I tend to be quite picky when it comes to kitchen/dining room tables. Especially in my tiny kitchen. There have been several tables — the circle table, the black table, the HUGE Ikea table, the oval table … but none of them did what I wanted them to do.
I didn’t expect much. Just a few requirements, really.
1) It must offer seating for a minimum of 8 people.
2) It must fit the aesthetic of our house (ie. lived-in, slightly battered, and aged).
3) It must accommodate 2 benches, preferably on adjoining sides.
4) It must take up as little space as possible, since square footage is at a premium in our eating area. Ideally, 48″ by 48″. Or 49″ by 49″. But no bigger. Or smaller.
5) It must be as inexpensive as possible, if not free.
While some of our tables have fit some of those requirements at different times, none have fit all of them at the same time.
Scouring Kijiji and surplus furniture outlets was a necessity to fit my budget. But even those resources came up empty month after month.
Until a brilliant idea occurred to me (… or I was bored and looking for a project). We, as a family, would build The Perfect Table. A table that would fit every requirement on my list, AND would have the added benefit of preserving the unique handiwork of each member of our family forever. Or, until I get bored of it.
So, the kids and I headed off to Home Depot. We spent an hour or so contemplating the type of wood to use, the cost involved, how to insure structural integrity, what kind of edging to use and how to attach it, and of course, where the bathroom was and who got to push the cart when.
We came home with 3 48″x16″ pine planks, three 8′ lengths of trim, one can of Minwax Polyshades, two sanding blocks, six sheets of sandpaper, and six hamburgers with just ketchup.
And we got to work. First, I rummaged through Andy’s toolbox and pulled out two screwdrivers, a hammer, some nails, some matches, and a weird awl-type thing with threading on it. Then the kids went beating on the wood. Since we had three panels, they each got one. The oldest child helped the other two with making burn marks on their panels, but besides that, each panel is a unique creation of each child. And of course, they each carved their names into the wood as well.
I fiddled around with assembling the table top, taking a “trial and error” approach to the task. Eventually I figured out that the way most tables are assembled is probably the best way after all. After sanding the entire top and sides for 27 hours straight, with occasional breaks to make dinner and switch sandpaper, and two coats of Polyshades, we started rubbing in the Cinnamon Brown craft paint.
As luck would have it, our current table had a pedestal leg — perfect for placing benches around. We switched the current table top out with the new table top (which only took several hours… ).
The table was almost perfect, but the leg did look a little mismatched. So, we attacked that with some more Cinnamon Brown, some Burnt Umber, and then some sandpaper. When the sandpaper didn’t work out so well, we went with a Tan dry brushing. A coat of Polyurethane topped it off.
This table has memories, AND it fits my list of necessities making it …
… The Perfect Table.