Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Nice Little Table

Once upon a time, it was a nice little table.  I'm sure it must have been.  It's friendly and forgiving and just a little pitiful.  Any number of people must have owned the nice little table but some were obviously not kind to it, given the layers of paint and damage it has.  Someone even tried to do a charcoal-burning finish on the pretty carved top.  Someone else has removed a support bar at the base.  And I myself am guilty of a paint layer or two.  There are also signs that woodworms have been at work.  It's not the pretty oak piece that it appears once to have been.  

The nice little table also has been on a great journey and travelled many miles.  It's from somewhere in the British Isles, and it came to the US as a bargain auction item in a cargo shipping container lot.  I know that it was cheaply bought and cheaply brought because I saw some of the other items from that lot:  all were bruised and battered in one way or another, desirably mainly for their lineage as Genuine English Antiques but not worthy of respect in their own country as decent antiques.  The table is, by the way, Edwardian at least, perhaps earlier--more than 100 years old in any case. 

After the nice little table survived a second auction here in the US, it languished in an antiques store where it failed to sell for quite a long time.  When it was marked down in price yet again, I decided that it would come home to my house and the shop owner kindly allowed me to barter work time for it.  

So for the past ten years, it has moved from one spot to another in my house.  It has been a coffee table.  It has been a plant stand.  It has been a kitty cat perch on the screen porch.  Most recently, it has served an important role for my eBay business as a side table in my study where it holds notebooks and a file basket.  

I'm not fond of the "distressed" look generally but in this case I don't mind it because the distressing is honest and it is genuine.  I really like the nice little table; it has a lovely personality and it's good company.  But, yesterday, as I tidied up, I saw that it was in terrible trouble.  A long lateral crack in the top has become a complete split and the glue in the three remaining supports has given way.  Something must be done.  And it must be done soon.

Late in the night, I lay awake thinking about the nice little table.  Restoration would be impossible.  Even general sanding is likely to be foolhardy.  The only thing to do is a "fly by the seat of the pants" job.  Fortunately, I've got some experience with that.  What we'll be looking for here is charm and usability.  Perfection is not an option; it never is where I'm concerned, and I don't think the table cares about it either.

The table facelift budget is $15 and not a penny more (hopefully).  I stopped at Ace today and blew past the UnHelpful Hardware Man (did NOT want a repeat of his "we don't carry that" refrain that I was subjected to last month while buying lamp repair supplies) to find spray paint and glue.  He tried to follow me anyway, but I evaded him by ducking down the housewares aisle.  Then I grabbed some cheap-o bungees at the dollar store.  Supplies current total: $13.67.   (Yes, I might have paid less at WalMart but I'd rather eat a bug than go to WalMart, and I'm a vegetarian.)  Other supplies will have to come from whatever I've got on hand; I won't know until I have a look-see. 

This may take a few days but let's see what happens.  It's table rescue time!

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