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Table Tops

©2013 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas, USA

Dining Table reface

When we bought our house, we bought the dining room set since the chair upholstery matched the window valances. But the table top was in terrible shape. The finish had worn off parts of the original oak veneer, so the veneer was stained and worn. The finish appeared to be an attempt to match the better quality chairs, but was poorly done. The solution was to re-veneer the table and leaves. Pecky Pecan veneer was chosen since the many tiny knots hinted at the "spatter" finish of the chairs. Four separate runs in the vacuum bag for the two large leaves and the two ends of the table, plus extra steps for the aprons. It was a quick job, and I know where there are flaws that you can look for when you visit our home.

Veneer, stain, and finish existing large table with two leaves: $850

Tops without tables

A local artist had built some rustic tables with metal legs and wanted to upgrade the tops, so I built new table tops to go with his existing legs. The round table is 54 inches in diameter, two layers of plywood (making it 1½ inches) thick, with a hardwood maple edge tapered about 15 degrees on the under side. The rectangular table is 42 x 80 inches, 1½ inches thick, rounded corners. Brackets under the rectangular table slide into holders on the underside of the round table, forming a bridge for a leaf that matches both tables. All three pieces were veneered with curly maple, with a clear finish - about 43 square feet of double thick tabletop! The customer installed the legs.

$1,800 for two double-thick table tops plus bridge

Replacement desk top

A very large desk, from the 1800s, was in a stately large house. When the owner moved to a smaller house, they loved the desk, but didn't have room for the very large desk. A local workman cut the desk down to a smaller size. Unfortunately, that workman was not a furniture maker - not even a carpenter. He used construction lumber as the primary component in the new desktop, and simply nailed the drawers together.

The old top was removed and replaced with furniture grade plywood, with hardwood edges, and then veneered. The center of the desk is quartersawn cherry, and the border is Amboyna burl. I don't know what an Amboyna tree is, but the burl looked like it would go well with the cherry and the rest of the desk.

The super smooth shiny top didn't show well in the overall picture, but hopefully this will help you appreciate the top.

In addition, the pull out writing tablets were refinished (and the felt center replaced), and a center drawer was constructed where there had only been a filler strip. The overall structure of the desk and drawers were reinforced.

$650 for top alone including veneer
$1,200 for refurbishing the desk including new top and drawer

General Hints

Single thickness plywood top, using furniture grade plywood but no special veneer, with hardwood edge costs about $15-20 per square foot.

Double thickness plywood top (recommended if there are no supporting aprons) is about $30-40 per square foot, since two sheets of ¾ inch plywood are laminated together over the whole area for maximum strength.

The Veneer itself often costs $3-10 or more per square foot. There is often significant waste to trim edges and match grain (need to buy extra), and potentially a lot of time to join the pieces. The veneer, glued to a solid substrate, is as durable, or more so, than solid hardwood. Basic preparation, plus glue up, plus a 10 hour "run" in the vacuum bag is $100. Multiple runs may be required, and possibly extra time for more than the basic preparation. See this example of what is involved .

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This site (design and contents) ©2003-2013 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas USA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

We primarily serve Austin and the Central Texas area, but travel to the DFW area periodically and are glad to serve the Garland, Plano, Dallas, and other North Texas areas, and are willing to ship anywhere.