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Leather Surfaced Table

posted by Matt Pierce on February 16, 2015

If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you realize my love of furniture. Better yet when there's some customization or refinishing involved. Kelley, a W&F alum, found a great example of a Thonet style side table in need of some refinishing. The tabletop surface was stripped and we figured a simple leather cover would be simple and beautiful. 

This is a pretty short DIY, but the principles can be used on many other types of furniture... From small tables to a leather surfaced writing desk. To begin, Kelley disassembled the table for a quick sanding and finish work. She quickly sanded with a sanding sponge and then applied Danish oil to the wood and let it dry. After removing the wood top, we went to work.

Use the table top surface to cut your leather piece. Lay the board on the chosen area of leather and find the center of the circle. With two awls and a piece of cardstock, it's easy to create a perfect circle. Measure your tabletop radius and add two inches to accommodate the roll-over amount. Punch two holes in the cardstock strip and hold one awl in the center while carefully swinging the outer awl in a circle to mark you leather.

Once marked, cut your circle with scissors or a knife. When adhering leather to wood, contact cement works great. Use the dry method, which is to apply a layer of cement on both surfaces and let completely dry. A foam roller works great here. After both surfaces are dry, carefully put them together near one edge and use a brayer to work out any air holes as you lay the leather piece down.

Once applied to your wood, you can make relief cuts in the roll-over amount. Using a hobby knife, create relief cuts completely around the board, about a quarter inch from the board edge. After all cuts are made, use the adhesive procedure again and securely roll your edge around the board once dry.

If the bottom of the board is unseen, you're done. If you want to cover the bottom too, you can cut a piece of leather or other material in a circle shape about a quarter inch smaller than the original table diameter and apply in the same fashion.