Friday, December 31, 2010

Maple Dining Table


A co-worker and his wife (both architects) asked me to build an eight foot long maple dining table they had designed.  It was to have a double pedestal, each being a pair of bookmatched, wane-edge planks joined together on an angle. 

They wanted maple with "character"; spalting and interesting grain.

 I had some material from one of our own maples and agreed to tackle the project.

First, I built a torsion box to support the top and added the angled skirt as per their design.  The top was attached next and the pedestal legs last; the result is as you see in the photos.

Because I rarely work with kiln dried wood, I have to pay particular attention to shrinkage after construction as the piece adjusts to the climate of its new home.  In this case, it had been a wet fall and I was concerned that the maple had taken up some moisture while being built.

My clients placed the table in their dining room near the patio doors which faced west.  The afternoon sun shone in through the glass directly onto the table top.  A week after delivery, the outer edges of the table began to lift as the top dried in the sun and shrunk.

We held our collective breaths for about another week as the rest of the table climatized and the top returned to its original flat position.

Several years later, my clients still love their table and I have decided to use only (more stable) quartersawn boards for table tops henceforth.  I'm getting too old for that kind of excitment!

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