Home Tomagrams Tall Clover Chronicles: Confessions of an Unbalanced Force

Tall Clover Chronicles: Confessions of an Unbalanced Force


The Case of the Unstable Tablepedestal table shards glass“You can only lean on that which resists.” -Indian Proverb

And so, the laws of physics win again.

In my last installment of the Tall Clover Chronicles: Boz Takes the Cake, my four-legged friend and beau to Gracie, taught me a lesson in physics and dessert placement.

One would think my table toppling days would be over after that incident, but nooooo…Sir Issac Newton had one more lesson to share: If an object is at rest, it will remain at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it. (Say hello to the unbalanced force.)

pedestal table broken glassAt a summer estate sale, I found a wonderfully sweet table for a sweet price. Granted it needed refinishing, the top was unattached and there was a definite wobble factor inherent in its ambitious design, but it spoke to me nonetheless–from elegant scroll feet, to solid walnut top, to stunning pedestal (a trapezoidal tour de force if you ask me). Yep, I was smitten and ready to give this American Empire mutt a new home and a little rehabilitation.

pedestal table drop leafDays went by, and I basked in the beauty of my 100-year old find with its quirky tilt and potential for polish.  I set up the table temporarily, if not haphazardly, in my kitchen nook to try it on for size. Being a man who never met a surface he didn’t want to cover, I naturally burdened the poor thing with several weeks of treasure hunting, magazine and booking piling, and good old general kitchen clutter. Much like the straw that broke the camel’s back, a bag of groceries brought the old drop-leaf (and everything atop it) down in a cascade of crashes, with serious causalities coming from a clutch of glass and crystal vases. (No dogs or homeowners were injured.)

pedestal table american empireBetween self-inflicted tongue-lashings and cleaning up the mess, I decided there was no time like the present to level and bolt the tabletop to the base.  Barely 15 minutes later, the table was stable (me, not so much), and I shook my head thinking how many lessons must a fellow learned?

While I fear the answer is as many as it takes, I don’t wish to muddy my head with too much thinking here; one maxim per mishap is best for this simple thinker.

So what shall it be… Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today?

Nah, perhaps something a little less overbearing like…Don’t cry over spilled milk (or broken vases).

pedestal table repaired Elbow ready. (Note the two glass survivors on the windowsill.)


  1. completely off topic – I am also an honored owner of two sinks identical to your lovely ‘mudroom’ sink-i found a secret- look under neath, my California home’s kitchen sink had this odd spot where something had been ground off . I recently purchased my dream home in Kansas- surprisingly close to its original 1928 condition….., same sink!! only where mine had an oddly ground spot the ‘new’ sink has its gloriously original hanger, off which is an accordian that holds a porcelain slop bucket!! Simply Amazing! Why was this ever removed from modern sinks??? If your sink still has its hanger underneath I think you may have a new mission for summer yard sale-ing!

    • Hi Gina, dream home in Kansas, eh? Congratulations! I have a friend in Kansas City and I was amazed by the wonderful homes in that city. So many really beautiful residences that were reasonably priced (based on West Coast prices). As for the sink, I checked but no slop bucket hook or accordion bracket. I’ll do a little more research to see what I’m looking for. Take care and thanks for the visit. Tom

  2. Sorry about your glass losses! I noticed that once the table was stable, you put the survivors on the sill of an open window where an inquisitive neighborhood cat, squirrel or sudden breeze could send them to the floor for a repeat performance. Do you secretly hate glass/crystal objects? : )

    • Peter, perhaps you’ve uncovered the real story. Yikes, I will behave better toward my more breakable objects–now on shelves away from windows or curious critters.

  3. Oh dear …. sounds to me like a good reason to search for a matching antique dresser to display your soon to be replaced glass treasures 😉

    Gorgeous table you purchased , may you get many hours of pleasure now that she is stable.

  4. Just have to tell you how much I enjoy your blog posts. I, too, lived in Juneau a long time, worked for the State of Alaska (even a brief stint as a PFD temp after retiring from my “real” job). Moved to NW Washington so I could garden more – have a 1/3 acre estate with fruit trees, veggies, and flowers and room for my 3 dogs to romp. Much to relate to in your blogs and love the recipes and gardening tips. Anxiously await each new post.

    • Welcome Betty and thanks for the kind words. Sounds like you’ve found your own slice of heaven after retirement. Juneau is a special, as is Washington State; but now we can boast to live in a special place with less rain than Juneau. 😉 Which of course is funny to say when you live in the Seattle area. Betty, in Juneau I lived over in Douglas for a while, then up on Star Hill, then by the cemetery. My last trip up there blew me away. A lot has changed over the years, cruise ships and Costco sure had a major impact. Take care, Tom

  5. What we all dread hearing… I’ve been in a deep sleep, only to wake at the sound of crashing downstairs. In my case, it’s usually something falling off the wall :/ Have to say tho’… your table is a beautiful estate sale purchase.

  6. Tom, that is one gorgeous table. Too bad about the broken pieces….but what fun it will be to replace them!
    I am the same way….I will buy a piece that needs restoring….it sits for months and months…. then finally it will get done. And I always ask “why did I wait sooo long”? Still don’t know!

  7. It is a gorgeous table Tom. I can only imagine the fine meals that have been enjoyed on it’s surface and of course the fine ones to come! As for the glass ware, I’m with Ina. How fun searching out replacements.

  8. Oh my goodness that’s such a pretty table… [and at least there were two survivors! :D]
    I’m also happy to hear that this was was NOT Boz-induced!

  9. Hi Tom,

    Love your blog — found you when I was trying to ripen peaches last summer. Your tip worked perfectly. Thank you!

    I had to share how my own collection of vases, etc. where smashed to smithereens. Had recently moved & had made “temporary” shelving out of some wooden crates (I know, I know!) Six months later, that very sound that we all dread fell upon my ears. I was suddenly motivated to fix said ‘shelving’ ugh.

    As for Kansas City —- my hometown —-there is much amazing & beautiful architecture in the area. I just took the hubby back there for a tour & he was blown away. I’m always amazed that people still think it’s practically a third world country.

  10. Nice score, the table. If you’re like me you freaked out at the thought of precious dog pads and glass shards and probably damp mopped and vacuumed several times, Hope you’re staying nice and cozy /snuggly with Boz and Gracie . Looking forward to beautiful winter images from TC Farm.


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