Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sheesham Table

One project this summer was to refinish our dining room table, which took on a very sorry state in the last few years. Any type of heat clouded the finish. The shaving cream that Grandma let the kids play with on the table revealed unfinished wood. Oops.

We purchased the table while living in Germany. I loved the size: 1 meter by 2 meters is the PERFECT sized table top, as far as I am concerned. It was made of solid wood - that was Fritz's request. He wanted something that could be refinished. It came to us finished in a really dark stain. It matched the dark stained chairs in the photo above. Oh wait... maybe I have a more detailed before of the stained wood table. Here it is:

In the photo above, the dark stain is already coming off. Note the area beneath the plate and colander.

Anyway, we didn't have a lot of money for the table way-back-when, so the table we bought came from a German-Ikea-knock-off store. It was about $400. The wood was... Sheesham. Sheesham, it turns out, is also known as Indian rosewood. It's basically an imported hardwood that is sold at a semi-affordable price. It's super heavy and sturdy. But it traditionally has problems as far as the Western Furniture market is concerned. Sheesham is super vibrant: there are huge variations in the color of the wood. It has light areas and dark areas and areas of grey and blue and reddish brown and yellowish brown. And it has big knots. Therefore, on the Western markets, Sheesham is typically sold covered in very dark stain. Or in lime-washed finish. And often it also has a distressed finish. Sometimes, it's sold as "Reclaimed Wood," despite the fact that it's actually brand new wood.

But, if you sand away all that distressed/dark stain and you get something like this:

It is sort of wild, right? I'm not sure I would have purchased this table if it looked like this originally. Maybe the furniture companies are right to cover it in dark stain. But then, sometimes I wonder why we are so eager to make something naturally vibrant conform to our staid (and boring?) expectations.

The surface is now super smooth and LOUD. It's really... I don't know, a conversation piece? An accent piece? I'm trying to enjoy the something different aspect. Also, it only cost about $50 (and the time) to refinish.

Next up, perhaps? The chairs. I started refinishing them a mere 5 years ago: I think it's time to finish that project, right? Unfortunately, I don't thinking the difference will be quite so striking: the wood isn't Sheesham.

1 comment:

Pregnantly Plump said...

I LOVE the wood grain! I think it's awesome, but I do possibly have loud taste. We redid our table this summer as well. Our table had grooves, which I hated and filled, so it had to be painted. It's not nearly as cool as yours.