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Dining Table - Derek Cohen - 07-08-2024

[b]Part 1 - design and construction[/b]

The brief is to build an 8-seater dining table to replace our existing 6-seater. We will retain the 6 vintage bentwood chairs, and I recently completed 2 (DC 09) chairs for use as carvers. Our taste in furniture runs towards the minimalistic, the clean lines of mid century designs from the 1930s, gentle curves. What is needed in a design is a way to link and blend the chairs with the table. In part this will be aided by the wood used for the table top: both the carvers and the top are Rock Maple. Another element will be the presence of the curves in the chairs, which will extend to the table. 

[Image: Prep15.jpg]

The old table was 200 years old and came with us from from South Africa when we moved to Sydney 40 years ago. The top was Yellow Wood (which resembles an aged Maple), and the legs were Stinkwood (a dark wood). The latter will be represented by Jarrah.

Another need for the new table is that is must be knock-down. We plan to move home in about 18 months, downsizing when I retire. The new home is similar in size, but with less garden to manage. Being knock-down cannot impose on the design, and cannot impact on the rigidity of the construction. Today I will show you what I came up with.

The old table was 1350mm (53") long, 850mm (33 1/5") wide and 775mm (30 1/2") high.

[Image: 8.jpg]

The new table will be 1780mm (70") long, 1020mm wide (40"), and 760mm (30") high.

[Image: Table-plan.jpg]

I found a photo of a table with similar proportions. This table has rectangular legs, but its silhouette creates the illusion that the legs are round, which will be the case in this build. 

[Image: Dining-Table4-1.jpg]

When I began test-building the leg-rail build, the legs were to have a 75mm (3") diameter with a rail of similar width. The legs ended up too chunky, and were subsequently reduced to 60mm (2 3/8") diameter. I am considering reducing the rails to 60mm as well (they are 75mm in the photos), but am concerned about a drop in rigidity. Having stated this, the rails are 30mm wide, Jarrah, and this is quite substantial. 

So to the construction ...

[Image: Table1a.jpg]

The rails (or stretcher) are connected to the legs with loose tenons. The tenons are glued to the end of the rails, but left unglued when connected to the legs.

To facilitate the knock-down, a steel mechanical connector is being used ... 

[Image: Table2a.jpg]

This requires the leg being tapped for a bolt, with the connector also screwed to the rails.

What follows is testing this out (some of the photos here have 75mm wide legs).

The 10mm x 55mm mortises in the legs were made with a router, and those in the rails made with a Domino. 

[Image: T3.jpg]

[Image: T7.jpg]

The loose tenons were shaped on the router table using the new Woodpecker router bits  ...

[Image: T4.jpg]

[Image: T5.jpg]

The legs were also mortised for the rails, themselves, to mate the two flush. Here I have gone down to a depth of 5mm. 

[Image: T11a.jpg]

[Image: T13a.jpg]

This looks fine here ...

[Image: T14aa.jpg]

... but in future I shall mortise to a depth of 7mm. Once the leg is turned, there is minimal beauty depth ...

[Image: T15a.jpg]

[Image: T16a.jpg]

With the connector (ignore the chewed look - this was the result of trial-and-error) ...

[Image: T18a.jpg]

And here is the completed piece to judge the aesthetics of the sizing ...

[Image: T19a.jpg]

Thoughts?

Regards from Perth

Derek


RE: Dining Table - bandit571 - 07-08-2024

Looks great so far!   I'll keep an eye on this...


RE: Dining Table - Tapper - 07-08-2024

Looks nice. I like the proportions.

Doug


RE: Dining Table - grwold - 07-08-2024

Looks good, for sure. You'll need to re-do your connector slots in the rails when you increase the rail mortises to 7 mm, eh? There'll be plenty of thigh space under the rails, too, whether they're 75 mm or 60.

The legs are to be straight cylinders? Have you considered carrying the curves into them with a gently flared then tapered profile?


RE: Dining Table - Derek Cohen - 07-08-2024

(07-08-2024, 05:47 PM)grwold Wrote: Looks good, for sure.  You'll need to re-do your connector slots in the rails when you increase the rail mortises to 7 mm, eh?  There'll be plenty of thigh space under the rails, too, whether they're 75 mm or 60.

The legs are to be straight cylinders?  Have you considered carrying the curves into them with a gently flared then tapered profile?

The legs will not have a taper, splay or curve. Just remain a straight cylinder. This is the "quietest" design among chairs which are curvy, and near other furniture with curves. Such as this sofa table ...

[Image: 28a.jpg]

Regards from Perth

Derek


RE: Dining Table - barryvabeach - 07-09-2024

Derek,  loved the drawing - is it to full scale -  one part had me confused was the sloped lines through each of the stretchers labelled with a 30?


RE: Dining Table - Derek Cohen - 07-10-2024

(07-09-2024, 07:19 PM)barryvabeach Wrote: Derek,  loved the drawing - is it to full scale -  one part had me confused was the sloped lines through each of the stretchers labelled with a 30?

Barry, the plan for the top is not to scale. The "30" is the width of the apron in mm. About 1 1/4".

Regards from Perth

Derek


RE: Dining Table - Derek Cohen - 07-10-2024

Comments here, and elsewhere, have helped identify some of the risk issues, such as whether the leg joinery will hold up over time.

As much as I am designing for myself and not others, and have spent time thinking about the aesthetic I want, eventually I come to a few conclusions ... aided by my wife threatening me with divorce, burning my record collection, and selling my tools while I am hospitalised for my neurosis.

Decision #1: why the heck am I building a knock-down table when it will go though a doorway on edge? Full on mortise-and-tenon joinery, and no connectors, is also sooo much easier to build! And no worries about joinery strength. I think that I will stick with loose tenon joinery here as it allows one to orientate the grain in the tenons (avoiding run out). I am comfortable building integrated tenons, which would be stronger if the grain is straight.

Decision #2: She hates the straight legs. The first clue I should have picked up was the reduction in diameter. Okay, I am a slow learner. She wants a taper. So be it ... but I not her way (she is not a designer). The legs will be round, and receive a taper (probably from 65mm down to 35 or 40mm), and be splayed (probably at about 2-3 degrees). I need to draw this up and see what it looks like.

Decision #3: The table top remains the same. The legs will need to be brought in-board a little (to account for the splay), which will alter the size of the apron/subframe. I wish I had CAD to work this out. For me it is drawing to scale on an MDF panel. The top is attached to the aprons with buttons, allowing for side movement but keeping the top flat.

We are away for the weekend, so there is time to consider and re-consider. This build is not a sprint. Tables are really straight forward, except when they aren't.

Thoughts?

Regards from Perth

Derek


RE: Dining Table - barryvabeach - 07-10-2024

Derek, thanks for the info on the plans.  No thoughts on decision 2 or 3, but as to 1,  if you can make it as strong with detachable legs, i would do that.  If you can't, then go with joinery that is not knock down.  While your current plans say that it will be easy to tilt on its side to fit through doorways, you never know about the next house, and making knock down will help if you have to move it or store it.


RE: Dining Table - Tapper - 07-11-2024

I think this is the evolution of the "process." I'm certain I haven't built nearly as much furniture as most here, but have built lots of "things" throughout my life, including houses. Design always goes through a process and changes as new ideas arise. The more you think about a project the more apt you are to discover a better way to do things, a change of design that more matches the intent of the theme you've chosen, or better structural ways to connect the parts. In the end you wind up with what you and your wife envisioned (emphasis on "wife") 
Yes
Yes

I like that you seem to be leaning towards loose tenon joinery for the main connections. Somehow I can't envision your work with metal fasteners. Looking forward to the build-along!

Doug