Restoring Antique and Mid-Century Modern Dining Tables

MPF Conservation specializes in antique furniture restoration, furniture repair, antique upholstered furniture, and traditional woodworking.  This page documents Dining Tables.

Dining tables come in many shapes and sizes. They often have leaves; the leaves, since they are seldom used, can often show us the historic finish appearance!

MPFC has built new felt-lined containers for leaves.

In all cases below, we perform the following details using traditional techniques as needed:

  • Disassemble as necessary
  • Inspect parts for viability
  • Clean all parts as needed
  • Repair / re-glue / amend broken parts
  • Replicate missing parts
  • CHOOSE Finish Method below:
  • Historic varnish is amended with several coats of pure shellac and rubbed to patina OR
  • Historically accurate varnish coating with combinations of gums, tree resins, oils, waxes and natural earth pigments is applied  OR
  • Historic painted finish is repaired and amended as needed

Before treatment, left, and after treatment, right.

Stickley Table sold by Marston & Quina, Ca. 1900

This family table has lived in many climates, from Florida to NYC to California to Oregon, all of which has contributed to some of the problems in the structure.

Conditional issues included: damaged loafer guides, table top underside riddled with large screw holes (some of which penetrated the top), pest infestation which threatened to undermine the leg supports, delaminating and abraded veneer, and damaged wood substrate, and damaged finish. MPFC thoroughly inspected holes from pests for current pest infestation (and found none).

We also preserved the historic label with an acrylic cover so no further damage could occur!

Before treatment, left, and after treatment, right.

Mid-Century American Shaker-style Cherry Table Ca. 1950

This Connecticut table’s finish was original, nicely patinated, but scratched and imprinted with white heat and water marks. The original oil-based varnish was agreeable to polishing. The top was pounced with fine rottenstone and rubbed with cork and felt pads and mineral spirits until the fine scratches and white blemishes disappeared. The top was waxed with our hard carnauba wax then polished with woolen rags.

Before treatment, above, and after below.

American Arts & Crafts White Oak Drum Table Ca. 1900

This family oak table has seen a great deal of family good times! Along with the American Greek Revival Arts & Crafts Buffet behind the table, shown after treatment below, the pieces saw holiday dinners, canning projects, and children’s glitter craft parties (see heart carved in the last image above).

American-made of quarter-sawn riff-cut white oak (1/16-inch veneer and solids) with a Greek Revival base, it was in need of veneer reparation and finish work. The leaves were nicked with many veneer losses along the edges. We replaced missing veneer, repaired edges and deep scratches, and finished the table using a compatible varnish.

The family asked we leave some of the glitter embedded in the table, good memories!

The matching buffet can be found on the Buffet page.

Before, left, and after, right and below.

Lunstead Copper Table, circa 1960

A modern family heirloom circa 1960, this acid etched 48-inch table copper top table was made by Harry Lunstead, a little known Seattle Washington designer.

Before, left, and after, right.

Arne Jacobsen Teak Wood Drop Leaf Dining Table Model 3601 circa 1952

Arne Emil Jacobsen, Hon. FAIA, was a Danish architect and furniture designer who lived from 1902 – 1971, known for Architectural Functionalism, but we know him for beautiful MCM chairs, including the iconic Egg Chair.

Our client inadvertently laid a wet potted plant on the table, spurring its need for treatment. Several other spots, stains and scratches were scattered around the surface, and we also conserved the top’s loose hinges.

The original finish was cleaned and treated using rubbing methods, and is intact. The water damage to the top would only have been completely removed with refinishing, but we were able to move the grain enough to mitigate its visual impact, while saving the finish, and adding to the value of the table. The spot can only be seen from certain angles due to the change in the grain pattern.

Before, left, and after, right.

Before treatment, above.

American Mahogany Neoclassical Banking Table circa 1885

The family “dining” table began its life in the great-grandparent’s business; a banker’s tasking table, it has many drawers on one side. Previously there had been poor repairs made prior to the final move, and during that move to a drop caused several breaks.

MPFC repaired numerous issues with the base and undercarriage fo the drawers and skids, and restored the historic finish.

  • Repairing and/or replacing bent screws and steel “L” brackets on base connections and wheels.
  • Removing desiccated glues.
  • Repairing small chips in the wood frame and/or creating mahogany infill pieces.
  • Repairing drawers and the undercarriage of the drawer supports.
  • Entire table was cleaned and an encaustic wax treatment applied.

Table installed after treatment, below.

Additional dining tables (examples shown above) can be found in the Imperial collection in Crater Lake National Park, in the Mason Monterey collection at Oregon Caves National Monument NPS, in the WPA Collection of Furniture (built by both WPA and CCC craftsmen) at Timberline Lodge (coming soon), in the Berkey and Gay page.

If you are interested in other wooden objects, see below: