An Unusual Wooden Table

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Early 1900s cash registers are beautiful and ornate. Sometimes they are fully restored and look beautiful in your home.

Sometimes they fall into disrepair over the years, but so much can be salvaged from them and given new life. Often the cash register would sit on top of a wooden base with the cash drawer inside. That was just how I found this orphan cash register base and I decided it would make an amazing table!


There was a hole in the top of this “table”; the mechanical arm went from the cash register down through the hole to operate opening and closing the drawer. So the first step was to cut out a shape to fit this hole.

A few important things to remember:
– try to buy matching wood. In this case, oak, found at the local hardware store.
– trace the shape by placing a piece of cardboard up underneath.
Рwhen drawing your shape on the wood, make sure the wood grain is facing the same way. (I had to cut out 2 pieces because I missed this, ugh!)

I am definitely not a carpenter and I am still learning! So this is written from the “rookie carpenter’s” perspective…

I used a jig saw to cut out the shape. A band saw would have been ideal, but I don’t own one (yet). Although I stayed as close to the lines as I could, don’t worry as you can use a sander when it comes time to fit it in. Also helpful is drilling holes at the curves to make the saw turn more easily.

Once you have your shape, see how close you are to it fitting (I was not very close.) It’s kind of tough to shave thin edges off with the jig saw, although we did do some of that, but then we used the belt sander.

Once you’ve got it wedged in there, use wood putty or plastic wood to fill in the cracks. Scrape all excess off and sand the area. You want as little on there as possible because the putty does not have a wood grain and looks like a brown blob when stained. If it’s not a lot, it doesn’t take away from the overall look of the woodgrain.

Next, I sanded the entire piece. For the sides, I needed to do some hand sanding. I used the belt sander to get most of it off, and the mouse sander for the fine tuning. (Belt sanders are the workhorses of sanders, but you could do this project with just a mouse sander)  Since this piece has a cutout shape in it, I chose a dark stain to hide that.


For the drawer, I first cleaned it with a wet rag, and q-tips for the edges and corners. I then used Wise Owl furniture salve with a rag and q-tips.


The final step is a clear lacquer, both for the inside of the drawer, and the rest of the piece. I use CrystaLac, because it is odorless and can be used indoors.

The final step is screwing in the steel hairpin legs. There are lots of sources for this, the best I’ve found is through your local blacksmith or on Etsy. (the craft store carries a few sizes of the cheap aluminum ones. I prefer steel.)

The results are amazing! This piece has gone on to its forever home, but see what similar vintage furniture is available now in my shop!

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