Royal Horticultural Society – Oak Conference table fully restored

This gorgeous Edwardian conference table is an antique that was starting to show its age. The table was comprised of several components, and featured a beautiful corkscrew that allowed the table to be lengthened and retracted, with space to insert new leafs to accommodate extra people at the table.


We began by carefully disassembling the entire table, uncovering previous repairs that were affecting the integrity of the entire table!

This piece of timber had been screwed into place to bolster a split in the wood. However, it was applying uneven pressure and twisting the supporting structure of the entire end of the table, putting extra pressure on the table legs. As you can see in the picture below, the end of the table was warped, only the solid table-top held it together!

In our workshop, we applied several coats of French Polish and worked the imperfections out. When french polishing, there are many factors to take into consideration, including the temperature! If it is too cold, cold-air pockets can become trapped in the polish and show up as smokey, grey smears. Working in the middle of October, we made every effort to ensure this didn’t come to pass.

It’s always easier to take something apart than it is to put it back together again. Reassembling this table took the better part of a whole day, and we were careful not to force any joints or scratch a surface and undo our work!

The finished table, retaining the character and splendour of the work with none of the downsides of its age. Always remember, whatever the surface, to use a coaster for your drinks! A coffee ring can be tough to get out of a kitchen counter, but on a french-polished table, the heat of the cup can be enough to melt the shellac surface!

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