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Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Slow Climb Back To Normal, And An Old Oak Table in Distress

I know.  I know.  
Normal?  Seriously?
Well, we're talking as close to normal as
That Old House ever gets.
Oh come on, confess.  How normal is your house?

So, the big fresh Christmas tree in the Conservatory came down,
the fallen needles got vacuumed up, the chandelier was re-hung,
and the table put back in place.
Notice anything odd? 

The center leg looks like it's been on an all-night bender
and can't stand up straight.  Because it can't.  Not for long.
It also goes AWOL and falls off, if given the chance.

This is a grand old oak table that was in my Great Aunt Margaret's
Brooklyn home.  Long, long ago.  It has countless leaves,
and can stretch out to about 6 miles long.

Here it is, in January 2010, in the Sunroom with the old wall color,
old carpeting, and our dear old dog Dion.

We used to be able to carefully stretch it out to accommodate 
at least several of those leaves, but now?  Everything falls apart.
Also January 2010

We managed this past Thanksgiving to put in some leaves,
but it was touch-and-go, and our guests never knew how close
they came to wearing their gravy in their laps.  I hope.

Moving the table into the kitchen for Christmas,
to make room for the tree in the Conservatory, was an adventure.

Parts fell off.  Legs.  Screws (below). 
Random bits of dry old wood exploded out of its innards.
We made a stab at fixing it, but it was at best a Band-Aid on a compound fracture.

The working mechanisms for an old table like this,
with their many moving parts, are elaborate, intricate, delicate,
clever, and completely ingenious.  Trouble is, me and Howard?
Clever and ingenious do not describe our woodworking skills.

Conservatory, Oct 2010, new carpeting, new paint.  Old table - still working.

 So now we need to decide, Howard and I, how to fix a much-loved table
that has served my family, in one house or another, for a century.
I've called a couple of furniture restorers; so far, no one's returned my call.
I suspect no one wants to tackle this table!

the table is usable, without any leaves; we don't mind the bit
of wiggle, and we're careful not to stress the dear old thing.

 Today, I realized it needed a quick centerpiece,
and had a pinecone wreath ready to help out.
The snowman looks silly, but he asked for a chance at stardom.
 I thought the glass with the silver balls would work.  But -- no.

This one, below, looks ... well, it looks awful.  Dreadful.
It's a bad thing to mix growing greens with plastic ones.
The winner of the world's Saddest Philodendron Award.

Finally.  Below.  Good enough, and doesn't make me cringe.
 A lantern, left over from a wedding at a country club.
We did not steal it.  Really.  No, really.  Probably.
Anyway, the gold blob inside is an LED battery powered candle, of realistic wax,
that, just like a real candle, melted into goo in the sun.
Now that's what I call realism!  :-)
Equally real -- the difficulty of getting melted wax out of the darned lantern.

Okay, done.  Wrote this piece Friday, then got distracted, and am finally
posting in the wee hours of Saturday morning.  Yawn.
Happy weekend! -- Cass

It's Feathered Nest Friday at the French Country Cottage.  Click here!
My Romantic Home is home to Show And Tell Friday.  Click here!
At The Charm of Home, it's Home Sweet Home Friday.  Click here!


  1. That is a gorgeous old table and I do hope you can find someone to help repair it so it will be used for another hundred years! I wondered about those wax battery candles and if they'd melt. Thanks for the warning. Enjoy the weekend. Pam

  2. While reading, I was hoping that you would have it restored. I am always amazed when I have called someone's business and they do not return my call. Seriously? You are in business but don't want business? If they don't want the challenge, fine, but respond. Crazy.
    I had a chair restored after if fell apart while a friend was sitting in it. It was worth it and that table is a treasure, but I hear your pain and concerns. Good luck!

  3. Your table is so loved, I can only imagine the stories it could tell. I'm sure there were lively conversations and tons of great food served to family and guests alike. I hope you find someone to help you put this beloved piece back to it's full glory. Then the first conversation you can share with your Thanksgiving guests is how close they came to having gravy in their laps. :-) fondly ~lynne~

  4. Too bad you didn't live closer -- my friend Jack, who refinished Lucy's rocker could fix it and make it look like new! Sigh! And on another note -- Lucy will be a big sister in July -- not on Facebook yet per Sarah's request but thought I would share with you! Love the table and no matter what, I definitely would keep it -- it's FAMILY, after all!

  5. Cass, your conservatory is beautiful...and so is the family table. I hope you can find someone that can repair it so you are able to put all the leaves in when entertaining.
    Have a great weekend.

  6. I think it's all perfect, table and all. I hope you can find someone to repair it so you can use it for entertaining! It deserves that!

  7. We have the cousin to your table in our leaves....just the wonky legs that somehow my FIL had wired on....We just HAD to have it shipped from Jersey to Georgia...along with the tacky (sentimental??) Grandfather clock and various other family doo three orange vinyl bar stools...the table is just horrible and now it's just filled with crap on the top....but the husband says it reminds him of his father so if he's happy....I did love seeing the melted pear candle or whatever the hell to was suppose to be....I didn't know those LED things were that realistic...

  8. Hopefully you can find someone to help your table.

    Glad no one had gravy in their laps!

    M : )

  9. h how blessed you are to have this table. Surely someone will help her recuperate. Love your blog

  10. What a story that table has to tell.... I like the simple center piece, allowing the table to be the star ;-)

  11. I sure hope you can get it fixed. It is a beauty, not to mention the memories. I'll bet there are some great stories that took place around this table.

  12. We have a similar table that, according family lore, once dumped the entire Thanksgiving dinner into Uncle Wilbert's lap (he had leaned his elbows on the table, which provided the proverbial straw...). Loved reading this post, and seeing your oak table looking so at home amongst your lovely decor lessens my angst toward ours...(our table that is, not our decor, which needs an intervention...).

  13. Beautiful table! Thanks for linking up with Home Sweet Home!

  14. Cass, your table is a real treasure and I sure hope you find someone who can fix it for you. I enjoyed your post and thanks for the smiles.


  15. The lantern looks good, It gets my vote. We have a few table stories like yours, My sister inherited a rectangular version of yours--well it starts out square and then goes foever, with that trusty (?) leg in the middle for "support."


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