it for 24 hours like this and check it.  Hang on, I’ll start the clock now…

Tabletop, cupped side down on the floor.  I moved it off the MDF and directly onto the concrete after this picture was taken (and after I cleaned up the mess in the shop).

Tabletop, cupped side down on the floor. I moved it off the MDF and directly onto the concrete after this picture was taken (and after I cleaned up the mess in the shop).

…ok, I just checked it after 24 hours.  It seems to have moved a tiny bit, but it’s no where near flat yet.  So, another spritz of water, and back on the garage floor for another day.  If it took 15 years to warp this might not work as well as I’m hoping.  I’ll give a couple of days and see where it ends up.

If I can’t get it to flatten out, I’ll have to live with it as-is.  My thinking is that I’ll sand the whole thing — only lightly on the base, then hit it with Linseed Oil and a Shellac top coat.  If it was bare wood I might consider using a very light dye to bring out the figure, but I’m trying to keep it simple and just put this table back in service.

 

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