I am not one to tell someone what to do... especially around here...
but don't refinish or rebuild your piece! Save it!
Some of my early work is still floating around where I can see it in
the houses of my family and myself. I get a kick out of it, and it
brings a small tear to my eye to look at some of it.
30 years ago (first year of full time carpentry and floor sweeping):
- beer was more important than my budding carpentry career
- nubile young women were more important than beer (remember those
I did not own or have access to (some weren't invented yet) the
- no planer
- no jointer
- no motorized miter saw
- no drill press
- no table saw
- no stationary belt sanders
- no table saw (job site use only)
- no biscuit machine - dowels with no jig only
- no band saw
- no pocket hole jigs
- no HVLP guns or wipe on finishes (stains, yes - finish, no)
- no exotic woods
- there weren't 10 billion woodworking plan and reference books
available at a nearby bookstore, and there was no >public< usenet
- white glue only! but worked as well as professional yellow (yup, we
tried it out on site). Sadly though, it was not waterproof - even with
paint on it
- no brad or finish guns - pilot holes with 3d, 4d, or 6d nails were it
- I only owned about 5 pony pipe clamps. Glue ups, assemblies,
everything took forever
- worst of all.... no shop. Everything was site built for the client
at their home (vanities, additinal cabs for remodels, built ins, etc.)
or in a friend's garage, including entire sets of kitchen, bathroom and
How did we do it then? I dunno.
All of those things I built in those days were built to maximize
materials, time, effort, and speed. They required planning,
forethought and some good timing with only hand guided tools. But I
was so proud of them... they all had a little piece of me in them.
Now I measure, build, modify, change, repair or whatever is needed for
my clients. I remember their names, but not what I did for them. I
could not tell you of what I have done in the last 10 years; just what
the client wants. I have gone back to client's home that I worked in
10 years ago, and if they have painted or stained a project, I may not
even recognize my own work if it was executed to their plans. No much
pleasure in that.
Some of the work I did 30 years ago was good, and some not so good. But
when I consider the work I did in those days and take a look at one of
my simple dining room tables, my repro English tea chest, a bedside
chest, a hall chest, a blanket chest, and some of the other things that
are still in the family even after all this time, and I really
appreciate the hand cut miters, the hand sanding and finishing that
damn plastic wood dough, and the simple doors I made. There was >a
lot< of work in all of those things, no matter how small.
I think you should keep yoru table as it is for yourself, to remind you
have far you have come, and how little you had when you started. You
would probably be amazed at the work you did when you carefully
consider the choice of tools, and working conditions you had then.
Just a thought...
PS: My older sister has one of my first measured wood working projects
I did as a kid. I proudly woodburned "Made by Robert L. Witte, August
1968" on it. Wow... was that a long time ago...