swa66 - 6:47 am on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)
Yep, get rid of the tables.
Use a simple repeating on pixel high image for the vertical bar as the background. Use a header with the same in the other direction to get the horizontal bar and become table free.
Tables are evil nowadays, they should only be used if they contain tabular content. Essentially: if made a word document and you would not make it a table there: do not make it a table in html either.
And never ever trust IE. Develop it in any other browser, without care for how IE mutilates it all. When done in the other browsers, only then fix it for IE (easiest is to use conditional comments and just make it look good for each particular version of IE separately (they each have their own set of bugs)