Friday, May 23, 2014

card table time travel

the 1980s were a decent decade.  computers as we know them, microsoft, atari, and star wars came to be.  cabbage patch kids and tmnt were born.  hell, i was born.  and so was this card table set.
i had to leave my ikea kitchen table in long island since a 500 square foot apartment leaves little room for extra furniture.  when i moved into my house, the parents donated the card table and chairs to the cause.  1920's house, 1980's table, mid-1980's me.  i am slowly updating the house, but the table was a relatively quick fix.  me on the other hand... i just keep getting older.  i digress.

pinterest told me i can quickly and easily paint and recover a folding chair!  well.. let me tell you.  exaggeration.  first i had to choose fabrics. has 194 flavors of oil cloth suitable for home decor.  eff.  i finally settled on the oh-so-retro cherry print oil cloth for the table and thought..  no one wants their ass sticking to oil cloth in the humid clutches of summer... but the polka dots are so friggin cute!  and then i reconsidered and went with sensible coordinating teal and white.  sigh.  i ordered a yard of each just to be safe, and then set about trying to dismantle the chairs.
easier said than done. 
the pin i looked at the girl had these nice easy to unscrew chairs.  well.  the back portion of the chair was fine.  super short phillips.  done.  the seat however, had these terrible little hex bolts that i had to unscrew with a wrench.  at about a half turn at a time it took approximately fucking forever.  4 chairs, 4 screws each, plus 12 on the table.  then it was painting time.  and by that i mean a trip to home depot.  i bought a 6 pack of spray paint, and some sheet metal screws.  after some debating, the hardware guy suggested i buy #12 1/2"... but i later found they were too big.  useless fact: if you have the same card table, #10 3/8" screws are perfecto.  then i dragged the chair and table frames into my garage [it was a windy day] and nearly asphyxiated myself with spray paint. 
protip: dont rush spray paint.
i have spots i need to sand down and touch up, there are drips, and some stuff is a little lump.  also, the spray paint at some points came out thick.  idk why cos i shook the shit out of those cans.  additional protip: do not paint in the dark cave of the garage at night.  i dont think i need to explain why.

but finally, the staple gun fun part! 
of course the staple gun i have is heavy duty.  turns out to reupholster folding chairs.. you need light duty.  shorter staples.  then you dont sit on a chair and stab a staple through your ass.  soooo i ordered a new staple gun, removed about 600 old staples, and tried not to inhale any weird old vinyl bits.

finally after weeks [my order was placed on april 20 and i posted chair pics on the fb may 6] i had all my shit together.  i dont have any pics of this process as it requires both hands and.. really it would have been convenient to grow a third arm just for this step.  vinyl stretches ever so slightly, and in their time free from the vinyl cocoon... the foam for the seats had puffed back to its original uniform thickness.  after some obsessive math and measuring, i finally cut the vinyl and then struggled for several minutes to hold the chair backing in place while adjusting the foam and fabric.  flailing and stapling ensued and the only trick i found was to lean my weight on one edge of the chair seat backing so the foam would squish flat enough for me to stretch the fabric with one hand while stapling with the other... faster than it could all fly apart again into pieces.

needless to say there was much swearing.  and then i left the whole project again for another two weeks when i painstakingly finished the table top.  it isnt as taut as i would have liked but a 3 foot square piece of plywood is incredibly cumbersome. 
effing done.  card table transformed from the 1980's to 2014.. and then back to the 60's?  all for the low low cost of..  i'm not telling.  i just google-d how much card table sets cost.  but mine is unique damnit.  and it has history.  


  1. Hi Liz!
    It was a great improvement! Now is more fun!
    Kisses from Portugal!

    1. thanks! its definitely more fun, and much more "me"


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