Dianne's table

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Project by Schwieb posted 04-13-2014 07:05 PM 2150 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of my patients asked me awhile back if I would fix up an old table that her parents had from when she was a little girl. She brought it to me to look at and I realized it needed some help but could definitely be and was worth restoring. I swear I took some before pictures but I cannot find them. The top was carved and on the reverse side her Dad had painted on a chess board. She hoped I could sand it off, I knew I could inlay a veneer chessboard. It would be good practice. The top is roughly 2’ x 3’ and was a single board and the legs were of an entirely different wood.

I disassembled the frame, fixed some joinery, re-glued the frame, stripped it down, inlayed to chessboard, sanded and finished it. I was right proud of it and I called her to say it was ready. I was figuring how much time and cost I had in doing it: about $45 in supplies and 35 hours of my time, I’m certainly worth something, even the prez says minimum wage should be $10.10. I’m thinking about the new tool that this money will go toward…........

She came right over, she was so excited, she thanked me, we loaded it into the car and she drove off without even a question of what do I owe you? Now I know this woodworking thing is more or less a hobby and I am semi-retired, but I was shocked. I’ve never asked anyone to do something for nothing. Oh well, live and learn.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

9 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4080 days

#1 posted 04-13-2014 07:20 PM

wow, what a unique table, i know when i ask for someones help , its usually known up front if this is a freeby or if there is an expected payment of some kind, never would i have someone do something like this and not know im going to pay them, supplies and time, wow..and you being a semi retired person who is known and has patient’s, now it could get nasty, maybe she assumed you were doing it for free, and you were assuming you would get paid, was there anything said in the beginning about payment…well i know one thing, they sure got a good deal, and like you said, live and learn….

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4111 days

#2 posted 04-13-2014 08:41 PM

It looks beautiful now Ken, so you did a nice job of it. The chess board looks great and after looking at the other side for awhile I can’t help thinking that it too was some kind of game board to. What do you think?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Schwieb's profile


1900 posts in 4238 days

#3 posted 04-13-2014 10:26 PM

Mike, I’m thinking that the original design of this table had sometime to do with gaming. The heart, spade, clubs, diamond, shape would make one think that, but what it was designed for I have no idea, other than to be a coffee table. Dianne’s, daddy was an airline pilot back in the early days and bought it at some shop and brought it home some time on the early 50’s.

Yea, it looks nice now but it was a wreck before I started. I hope she enjoys it. Like I said, live and learn…......

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View horologist's profile


105 posts in 4516 days

#4 posted 04-14-2014 12:11 AM


You did a beautiful job on that table.
The rest, an unfortunate situation, as you say live and learn.
She may yet come to her senses, I have heard similar stories on some of my clock repair groups and sometimes these people come through. Give it a little time.

-- Troy in Melrose, Florida

View CFrye's profile


11008 posts in 2617 days

#5 posted 04-14-2014 01:14 AM

What a unique table and beautiful wood! Wonderful job, Dr. Ken. Hopefully she will make it right. Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4362 days

#6 posted 04-14-2014 07:13 PM

This happens all the time .It’s what my father called thank you jobs .Maybe she thinks because this is not your full time job you did it for the pleasure of doing so.I am sorry Brother, but I hear of this all the time. I am afraid you need to let them know up front that you expect to be paid ,especially since you were out opf pocket quite a bit even on the materials.I would simply send her a bill and take it from there itemize your costing and wait for a cheque in the post. I would say without hesitation that she has a damned nerve. I would be firm, but polite, and insist on being compensated. My next door neighbour was asked by a woman down the street from us to come quickly and fix her leaking roof.He went there right away and replaced quite a number of tiles with underlay- underfelt waterproof material etc it took him three days and she called by when he finished and dropped of a bottle of rum for him.I told him to go and make it known he would need to be paid for his time plus quite a few materials but he wouldn’t go.These people know better but they thrive on taking advantage of peoples kindness as an elderly gentleman said to me when it happened to me they are Taking Kindness for softeness.Have fun Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


19244 posts in 4453 days

#7 posted 04-14-2014 11:28 PM

Nice job. It would be interesting to know what kind of game it was for?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Schwieb's profile


1900 posts in 4238 days

#8 posted 04-17-2014 02:32 PM

When I first saw the table I was wondering what sort of game it would be for, Dianne had no idea. I can’t remember if she said it came from Central America or southeast Asia. Her Dad was a pilot for Pan Am back in the early days so he flew all over the world. I’ve not heard a peep from Dianne, even said hello at church last week.. Someone told me they saw a Facebook post, but I don’t follow that social media stuff very much.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Robsshop's profile


923 posts in 3752 days

#9 posted 04-19-2014 02:44 PM

Very nice looking work Dr. Ken, you have improved upon an already nice table with some great looking craftsmanship! I don’t have any comment on the “exit stage left” experience other than treat your self to that tool you have your sights on for doing a job well done ;-).........ROB

-- Rob,Gaithersburg,MD,One mans trash is another mans wood shop treasure ! ;-)

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