Teak wood tables

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Project by Charles Maxwell posted 02-07-2008 03:16 AM 7269 views 5 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When Ronald Reagan decided to beef up the US Navy to 600 capital ships, he brought back to life 4 of our famous WWII battle wagons! On 22 October 1987, the USS WISCONSIN was officially recommissioned and placed into active service. I was a LT at NROTC, University of Wisconsin – Madison and I volunteered to act as the Navy’s liaison to the State’s historical society and helped to create static displays of ship’s memorabilia for display around the state. Before the year was out I received a call from the Oscar Meyer Co. in Madison asking me to, “come and get this crap out of the refrigerators!” I did so and found among “the crap” many decayed USS WISCONSIN teak wood planks that didn’t make it into the static displays. Damn the luck! That week I bought my first Delta contractor’s table saw and I trimmed away the decayed wood. What I found was a lot of pristine teak preserved beneath the rot!! These tables are pieced together with that preserved teak wood. The tops are 3/4” teak and white oak strips to give the appearance of a ship’s wooden deck. The legs and skirts are white oak. Finish is high gloss, hand brushed Minwax Polly. It took many years to finish these tables because I didn’t have access to the tools necessary to do the job correctly. So, the unfinished table tops traveled from duty station to duty station until I finally made it to shore duty in 1995. That’s when I finally put legs on the tops! It took several more years before I could sand and finish. I guess these table will always be a work in progress. The magazine table design was inspired by my wife. She found and purchased an old broken magazine table at a garage sale that she thought we needed to fill our empty newlywed apartment! When that table finally died, a piece of our hearts went with it. So, I made this magazine table in honor of the memories we cherish as newlyweds and our old broken garage sale table!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

21 comments so far

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 5104 days

#1 posted 02-07-2008 03:22 AM

all I can say is wow! Looks great!

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 5392 days

#2 posted 02-07-2008 03:26 AM

It’s always amazed me that teak was used on carrier decks on the older ships in the navy. Great score and beautiful tables! RR would be proud! Great story.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1306 posts in 5112 days

#3 posted 02-07-2008 03:33 AM

Very nice indeed, excellant work!

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5327 days

#4 posted 02-07-2008 03:34 AM

Great looking tables!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Greg Salata's profile

Greg Salata

131 posts in 5101 days

#5 posted 02-07-2008 03:49 AM

Great looking tables…......excellent story.

Nicely done.

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 5464 days

#6 posted 02-07-2008 03:53 AM

Wow! -Nice work!

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View Richard Williams's profile

Richard Williams

164 posts in 5131 days

#7 posted 02-07-2008 03:59 AM

Hi Skipper, Wow, nice story on how you got that treasure trove of wood. As usual you did a fine job with it as well. Just a little side note. My uncle and God Father was a photographer and did printing on the USS Missouri. He had pictures that no one has ever seen. He is gone now but truly a likeable guy. I miss his stories on the Japanese surrender in their harbor. Those tables are too nice to have outside hurry up and get them indoors. haha. Great stuff.

-- Rich, Nevada,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5161 days

#8 posted 02-07-2008 04:36 AM

These are gorgeous pieces of furniture and I love the story behind them.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5557 days

#9 posted 02-07-2008 06:02 AM

Great job. I love these!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5213 days

#10 posted 02-07-2008 09:01 AM

These are awesome! I love the navy ship deck theme but the story tops it off. These are now not only an heirloom but a piece of US history. Just so cool. Congratulations on sticking with this project through the years and the moves and seeing it through to it’s completion. Worth the wait.

-- Happy woodworking!

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5404 days

#11 posted 02-07-2008 10:15 AM

Great story, good use of historical material and very good craftsmanship. It took awhile to finish them, but they look like they were worth the wait.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 5213 days

#12 posted 02-07-2008 12:02 PM

Great tables, and I love the historic aspect of the wood. Thank you for serving our country.

View relic's profile


344 posts in 5275 days

#13 posted 02-07-2008 01:53 PM

These are a really nice set.

-- Andy

View Hibernicvs's profile


65 posts in 5206 days

#14 posted 02-07-2008 04:13 PM

On Wisconsin … Go Navy! The history of the teak reminded me of something I read about the restoration of the U.S.F. Constitution. They couldn’t find enough seasoned white oak in the right size, until somebody remembered that eighty years before (I think this was in the 1920s, so 80 years would have been about right for the shift from wood to iron vessels) the Navy had purchased a lot of huge trees, cut them into timbers, and sunk them into a freshwater pond for safekeeping. The timbers were still there, good(er) than new, well-seasoned and ready to go. (I got that out of the old “Landmark” series book on the U.S.F. (for “Frigate”) Constitution, so my information is only as good as theirs.) I never got to see too many vessels during my father’s Navy service—he was Commander of the Base Hospital at China Lake, and there aren’t too many Navy vessels that have the draft for the Mojave Desert …

-- Hibernicvs

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5585 days

#15 posted 02-07-2008 10:57 PM

Great story to go with the beautiful tables you’ve made. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

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