Materials: 1/4″ poplar planks and pine lattice, miter box, saw, liquid nails, finishing nails, onyx stain, tung oil finish
Description: My TV dug a huge gouge in my Lack TV table. Rather than throw it away or replace the top slab, I opted to cover it with poplar.
Since I don’t have a huge array of woodworking tools, I had to pick board sizes that required minimal cutting. I went with 2.5″ pine lattice and 6″ poplar planks – both 1/4″ in thickness.
I put the pine on the sides first with liquid nail adhesive. I also put a random nail or two in place to compensate for bends and bows. I mitered the sides, but I’m not sure if this made a noticeable difference in the final look.
Next, I put the poplar on the top, covering the pine lattice, and trimmed to create staggered joints. It wouldn’t have been a bad idea to cut and place the pieces before gluing so I could have a more random pattern. The boards got held down with a healthy bead of glue and tacked in place to smooth out the considerable bowing. I tried to select the flattest pieces of wood, but even small curves become noticeable when butted up against another board.
For joints with huge discrepancies, I used a hand planer to even out. The last board had a huge curve that created a 1/8 gap that I plugged with tiny slivers of left over wood. Once things were relatively smooth, I sanded pretty extensively with 60, 100, 150 and 220 grade sandpaper. I originally used wood putty to fill the nail holes and gaps, but it didn’t match the wood at all so I removed as much as I could and opted for elmers glue which absorbed the saw dust and worked way better.
I did some tests, but poplar isn’t great with stain so I used Tung Oil Finish. The pine was noticeably redder than then poplar, so I sampled some black stain on a corner. The stain only penetrated scratches, defects and other random spots, which when rubbed with a cloth looked kind of cool. So I did all the sides. The pine matched much better and lost its new “wood shop” look. I put two more coats of Tung Finish on and may do another later on.
I feel pretty good. I don’t have to trash the table or the top and I used a pretty tiny amount of wood, (enough to carry home on the bus).
~ Brendan, Astoria, NYC