Monday, November 17, 2014

An Inspired Table

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this table of Oak;
And all the half-finished projects that low'r'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

William Shakespeare (adapted) in Richard III


My long list of loose ends has been (mostly) wrapped up, and I'm ready to start a fresh project: a new dining room table.

I've been thinking about this table for weeks, months, years. Decades. Not even kidding. Since my dining room is fairly small, and my family rather large, I've spend untold hours pondering the best size, shape, materials and construction style for our DIY dining dilemma.

To meet my goal of seating ten adults comfortably, this table will be eight feet long. 

Honestly, that's an aggressively large hunk of wood for my tiny dining room. But by keeping the table tucked up near the windows, our usual head count of six can easily sit along the sides of the table and still move comfortably about the room. When we need to make space for more, we will simply slide the table out to the middle of the room and pull up some extra chairs. True, the fully loaded table will clog traffic in the dining room, but hey, what's a large gathering without a little friendly chaos?

To balance the extra length, the table will stay skinny. A sleek 34 inches will make for a moderately cramped spread, but the proportions make sense for the shape of the room.

After considering pine, poplar and maple woods for the table top, we decided to go with oak. You know, this family has its roots in the wild oak forests of the American Midwest, and choosing a material that gives a nod to our ancestors just seems like the way to go.

As for the legs, I have been sold on metal hairpins all the way. I grew up taking my meals at a mid-century gem of a table, and I love the idea of going full circle by building a hairpin baby of my own.

Okay, finally, I was done pondering. On Saturday morning, we headed over to Home Depot, bought the lumber, then came home and created a mock-up of my exact specifications. While you may see in these photos nothing more than a few planks of raw wood balanced on saw horses, I see my dreams coming true.

So now I'm ready and raring to go. Construction is scheduled to begin in a few days, and with any luck, the table of my dreams should done just in time for Thanksgiving. Let's get busy!

Fear not, my lord, we will not stand to prate;
Talkers are no good doers: be assured
We come to use our hands and not our tongues

- William Shakespeare in Richard III

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