A table for two

I’m excited to show you this latest project! I hinted at another laminated timber project in my post about our kitchen shelves last week, and I also mentioned some more Mocka products coming to our house when I showed you the coat hanger in the kids room.

So, this is what we’ve been up to. (And this is where I warn you that not only are there rather a lot of photos, but I got carried away with words a bit too. I did say I was excited…)

1118_8532My parents bought the Mocka stools for Master W’s recent birthday, and I initially planned to cut the legs down so they could be used under our coffee table. But because that sits on our precious rug, I knew it wasn’t the smartest idea.

I’ve been reluctant about bringing in an unnecessary piece of furniture like a table and chair set for the kids, because while our less than 100 sqm house is huge by some standards, the first world way we live in NZ does mean I’m constantly culling things to keep clutter free.  But… with kids slowly becoming interested in drawing and art projects, a broken chair which made my brain go “hmmm… what can I do with this?” and the arrival of the stools… I nudged our dining table over a little and made room!

1118_8531A few months ago, one of our dining chairs gave way completely (happens when you buy the cheapest replica Eames chairs you’ve ever come across) and the seat detached right off of the base. It sat miserably in the corner for a while before I gave up on it and banished it to waste away next to the rubbish bins outside.

Some weeks later Andre managed to actually cram it into the bin, and out it went.

Or so we thought.

One Wednesday morning a few weeks ago I rung Andre in a slight panic… “what did you do with that broken chair base??!” “Oh I chucked it in the rubbish, that’s what you wanted?” “Which rubbish? Is it still there? Did you put it in the rubbish at work? Can you check if it’s still there?” “I put it in our rubbish bin”.

Picture me dropping the phone and running right out the back door. It was rubbish day.

Andre’s dad turned up to work on the deck just as I was ferretting through the bin out by the road, but he’s getting used to my ideas, and probably wasn’t even surprised to see my grin as I rescued the chair base from the depths of the bin.

4 minutes later… repeat… F O U R minutes later and the kids are racing to the window to watch the rubbish truck come by and empty the very bin that had this chair base in.

This project very nearly didn’t happen!

But it did. And here’s how:

1118_8432The way the brackets sat on the chair base meant it wasn’t level (a slight backwards slope is good for comfy seats, but not so good for a table to be) so I started with disassembling it. Meanwhile, Andre glued (laminated if you want to be fancy) a couple of pieces of old oak headboards together, which we already had in the garage.

1118_8425Because I wasn’t sure how we were going to put the base all back together at this point, I saved all my nuts and bolts.


This is how the brackets sat on top of the legs in its first life as a chair.1118_8437But thankfully I have a husband who is both a handyman and happy to go along with his wife’s ideas (mostly!). So he refashioned those brackets into something more simple, that we could attach a level table top to.

1118_8441And then I repainted them with some matt black spray paint that we already had.

1118_8442While the glue was curing on the table top, and the paint drying on the brackets, we mocked up a couple of sizes of top using some cardboard, and swapped them back and forth while we decided whether 600mm diameter or 700mm was best.

1118_84621118_8456This photo is here for no other reason than it’s cute factor… chubby legs and hands that still have dimples – aww!

1118_8458Back to the table. We decided to cut it at 650mm, because sometimes right in the middle is best. I’m not sure why there are multiple circle lines here, but it didn’t bode well for what happened next…

1118_8470On the advice of his dad Andre first cut out the top with the jigsaw, leaving a couple of millimetres (you can just see this in the photo above). Then he set up the router attached to a jig, and with me holding tightly to the table top, he ran the router around to evenly trim off those extra millimetres. However, it was one of those days… and as I tried to turn the top as Andre worked his way around with the router, I lost my grip and the router went mad.

This is the damage, trimmed off by a second go with the jigsaw.

1118_8469Because I was sulking inside, and because clamps were a better bet anyway, Andre gave the router another go without me.

1118_8477I got over the fact that we were back to nearer 600mm diameter (luckily without any injuries) and got to sanding. There’s something pleasant about sanding nice timber (picture me stroking it smooth!), despite the dust.

1118_1974Then the kids helped with wiping down the dusty top with damp cloths when I’d finished. But that seemed to roughen up the grain a little, so I gave it another sanding with a very fine grit, and then just brushed it down rather than wiping with a cloth.

1118_19781118_8507A few coats top and bottom with Cabot’s Cabothane Clear varnish (leftover from the kitchen shelves) and then I handed back to Andre to attach the top to the legs.

1118_8524We needed the top to sit a bit higher than the base allowed for, so it gets a little ugly with a small slab of leftover timber from the deck. Thankfully it’s hidden from view to all but crawling babies so it’s fine. Sorry crawling babies.

1118_8527Flipped over the right way we soon saw it wasn’t quite level, so a couple of well placed washers sorted it out…

1118_8540 …And we called it done!

We are not entirely sure about three different types of timber all in such close quarters, so a suggestion box is currently open. So far it holds “paint the table legs white?” and “crochet some seat covers?” but for now the box remains open, while we have other priorities.

1118_85301118_8535This is the crawling baby view.1118_8538But adults and bigger small people get to see the wider view…1118_8536…including that awesome deck that we’re already enjoying when kids are safely in bed and unable to fall over the edge. Screens and balustrades are coming…!

But this table is excitement enough for now. It was free! Entirely made from things we already had, and already it’s the kids favourite place for morning teas and drawing. A perfect project!

19 thoughts on “A table for two

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  2. EatDrink&DIY

    You two are too clever for you own good! I’d paint the chairs white to match the big kids chairs. Then you’re only dealing with the legs and top that don’t match, and even that I don’t think is drastic. So cool! 🙂

    1. Jolene Post author

      Oh Jen thanks! I hadn’t thought of painting the chairs, but that’s definitely an option. I look forward to seeing how you go with those built ins…!

      1. EatDrink&DIY

        I’m secretly terrified of them! Thinking an ikea hack may be the way to go, or perhaps call in some more knowledgeable fam and friends for this one. We’re definitely no John and Sherry! (yet😉)

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