Thursday, May 28, 2015

630 English Pub Table

A Classic, simple, beautiful English pub table and matching bench built and given a distressed antique finish by us.  Design adapted from a 17th century antique.

 A classic table, (28 x 72 x 30h) and bench (12 x 56 x 18h) designed for a family with a new built in banquette in the shape of an L.  The original request was for a traditional farmhouse table, but I suggested a trestle style so that the legs would not be in the way of sliding along the banquette seat. 

 Off we went to 1stDibs for some inspiration for a trestle table which would please our client, who, up until this point had never seen a trestle style that she liked.  This "Quintessential Early English Oak Trestle Table", is for sale (and now on hold) for $35,000 at The Fortress.  It left us all awestruck with its simple beauty.  It's from the 17th century and is huge!  It was decided to alter the design as little as possible while scaling down the size to be appropriate for the clients.

Shown in construction.  During the design phase, much thought was given to the size and placement of all the elements, and a generous 13 inch end overhang was planned so that knees would not bump in to the sticky-outy bits.  Please see my tab "helpful information" for more logistical stuff about banquette seating and tables.
More construction pictures:  as you can see, the entire piece was built of pristine, kiln dried white oak, so all of the "special effects" you are going to see (in the pictures which follow) represent brutalities endured in the finishing process (my department)
 The color chosen for this piece was a bit lighter and more peachy-red than the inspiration piece, which appears in a dark neutral walnut.  Here is a close view of the stretcher holding the two ends together.  The wormholes and cracks are fake.
 Two functional pegs at each trestle end hold the entire piece together.  A very simple and precisely cut mortise and tenon joint ends in this elegant semicircle, and the entire piece is designed and built so that it ships flat and is easily assembled at the clients' home in Brooklyn, NY.
 In closeup shots of the table on 1stDibs, an unusual, single round peg showed at the end of the tenon.  It was placed just here, as in our version:  Buck figures that the peg was used to prevent this tenon end (which endures a lot of stress) from splitting.
 Bench ends are done in a similar manner -- knock down mortise and tenon construction and the cute semicircular end; and one peg instead of two.
 Showing top detail.
 Very close zoomed in view of top:  heavy "erosion" in the wood is evident as is a scraped away part evoking heavy wear at the ends.
 This breadboard end is held in place by small round functional pegs as you can see here.  These allow cross grain movement with the seasons so that the main boards of the top can shrink and expand seasonally, as all solid boards will, without cracking or warping.  I guess it is kind of hysterical that we do all these construction gymnastics to prevent the wood from cracking and then put in all of these fake cracks.
 A global view of the entire top, showing variation in color, finish thickness, "cracks", and so on, which we believe would be expected in an old piece.
 This shows the bench top which was finished to look a bit smoother and with fewer color variations than the tabletop.
General view of the bench.  You would not believe how comfortable this is to sit upon.  The legs can kick back into the middle of the bench and heels rest upon the stretcher.  This feels very nice for the back and posture.

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