You know when you convince yourself, “you can” in part because someone said, “you can’t”? Well, I couldn’t but I did. The “recovery” of a horrendous project error. Reducing the Height of a Dining Room Table.


This is definitely one project (of a very few) that I’ve NEVER heard the last of.   In retrospect, I can’t believe I did what I did (haven’t I said that recently??).  But, I did. Somehow I improvised well enough that the project ended up being relatively successful. Well, “successful” in that I was successfully able to cover up the ghastly errors.

Fortunately, we laugh about it today (as do many friends), but it was a bit tense and uncomfortable in the house for a while, particularly during dinner time.

We bought this dining room table…

IMG_0953 copy 

And, chairs to go with it…



But, every single time I sat at the table it seemed way too high and just down right  uncomfortable.  I felt like a little kid eating at an adult table…


The table was too high by about 2-3 inches and I was getting increasingly irritated by my ongoing discomfort.

Considering the possibility that maybe it was just “me”, my “petiteness”, I took a few weeks to assess other people’s experience at the table.  Indeed, the table was too high for others as well.  Maybe not quite as uncomfortable for others but most people agreed that the table seemed a tad too high.  My suspicion verified.

Oddly, I never considered the height of the chairs being too low.   Had I, I may have simply added seat cushions to the chairs which certainly would have been a lot easier than how the actual resolve played out.  Nope, I was undoubtedly certainthe table was too high and it needed to come down a few inches.

Thus, the focus of my new project. I would simply cut each table leg to get the perfect table height.  Easy fix!

In the meantime, Elke (my Partner) was pretty much in complete disagreement about reducing the height of the table and didn’t think it was going to be reasonably possible to simply cut the legs down.  However, I kept re-assuring her that “it would be fine” and “so much more comfortable”.  Eventually, though still in disagreement, Elke acquiesced with the stipulation that I didn’t touch the bottom of the legs.  She loved the little flare…


I was pretty off-set about not being able to cut the bottom of the legs as this had been part of the plan all along. 😦  None the less, I remained driven to successfully complete the project and came up with a new plan relatively quickly.

I’d simply need to cut out a couple of inches of each leg in the middle of the leg rather than the bottom.  Then, with amazingly strong wood glue I’d attach the two leg pieces back together and that would be that.  What could possibly go wrong???

Elke became even more skeptical about it all when she learned about my plan to cut the middle of the legs.  Making it clear she wanted “nothing to do with it” I continued to verbalize my assurance and promised to take full responsibility for the successful completion of the project.  Everyone was going to be SO MUCH more comfortable sitting at this table at its proper height!

happy-friends-eating-drinking-bar-pub-people-leisure-friendship-communication-concept-group-smiling-talking-56184660Example of very comfortable people at a very comfortable table.  That’s all I was going for. 

The day I began the project Elke decided to work in the little studio downstairs, as far away as possible from my preposterous project.

Somehow I got the table turned on its flat side.  I’m not sure how because it’s a very heavy table…


I marked the middle of each leg for a consistent cut line, grabbed the jig saw (being that was the only saw I had at the time) and began the first cut……………..

Yikes, the wood was REALLY dense and hard, VERY difficult to get the blade through let alone a straight cut.  And, Yikes…….the jig saw was working horribly!!  There was NO WAY I could cut a straight line, it was simply not possible.  But, I couldn’t stop now!

I continued getting through the cut but the result was NOT pretty!  Very jagged and uneven. It was bad and I knew I was completely and utterly SCREWED.

I don’t have a picture of the leg in the condition I just described but the cut looked something like this…


When I was hoping for a smooth cut something like this…


Now what?? Admittedly, I was a bit panicked and thought hard about just how I was going to resolve the problem. There was also the issue of Elke just downstairs.

I realized it was beyond my ability. I just couldn’t do it.  Ouch on the ego but I had to make a “911” call to our Handy Man, Jack.  He was on his way out-of-town at the time but I literally begged, groveled as a matter of fact.   Knowing the predicament I was in and hearing my desperation he headed over to my rescue.

In the meantime, I needed to go downstairs and give Elke a heads-up that Jack was coming over to “give me a hand”.


This was not going to go very well.  But, I needed to just own up and admit that I had made a mistake.  I was wrong, I could not make an even cut in the middle of the table legs….  I take full responsibility…. and, I will fix this.  Well, Jack will fix this.

I grab the cut off leg, walk downstairs, open the door and stood there with the jagged table leg in hand.  I’m not even sure what I said but I’m sure it included an apology and something about her “being right” while assuring that I’d take care of it (and, that Jack was on his way over).  It was one of those moments.  You know, when the person is SO pissed off they can’t say anything, nothing, not one word.  Yeah,  one of those.   I went back upstairs and waited for Jack.

Jack was going to become my new Hero…

46cef4d4b10228c9475f138b4b941ecaRight, this is Jack…. even I wish. 🙂

The “real” Jack shows up…

He takes a look at the situation and was at a complete loss for words.  He just stood there staring at the table and failed to provide any words of encouragement (like he usually did).  Letting him know that it was absolutely imperative he help me fix this AND here’s what I had in mind for the resolve;  he cut the other three legs in half as evenly as possible, attach a center bolt at each end of the leg (to securely re-connect the two pieces) and then final attachment back onto the table.  That’s what he needed to do. Pleeeeaasse.  I assured him I would not hold him responsible if it become impossible and nicely (but assertively) begged. He agreed.  With a good amount of struggle and with an appropriate saw he got the three remaining legs cut.

I was way too freaked out at the time to take a picture but the pic below is a re-created photo (via photo shop) which is a good representation of how the table looked at that point…

image-2 copy

Unfortunately, Jack couldn’t finish the job that day as he needed to continue on his way out of town.  But, he promised he’d be back the following week to finish up.  He needed to take the cut off legs with him so he could even out the cuts (with the proper saw) before he returned. So, he leaves with the four legs in tow.

As I mentioned, I’d already broken the news to Elke, apologized, and promised to get things taken care of.  But,  I now had to let her know that we needed to live with a “short” table until Jack returned.  Of course, I tried to present it like it would be a “fun” experience for us, we’ll have a “Japanese style” table for a little while.  How entertaining!

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Did I mention we were having friends over for dinner the following night??

Soooo, we dealt with the Japanese table for about a week. I placed pillows on the floor  around the table for more comfortable seating.  Something like this…


It actually was fun (for me).

The following week Jack returned with evenly cut table legs. Yay! Unfortunately, he couldn’t put that metal bolt in the middle of the legs so each side could nicely fit together (as I had originally hoped). I had something like this in mind…

DIY-Backyard-Kitchen-41But, not possible.

What was realistic was screwing a metal brace on each side of each leg…

Off to Lowes to pick up the hardware.  So, four braces on each table leg (one on each side)…

IMG_0988 copyYeah, it really looked like this.


Ok, now I had a table at the perfect height. 🙂 A Reeeaally ugly one. 😦

The metal braces had to be covered up somehow.  There’s no way I (or, anyone else) could live with the table looking like this.

Thinking, thinking…. material, fabric, a heavy kind of fabric to go with the look of the heavy/dense wood…. maybe a suede, a darker suede.  That might work!  I had some old suede tops I hadn’t worn in a long time.  Off to my closet to assess the possibilities…


Found a perfect one.  It was too big on me and I hadn’t worn it in ages, definitely over that one year mark…


I cut out even pieces of the suede, a size that would cover the metal braces and wrap around each table leg.  Then, glued the pieces at each end around each leg and slid it up to cover the braces…


Got them all in place, nicely snug around each brace…


Hmmm, not bad, considering where I started.

So, there we have it.   The table is definitely more comfortable to sit at, eat at, and simply hang at.  And, now there’s also a “story” that gets a lot of mileage and a lot of laughs (thank you, humor!).

Interestingly, people who see the table for the first time and don’t know the story often comment on how much the like it, ‘how unique it is with wrapped suede worked into the style’.

Yeeeaahh……. it was all part of my plan.  🙂




Funny, I began to sleep better.  Sleep is nice.

PS: you may have noticed the original chairs purchased with the table have since been replaced with  benches. A little story for another blog.


  • External Quote;  I didn’t get one and should have.
  • Our cost;  Financial cost, about $150.  Emotional cost, priceless (not in a good way).
  • Stress level; VERY high.
  • Fun level; VERY low.
  • Do it again assessment;  VERY not!


    • I think we can give Mom at least partial credit for this type of behavior of mine. She was always telling me to think like the Little Red Cabboose, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I know I can, I know I can”. Remember?? XO


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