Quality, Inexpensive Furniture: Can It Be Done?
The Importance of the Family Dinner Table
My problem is the high cost of table pads. We bought a Koa wood dining table and six chairs about 30 years ago and recently had them refinished and repaired. My husband and I are now looking for an inexpensive method of making our own table pad. Table pads start at four cents a square inch on eBay. My husband wants to buy linoleum and cut it to fit. I say, "No way." Can you give us any good ideas?
I have used heavy felt as a table pad for many years. It can be cut to any size. I even have pieces that fit when the leaves are used to extend the table. Occasionally I place a vinyl tablecloth over the felt to keep the decorative tablecloth from sticking to the felt. It has worked very well on my valuable antique table. I do use hot pads under the dishes coming directly from the oven or microwave. Try it! Felt is less expensive and works well.
Determine what type of finish was used on your table before using any type of plastic table pad (not sure about the linoleum). Some plastics will cause a reaction with certain varnishes, causing the varnish to become sticky.
I use a heavy cotton mattress pad on my table. If you have a serger, you could cut to fit and surge the edges and add some tapes to tie to the legs. I let mine drape because the tablecloth covers it. I also cover my tablecloth with a piece of heavy clear plastic so that my tablecloth stays clean and only needs washing with the change of seasons.
I've used something called Silence Cloth on my antique dining room table for many years. I machine wash it every few months. It is sold by the yard. It's an extra thick flannel-fleece pad. I have never had any damage to my table surface. It is best to use a trivet or potholder under extremely hot pans. I bought my Silence Cloth from the catalogue of the Vermont Country Store. A tablecloth then covers the Silence Cloth. Spills are absorbed by the Silence Cloth and don't damage the wood. I think linoleum would scar the finish.
In the upholstery/household section of most fabric stores, you can find a wonderful material that is similar to a plastic tablecloth on one side and foam on the other. It comes in a wide width. I bought a piece long enough to cover the table and extend on both sides. It is pliable and any tablecloth will cover it gracefully. When not being used, it can be rolled up and stored in the corner of a closet. Wait for a sale or a coupon and you are set!
I bought an inexpensive flannel backed vinyl tablecloth and cut it to fit my table. It cost $2.50. Previously, I had purchased a similar pad for which I had paid approximately $25. I use my regular tablecloth over the pad and have no problems with heat marks or scratches.
You can have a piece of heavy glass cut to fit the top of your table. It is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at most home stores. Glass protects the wood without hiding it.
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